Logistics, health and aid – Pirates! - A Humourless Lot


by Michael Keizer on April 16, 2009

Things are getting slighty ridiculous.

I have posted twice now on piracy. That is honestly about as much attention as I would like to give them on this blog. Yes, they are a serious threat to aid logistics, and yes, they specialise in spectacular actions that are fine to generate breathless comment — but they are definitely not the most important issue in aid work, or even aid logistics.

Yet the last couple of weeks they have suddenly entered  the consciousness of the public; suddenly everybody and their various aunts and uncles are scrambling to get on board and get their part of the booty. [Okay, enough pirate-related imagery, already. I will stop now.]

Just have a look at this graph from Google Trends:

Have a close look at the bottom part of the graph, which traces how often news articles refer to pirates, and note the sharp increase over the last month or so (the spikes in the top graph are related to losses of the baseball team). It now has come to the point where TV shows will follow pirates and the actions against them.

So what caused this spike? Only one thing: for the first time, pirates hijacked a ship under the US flag. Now what does that say about the media — and about us?

{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

Paul C April 17, 2009 at 1:33 am

Nothing that we didn’t already know, mate…


Michael Keizer April 18, 2009 at 12:29 pm

I know that you know, Paul, and you know that I know that you know. But there are other readers of this blog too.

Anyway, now that I have you as a more-or-less captive audience, I would appreciate your expert[1] feedback on that last question: what does this say about the media, or about us?

[1] Other readers: Paul writes the excellent humanitarian.info blog about information management in humanitarian aid. Compulsory reading for anybody even remotely interested! He also writes about pirates.


Michael Keizer April 21, 2009 at 12:22 am

And to make things worse… The blog post that still attracts most visitors on my site, is the one about germs as the (then) latest pirate threat.


Michael Keizer April 21, 2009 at 3:16 pm

Just heaved a sigh of relief: the traffic to that post is mainly due to comment spammers (about 60-70 pieces of comment spam filtered out each day): apparently the combination of the keywords “pirates” and “germs” makes it irresistible for spammers.


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