Rhetorical Analysis

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  • Topic: Somalia, Piracy, Piracy in Somalia
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October 16, 2012
Rhetorical Analysis: “You are being lied to about pirates” In Johann Hari’s article “You are being lied to about pirates” (published Monday January 5, 2009 by the Independent) he uncovers for his audience/readers the truth behind piracy and how it is reflected in the ways that the government “tries” to inform the public. The article shows that his audience is the people he recognizes to be the real villains in destroying the pirate “organization” as well as the uneducated readers on the topic that are looking to grasp a new understanding of pirates and where it all started. Johann Hari is trying to prove to us that there is definitely more than one side to these Somali pirates, but people just have to be willing to listen to see the truth behind their story. Johann Hari captured the truth behind piracy in so many ways in his article. In the first paragraph of his essay he states that the British Navy were taking on “villains” but when reading this you have to sit back and think who really are the villains in this whole situation. Many may believe that the pirates are the villains simply because during the 1650’s through 1730s pirates were portrayed as savages. So it’s easy to agree that the pirates are the evil and corrupt ones, while the British navies are the heroes; but in reality the roles are reversed.

In the fourth paragraph in the article, Hari explains that Somalian pirates were the first people in the world to rebel against unjust treatment. Being that Somalia is located on the tip of the Indian Ocean and the Gulf of Aden, this country takes up two bodies of water which gives them plentiful reliable resources of seafood. It’s said in the article that one of the reasons the pirates do what they do, is because of the disappearing of the fish as a result of the Europeans overfishing as well as the deadly outbreak of sickness caused by toxic waste dumping. This nuclear waste dumping began to cause the population to become very sick and they began dying off. This point about the toxic waste shows that when they had enough of the sufferings, and they began to stand together just as our democracy stands as one. The only difference between us and them is the fact that they are doing what they have to do to help the rest of their population survive and are acting in the best interest of their fellow Somalian’s. Hari continues on to explain in the rest of this paragraph that just because they are rebels, does not mean that they can’t behave and live right amongst other cultures and populations. But we must also take a minute to question if high jacking, ransom, kidnapping and murder the right way of living. One thing that really stood out in this article and proved that the pirates are no different than anyone else who are barely hanging on to survive, is in the last paragraph of the article when Hari inputs the conversation between Alexander the Great and a captured pirate. Alexander the Great questioned the pirate why did he have the audacity to rob others, and the pirate smiles and asks him how could he (Alexander the Great) do it? He explained that the only difference between them is the fact that Alexander the Great, this so called emperor, does it in greater numbers but he only does it to small ships. The pirate challenged this great emperor on what is the difference between them. This to me proves that pirates are no different than you or me. Except they actually do something about the problems that are occurring in their lives and they won’t stop until their point is proven. One may say that Johann Hari’s article “You are being lied to about pirates” is a wake-up call about the truths of piracy and how our government can and withhold information from its citizens. An example of this would be withholding the information on just how the piracy came about, as well as the reasoning behind it. They may also lean towards his article as exploitation on how the government can and will use “strategic...
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