A pirate story: The saga of Abduhl Wali-i-Musa begins
Posted by sanityinjection on April 21, 2009
The media has found its newest fascination in the person of Somali pirate Abduhl Wali-i-Musa, a teenager captured during the recent standoff over the hostage-taking of American ship captain Richard Phillips.
The young man fits neatly into the stereotypical liberal fantasy of the poor, innocent foreigner brutalized by American military might. (Except in real life, the poor innocent foreigner was holding an automatic rifle to the head of an American hostage.) As such, he will not have to look far for top-notch legal representation as the US prepares to try him under piracy laws not used in a century. The ACLU is already salivating at the prospect.
In fact, we know little about the accused. His name and age are in dispute, the latter point being important because if he can be shown to be a minor the US government will have a harder time bringing him to trial. Arabic is not my strongest language, but “Musa” is the Arabic form of “Moses”. So we have a modern-day wanderer in a lawless wilderness, but instead of finding God and a shepherd girl, our boy found a nest of pirates with an entry-level position available. One can sympathize to a point with someone who chooses a bad option as preferable to no options at all.
The story has already generated some unintentional humor, mostly from the clueless press corps. Like the idiot reporters shouting questions at Wali-i-Musa as he was entering a federal building in New York. Wali-i-Musa doesn’t understand or speak a word of English – were they expecting him to give the thumbs up and proclaim, “I’m going to Disney World!”
Or MSNBC’s sensitive reporting of the young man’s mother’s plea to President Obama to “release my son or at least allow me to see him and be with him during the trial.” Of course, the mother was making her plea from her home in Somalia, so what she is really asking is for the US Government to pay to fly her to New York and put her up in a fancy hotel for a year or two while her son’s trial drags itself out. Wait, wasn’t there funding for that in the stimulus bill somewhere?
There will be some interesting legal questions associated with the trial. So stay tuned.