Pirates have been part of popular culture for centuries. They make memorable characters in comics, books, movies, amusement parks and video games. Recently too, pirates have been in the news. The Somalian Pirates have been ruling the waters off the Horn of Africa for the last few years. Americans have taken an interest recently as one of their ships was hijacked. The Navy Seals came in to rescue the captain.
Johann Hari makes an interesting theory about these Somalian pirates. He says there’s some redemption happening for all the environmental and economic devastation that the western powers have caused in Somalia. I quote from the article:
The story of the 2009 war on piracy was best summarised by another pirate, who lived and died in the fourth century BC. He was captured and brought to Alexander the Great, who demanded to know “what he meant by keeping possession of the sea.” The pirate smiled, and responded: “What you mean by seizing the whole earth; but because I do it with a petty ship, I am called a robber, while you, who do it with a great fleet, are called emperor.” Once again, our great imperial fleets sail – but who is the robber?
The debate of course continues with governments and Navies of the world breaking their heads on it.
Across the world, Pirate Bay founders were sentenced to 1 year imprisonment and a fine as well. Of course, it hasn’t detered anyone. The Swedish Pirate Party added 3000+ new members within seven hours making them the fifth largest political party in Sweden. It seems the ruling has only made online piracy more active. And one can still use Google to find unauthorised copies of any music or video.
Coming back to the fun we have with pirates in popular culture, Morgan Meis does a piece on this fascination. He writes
Abdi Farah Juha, a resident of Puntland, puts it succinctly: “They wed the most beautiful girls; they are building big houses; they have new cars; new guns.”
And why shouldn’t they? These men are pirates, and pirates are cool.
The pirate is, quite literally, taking a chance. In doing so, pirates reenact the basic process that everyone goes through in becoming a person. You start out with very little sense of the world, and you gradually gain experience and put it all together. Pirates are simply less complacent than the rest of us.
I will leave with visuals of some of my favourite pirates (or representation of pirates)
And this one for the laughs