Thursday, November 20, 2008

Terminology: Somali Pirates or Somali Terrorist?


Pirates seem like fun "characters."

Pirates are things you dress up for on Halloween.

Pirates have birds on their shoulders, pegged legs, missing teeth and are into sinking ships filled with gold and plunder.

Yet, with the recent increased news about the Somali pirates who are capturing and taking ships hostage for huge ransoms at increasing rates, the term pirate just doesn't seem fitting.

When I hear about the strength, technology, planning and scale of what these "pirates" are doing, I think the whimsical terminology of "pirate" isn't quite fitting.

Sure, by definition these are pirates....but I think a stronger term like terrorist is more appropriate.

When I hear about what these "pirates" are doing, and the way in which they are successfully getting their requested ransoms, it sounds like an intense spy thriller or like a dangerous scenario that Jack Bauer would be fighting on 24.

When you watch 24 the bad guys are clearly bad. But when you watch Pirate movies, even "villains" like Captain Hook have a strangely endearing nature to them. Their evil is cartoonish, not evil.

When ransoms are being paid with multi-million dollar price tags and lives are at stake...the term pirate just seems miss placed, regardless of the accuracy of it's literal meaning.

(But as I side note, I do expect to see a movie made about these modern African pirates, and I expect in the right hands...say Steven Spielberg...the film could be quite compelling and perhaps redefine imagery associated with pirates)


Anonymous said...

The movie I hope to see is our navy rooting out and destroying these pirates like the British did in the Caribbean in the 18th and 19th centuries. I've read enough Horatio Hornblower to know they kicked a little butt.

Anonymous said...

another good director for making a movie about these pirates: Ridley Scott

RC said...

@ patrick...the only thing is if Ridley Scott directed then Russel Crowe would be have to be either one of the Somali pirates or one of the naval men.

Actually, I do think Scott could do a good job on a project like this.

Kate said...

Terrorist is right.

I like pirates. Not so much, terrorists.

You hit the nail on the head there.

Will said...

Thanks for writing on this - I had hoped to get around to it, but got too busy.

Certainly does make you reconsider how fondly you've started to think about pirates, doesn't it? Hmm...

Belladonna said...

I LOVE this posting...really points out how words can shape our perceptions.

Whether someone is a pirate or a terrorist, a freedom fighter or a guerilla rebel, a bag lady or a free spirit all depends on your point of view and which side you are on.

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