Now that he’s been arrested in Sudan and charged with espionage and “writing false news,” one of the best reporters in the country is finally on the national radar screen. He should have been there long ago for his elegant, poetic writing and dogged reporting.
Stories like this one about a 7-year-old bride.
Fade to blue
A tale of fish, pirates, greed and the end of a global frontier
World fish stocks vanish in hidden food war
Story by Paul Salopek
Tribune foreign correspondent
Strange blue stars are appearing in the west. False stars. They rise unnaturally, against the usual migration of the constellations, from the smooth dark skull of the Atlantic.
These are the deck lights of the foreign poachers. They are Chinese boats, mostly: big diesel-powered trawlers slipping inshore to plunder Angola’s rich waters. The fish they come to steal–teeming shoals of hake, sole and grouper–are frozen and shipped to warehouses in Asia, Europe and the United States. If you eat packaged seafood, some will end up on your plate.
By contrast, the open boat Daniana fades into the dusk. It is an Angolan catronga, a frail, 24-foot-long craft that rides the waves like a lurching coffin, and it leaks. A waterlogged Portuguese Bible is its only emergency gear. Rusty wires angle up from the rails to a tubular steel mast. Draping them, the skins of flayed moray eels flap in the salty breeze like grisly scalps.
“Whore pirates,” mutters Antonio Rodriguez, the skipper, peering through the gathering darkness at his enemy. “Taking the food right out of our mouths.”