Daily Archives: August 22, 2009

Transnational Group Hug: The Language of Arms

I bumped into this news item from PressTV.  Their report seemed straightforward enough: Panamanian flagged ship (with a Georgian crew and a South African captain) carrying Israeli arms was seized by Philippine authorities.  I thought I better check it out, smelling a nice whiff of internationalism.

Oh, was I awfully wrong!  The UN has a lot to learn in terms of bringing different nations and cultures together.  The Philippine Inquirer report says the weapons, though designed in Israel, were in fact made – no, pirate-made! – in Indonesia. It also mentioned that there might even be Jordanians among the crew.

Who were the arms for?  The authorities suspect any or even a mixture of the following:

a) traditional politicians (or “Trapo” – which also means cleaning rag, by the way) gearing up for next year’s elections

b) terrorists out to destabilize the government

c) the Philippines was one of many Asian and African drop-off points used by an international syndicate.

The most unbelievable detail is the apparent “language problem” with the crew – either they cannot speak any English or refuse to do so.  I am pretty sure the South African captain can.  I wonder if they conversed in a secret code.  One fart means trouble.  Two means coast is clear.

Hollywood writers aren’t making their political suspense thrillers convoluted enough.