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88 minutes · 2013
The hijacking of the U.S. shipping vessel Maersk Alabama by Somali pirates in April 2009 struck many people as anachronistic, yet this impressively researched documentary by University of Chicago alumnus Thymaya Payne argues that piracy is a sign of the times. Payne focuses on the November 2008 hijacking of a Danish ship, the CEC Future, and the seemingly endless haggling between the Somali pirates and the corporate owners over the ransom amount. As a narrative this lacks momentum, but as a study of a complex geopolitical problem it's pretty impressive; Payne takes the time to unpack all the commercial forces that encourage Somali piracy, showing how it fits into the larger pattern of exploitation linking the poor tribal state and the industrialized world.

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