Sunday, June 28, 2009

You know your government is corrupt when...

I flew into and out of Bucharest in 24 hours this week (No, I'm not a spy, Mom. I was there for the launch of a project I edited on health of Roma (Gypsies as they are still widely known) but the best stories I heard worthy of repetition were about Ukraine.

One of the reporters involved in the project is from Ukraine and over lunch he told us how he'd learned a lot about pirates in Somalia last fall when a Ukrainian ship loaded with $30 million worth of arms for Kenya was taken hostage. He hooked up with a photographer who'd managed to build relations with the pirates in their home base, for example, and found that the pirates give kick-ass parties. Everyone wants an invitation.

Ukraine journalists heard from the pirates during the hostage taking, Vlad reports. "They told us we had to do something about our government because they are really corrupt."

Apparently there was talk of a kick-back on the ransom the pirates were negotiating with the government. 

The pirates were spending a lot at the time feeding hungry Ukraine hostages and wanted to speed up the release talks.

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