Tuesday, April 21, 2009

21st Century Piracy

In my humble opinion, piracy has lost its glamor. In the days of old, pirates were (or at least portrayed as) swashbuckling, cutlass-wielding daredevils. Today, they're a raggedy bunch of Somali hoodlums who ride around in speedboats and take hostages. Obviously, it's a different time; wielding a cutlass won't do you any good on today's waters, what with advances in weaponry. At the same time, guns don't create too much positive media coverage. What's a pirate to do? I have some tips for the Somali pirates' PR division:

1. Get way cooler clothes. Think bright colors, sashes, and maybe plumed hats.
2. Evoke images of the olden days by purchasing a few sturdy parrots. If you teach them well enough, they may be able to conduct your hostage negotiations for you.
3. I know that there really is not much of a government in Somalia, but get someone in a position of authority to give you some papers making you a privateer, a pirate who is commissioned by a government to fight or harass enemy/foreign ships. This does two things--makes you feel less guilty about stealing cargo because you have someone important behind you, and just may give you some measure of legal protection.
4. Publicize yourself as 21st Century Robin Hoods, stealing from the rich and giving to the poor. Generally, all you have to do is steal cargo from ships and spend money in your area. And from what I've heard, you're doing that already.
5. Think of a motto/slogan/logo, like "Giving New Hope to Disenfranchised Somali Fishermen," "Give Us Your Cargo or Give Us 1 Million Dollars," or "Spreading the Wealth Through Economic Recycling on the High Seas."


  1. Rocobley1:15 PM

    Actually, giving hope to disenfranchised fishermen is exactly what they are doing. Read this article for more info:


  2. Lenski2:52 AM

    Think about American Imperialism--modern day piracy at its finest. I would love to see you do an exposé on this topic.

  3. Lenski, I actually have written a post about American Imperialism, http://seedsoflearning.blogspot.com/2009/01/on-american-imperialism.html or:

    On American Imperialism
    By Adora Svitak

    Recently, I’ve been thinking about colonizing several small Pacific islands. They should preferably come with cheap labor, hot sunny beaches, and flourishing fruit crops. If small Pacific islands are out of supply, I might think about grabbing some territory from Mexico. According to history, it shouldn’t be too hard—after all, the United States did it.

    The U.S.’s only problem with these formerly Mexican territories is illegal immigration. Personally, I wouldn’t want to cross over from Mexico. Firstly, there’s the desert, then there’s a giant fence (although that’s not the hardest part), and border patrol agents. But, of course, people do all kinds of crazy things for a better life. What strikes me as odd is that New Mexico, California, Arizona, and Texas all used to be parts of Mexico. So what’s our big problem with “illegal” immigrants just occupying land that we took from them anyway?

    The United States is all about freedom, liberty, etc. This seems reasonable. However, it seems like we’ve done a pretty bad job of showing our sentiments to the rest of the free world.

    For example, we basically stole Texas from Mexico in the Mexican-American War. The United States revolted against Britain because we thought they had unfair control of our land. It seems a little hypocritical to me that we then went and stole someone else’s territory.

    But it gets worse (or better, depending on how you look at it). After the Spanish-American War, we managed to colonize the Philippines, Cuba, Puerto Rico, and Guam. I have to ask: isn’t this starting to look a little too British?

    I guess that we just really liked taking over small defenseless islands or something, because in 1893 resident American businessmen overthrew the monarchy of the Kingdom of Hawaii and annexed Hawaii to the U.S.
    Oh, not only do we like acting the colonizer, we like meddling in other countries’ affairs too. Iran was a country rich and wealthy—with oil, that is. Who could resist? So the American oil companies moved in and started drilling oil. Then the Prime Minister, who had the good sense to think that Iranian oil should go to the Iranian people, nationalized the oil reserves. What do we do when a legitimate government officer does something we don’t agree with? Depose him or her, of course. The prime minister was arrested; we gave the ruthless Shah more power, and his secret police went around killing anyone who disagreed with him. Sounds like the American idea of freedom and liberty, right?

    Another example of American meddling comes from the Vietnam War. We were so worried about Communism spreading and the “domino effect” that we invaded Vietnam needlessly. Probably the only good thing that came out of that war was the end of the military draft.

    Maybe instead of stealing land from other people, we should try to improve what we already have. The United States could use some improving.