The history of piracy


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On the 20th of March 2015 Dr. Walter Rech, author of Enemies of Mankind, came to Silta-Klubi to tell us about the history of piracy.

We learned that unlike today, during the Greek period pirates were heroes. All changed during the Roman period. The development of a powerful navy made society decide who would be pirates and thereby discriminate against them. There were the regular enemies and then there were pirates. 

Who would be pirates? Those the state didn’t like. Our speaker then made a parallelism with how today when we discriminate against specific enemies, we call them terrorists. This gave us a lot of food for discussion. 

We had seen the movie Captain Philips so the discussion went to talking about piracy going on today in the Horn of Africa. We then discussed the difference between terrorists and pirates. The former are politically motivated while the later just want to make money. In the case of Somalia many pirates, as we saw in the movie, have no other choice then to be pirates because of the situation of their ”failed” state.

We left wanting to figure out how to help these states and fascinated by the history of piracy.