potatoes and pirates

Just thinking about how one’s perspective on the world changes when one’s farmland has been contaminated by geopolitics, economic adversity, governance failures, toxic waste and millions of unexploded ordinances or when one’s fishing waters have been contaminated by geopolitics, economic adversity, governance failures, toxic dumping and illegal foreign trawlers.

The small harmless things begin to take on terrifying potential. The seemingly dangerous paths, become the most pragmatic. Our ability, as a species, to adapt to the circumstances around us and develop new narratives to permit or even justify our adaptation is amazing. And then we also learn lessons from these crises, from these changes in our perspective. And then we try to develop longer-term more sustainable and transformative strategies to reduce the future risks of corrosive geopolitics, economic distress, weak governance systems, environmental pollution, violent conflict, and sadistic abuse of natural resources. Because, now, we want to imagine a future world in which no one has such a desperate disregard for their own life and no one confuses a grenade for a potato.


Citations, References, and Reverberations:

1.  “A grenade is not very different from a potato” – BBC Global News Podcast July 25, 2018, story about the Zone Rouge a territory in France which has been deserted since WWI.

2. “There was hardly a more lucrative career than piracy for a young man possessing nothing but a gun and a desperate disregard for his own life” – Jay Bahadur, The Pirates of Somalia (Vintage Books: 2011)

UN Sustainable Development Goals:

Environmental Peacebuilding Library:

Environmental Guidebook for Military Operations:

2016 article about promoting gender in fisheries activities in Somalia: