The dictionary defines “pirate” as a person who commits “robbery on the high seas.” This sounds so grandiose, so cinematic, romantic, even, from a literary point of view. These are the wrong words to use, I think, for the useless criminals off the coast of Africa.
I think of puffy-sleeved shirts and athleticism, rakish hair and accents from Central Casting. I have never met a pirate. Pirates are from the olden days, and while they did terrible things, they have been glorified a little in their representation, swinging lithely from sails and speaking cleverly, even if threateningly, sometimes in rhyme. Now, kids dress up as pirates at Halloween. What do you want to be? I want to be a pirate. Let’s get out the eye patch.
So, I suggest we use some other words to describe the out-of-work, out-of-purpose, ungoverned, lawless thieves who think they can stop global commerce and humanitarian aid efforts because they are out of work, out of purpose, ungoverned and lawless. Let’s call them “kidnappers,” “thugs,” “felons.” Let’s call them “pathetic,” “weak” and “degenerate.”
These are not buccaneers…woohoo!…or picaroons. I will go to a movie if I want to hear about one of them. These are people who would rob a convenience store if there were one to rob in Somalia. Just a hunch, no child is coming to my door next October 31 wearing an orange T-shirt and a string of bullets around his neck.