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Johann Hari: You are being lied to about pirates

 
aaron_o.o
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04/14/2009 11:44 PM
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Johann Hari: You are being lied to about pirates








Who imagined that in 2009, the world's governments would be declaring a new War on Pirates? As you read this, the British Royal Navy backed by the ships of more than two dozen nations, from the US to China is sailing into Somalian waters to take on men we still picture as parrot-on-the-shoulder pantomime villains. They will soon be fighting Somalian ships and even chasing the pirates onto land, into one of the most broken countries on earth. But behind the arrr-me-hearties oddness of this tale, there is an untold scandal. The people our governments are labelling as "one of the great menaces of our times" have an extraordinary story to tell and some justice on their side.



Pirates have never been quite who we think they are. In the "golden age of piracy" from 1650 to 1730 the idea of the pirate as the senseless, savage Bluebeard that lingers today was created by the British government in a great propaganda heave. Many ordinary people believed it was false: pirates were often saved from the gallows by supportive crowds. Why? What did they see that we can't? In his book Villains Of All Nations, the historian Marcus Rediker pores through the evidence.


If you became a merchant or navy sailor then plucked from the docks of London's East End, young and hungry you ended up in a floating wooden Hell. You worked all hours on a cramped, half-starved ship, and if you slacked off, the all-powerful captain would whip you with the Cat O' Nine Tails. If you slacked often, you could be thrown overboard. And at the end of months or years of this, you were often cheated of your wages.


Pirates were the first people to rebel against this world. They mutinied and created a different way of working on the seas. Once they had a ship, the pirates elected their captains, and made all their decisions collectively, without torture. They shared their bounty out in what Rediker calls "one of the most egalitarian plans for the disposition of resources to be found anywhere in the eighteenth century".


They even took in escaped African slaves and lived with them as equals. The pirates showed "quite clearly and subversively that ships did not have to be run in the brutal and oppressive ways of the merchant service and the Royal Navy." This is why they were romantic heroes, despite being unproductive thieves.


The words of one pirate from that lost age, a young British man called William Scott, should echo into this new age of piracy. Just before he was hanged in Charleston, South Carolina, he said: "What I did was to keep me from perishing. I was forced to go a-pirateing to live.
"

In 1991, the government of Somalia collapsed. Its nine million people have been teetering on starvation ever since and the ugliest forces in the Western world have seen this as a great opportunity to steal the country's food supply and dump our nuclear waste in their seas.


Yes: nuclear waste. As soon as the government was gone, mysterious European ships started appearing off the coast of Somalia, dumping vast barrels into the ocean. The coastal population began to sicken. At first they suffered strange rashes, nausea and malformed babies. Then, after the 2005 tsunami, hundreds of the dumped and leaking barrels washed up on shore. People began to suffer from radiation sickness, and more than 300 died.


more at link
[link to www.independent.co.uk]



[link to blogs.myspace.com]


edited to 50%

Last Edited by SPUD on 08/28/2011 09:59 PM
"God" said, let us make man in our image.. IMPLYING genetic hybridization
"I awoke only to find, that the rest of the world was still asleep"
Anonymous Coward
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04/15/2009 12:44 AM
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Re: Johann Hari: You are being lied to about pirates
Sorry I can't buy into the "noble pirate" crap. my understanding is that the ship the Somali pirates siezed was a humanitarian relief boat.

That said I do have some questions concerning the shooting of the pirates, like how did they get on the tow rope - what was said to them, were promises made for their safety if the rope was attached, and if really offends me to see the media talking heads saying shooting these guys in the head was a great heroic thing even with jokes on Jay Leno and what great heroes the seal marksmen were. Placing your life in danger to rescue someone else is heroic - shooting someone in the head from safety doesn't qualify in my book.

I have a friend that attended a local police open house replete with a demonstration of their swat team who had been instructed to respond to a person that had stolen an auto with a "full ten" meaning shoot them in the head. They seem to be on a rampage and have shot other people in the city under circumstances that did not seem to warrant it.

One would think a multibillion dollar navy could defeat pirates with ease.
parroting
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04/15/2009 12:50 AM
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Re: Johann Hari: You are being lied to about pirates
From what I hear, they are scarvey dawgs......argh.
Anonymous Coward
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04/15/2009 12:51 AM
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Re: Johann Hari: You are being lied to about pirates
The Shills, Rightwing Nuts, and Isratards will be here shortly to point out your America bashing, truth be damned.
Anonymous Coward
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04/15/2009 12:52 AM
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Re: Johann Hari: You are being lied to about pirates
I imagine the rescued captain and his family are happy it's over. I imagine they are happy three pirates are no longer able to threaten his life.
If the Somalis have a beef with over fishing and nuclear pollution, can't they bring their case to the world court? Or do international organizations not really work for justice? I'd bet the people getting upset about the rescue and killings of pirates are bleeding hearts, and I thought bleeding hearts were all for international organizations and one worldism. I also thought bleeding hearts were Obamabots, and after all he is now the killer-in-chief.





GLP