Thursday, June 25, 2009

Pirates blamed for halting broadband in Africa. What next?

The pirates in Somalia can't seem to catch a break these days. First of all the world starts sending some serious naval hardware into the region to stop their piratical shenanigans. Then al-Shebab starts stoking the flames of civil war with attacks on Mogadishu (remember, al Shebab is an extremist Muslim faction that suppressed the pirates when it was in power a few years ago).

Now, the pirates are being blamed for slowing down the delivery of broadband internet to Africa. According to a report in the FT, the managers of Seacomm - a $600m project to connect Africa to the global broadband network - reported they had to suspend their efforts for fear of pirate attacks.

If you read the details, the delay was a wise bit of caution. Those ships are massive - they carry about 4,000 miles of fiberoptic cable - and slow, a prime target.

But come on. Aren't we going a little far here. What else can you blame on the pirates? Here are a few ideas:

  • Sorry I was late to work because I had to fortify my car in case of pirate attack
  • I don't have my homework because the Somali pirates took it
  • The US economic stimulus plan is delayed because Somali pirates claim to have several shovel-ready projects we need to vet
  • Oh, yeah, I'd love to go to the prom with you but Somali pirates are holding my parents hostage so I should probably stick around for the ransom negotiations
  • Oh, honey, I didn't forget our wedding anniversary; it's just that Somali pirates grabbed me on the way to the jewelry store and there wasn't time to pick anything up before my daring escape
  • I think the tooth fairy is being held by the Somali pirates. They probably want all her tooth money for ransom. I'm sure she'll make it tonight though.

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