Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Pirates of the Indian Ocean

Alternatively, it could be Pirates of the Aden. Anyhow, I would like to commend the brave captain of the Maersk Alabama, for giving up his freedom (and putting his life on the life) for his crew, and I would like to commend the U.S. Navy for rescuing the captain from the pirates.

By virtue of being an American, we are more likely to be on the side of the ship's crew and our own navy's ability to save the day in real life, which I am. Ironically, in much of our popular storytelling, the corporation and the government are usually the bad guys, and the outlaw pirates (with good intentions to save their people) are the good guys.

In the Pirates of the Caribbean franchise, while there are bad pirates, we are supposed to root for the good pirate Captain Jack Sparrow and crew, and we are supposed to dislike the alliance of the villainous empire government and greedy mercantile corporation.

In Star Wars, we root for the outlaw smugglers Han Solo and Chewbacca. The empire is evil because the evil Sith are behind its power. The criminal syndicate of Jabba the Hutt is usually the analogue to the greedy multi-planetary corporation, as well as the Trade Federation (?) in the convoluted prequels.

The real pirates of the Indian Ocean, whenever they pull off successful maritime heists, are heroes to the people of their hometowns. The shipping corportions (and foreign corporations in general) are probably seen as exploiters of their land, with the respective governments of these corporations as supportive of this perceived evil.

The reality, however, is that the captain and sailors of these ships are usually honest workers, and the government that protects their citizens are doing what a government is supposed to do.

By the same token, some of the pirates might have decent ends to their outlawish means (feeding their families in their wartorn land), and some of the warlords who support these actions might be more benevolent than their rivals. Alternatively, the pirates/warlords/outlaws/rebels might be at war with an oppressive government. The world community might begrudgingly accept corrupt regimes as legitimate government, and the underdogs are forced to improvise. Of course, the pirates could also just be in it for the ill-gotten profit and fight for no justifiable end.

How are we supposed to remedy this disconnect? Are we supposed to advocate moral relativism in most cases, with only a few (if any) examples of absolute right and wrong?

No comments:

Post a Comment

Please note: Comments are open only for seven days after publication of each blog entry.