Somali Pirates Arrrr... Our Future Heroes?

Piracy is back
By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff
Posted Dec 6, 2008 4:36 PM CST
In this photo provided by the U.S. Navy, pirates leave the Ukrainian merchant vessel MV Faina for Somalia's shore Wednesday, Oct. 8, 2008 while under observation by a U.S. Navy ship.   (AP Photo/U.S. Navy, Petty Officer 2nd Class Jason R. Zalasky)
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(Newser) – They may not wear eye patches or cry “Arrr!” but make no mistake, Somali pirates are successors of the 17-century villains we romanticize today, David Montgomery writes in the Washington Post. Pirates inspire “awe and a little bit of envy at authentic roguish derring-do," even though, for now, a Somali raider on an oil tanker remains "a thug and kidnapper," writes Montgomery. “He’s robbing us.

All pirates go through three stages, from ruthless criminal to idealized swashbuckler to merchandised caricature. Henry Morgan was once the most feared privateer in Central America; now he’s a cartoon hawking rum. Perhaps a Somali pirate needs only the right lighting to rise from criminal to scoundrel, Montgomery writes: Looking at him, "you could swear that one of those big front teeth is capped in gold.”