Tom Hanks, Captain Phillips and the “True Story” of Somali Piracy

Abduwali Abdukhad Muse sits anxiously in a federal prison in Indiana, while his Hollywood-constructed doppelganger prepares to leap onto a silver screen near you this weekend. Muse, a young man from Somalia, was sentenced in 2011 to nearly 34 years for his role in the hijacking of an American cargo ship, the Maersk Alabama. The case was historic as it marked the first time in more than 100 years that someone had been charged with piracy by the US judicial system.

During the 2009 hijacking, the captain of the vessel, Richard Phillips was taken captive by Muse and three other hijackers while his crew took refuge on the ship. In a dramatic assault by the US Navy, Muse’s colleagues were all fatally shot, Captain Phillips was freed and Muse himself was taken into custody.

Western media outlets looking for a hero framed Captain Phillips as an altruistic leader who had given himself up to save his crew from the marauding pirates. He was encouraged to publish a book about his experiences, A Captain’s Duty, which more recently has been transformed by Sony Pictures into a major motion picture starring Tom Hanks.

It mattered not that members of Phillips’ own crew contradicted the hero’s tale by sharing how the Captain’s ineptitude led to hijacking in the first place and far from selflessly giving himself up, he was actually captured by failing to secure the ship’s bridge. The complexity surrounding the social and economic drivers of piracy off the Horn of Africa was lost in the media-friendly version of the story as well as  any detail about the personal backgrounds of  Muse and the other hijackers. Hollywood however, can’t be bothered by such narrative inconveniences and so Sony Pictures sailed full steam into the production of their film, “Captain Phillips”, transposing Muse from the box of his prison cell to the box of the movie screen. Here’s the film’s trailer:

Enter Canada-based Mosotho filmmaker Kaizer Matsumunyane. Not content to allow the mainstream media to construct a lopsided perspective of piracy in Somalia, Matsumunyane set out to make a documentary film representing the Maersk Alabama hijacking and its aftermath from Muse’s perspective. Matusumunyane’s film, “The Smiling Pirate,” poses a direct challenge to the problematic representation of the Somali Pirates in the film Captain Phillips and aims to do something Hollywood has thus far been afraid to do: give a Muse and others in Somalia a genuine voice to tell their side of the story.

Africa is a Country spoke to Kaizer Matsumunyane about his film and why when Hollywood producers say, “based on a true story”, they really mean, “based on grossly perverse and unabashedly biased interpretation of true events.” For in Captain Phillips, more than anything else, it is the truth that has been hijacked.

As a filmmaker, why did you decide to make this film?

Matsumunyane: I think there must be something to the adage that we don’t choose stories, they choose us. I know it sounds cliché but I think there is truth to it. I remember I was watching news on TV and there was some excitement about how Somali pirates who had captured an American ship had been shot dead and the surviving pirate was being brought to the U.S to face charges of piracy. All of a sudden, they showed the surviving pirate arriving in the U.S flanked by federal agents. The pirate was a young boy handcuffed and chained, but he was smiling! I couldn’t understand who would be smiling in that position. That smile intrigued me. Commentators on the news were angry about the smile, but I wanted to find out about the person smiling in this situation and know why is was smiling. The more I discovered about the Somali teenager, the more I knew his story had to be told.

No one ever talks about why there are so many guns in Somalia and where they come from. No one ever talks about the illegal foreign ships on the Somali coast. For me, the story of Somalia is a story of how the powerful shape the reality for everyone. I also felt that since 9/11 people are labeled terrorists, Islamists, fundamentalists, pirates and many other things and we lose people behind those labels.

Your parents are from Lesotho, a country that is often simplistically represented by outsiders in terms of poverty and AIDS. Does that make you particularly keen to address issues of misrepresentation?

Being from Africa and being black, one is born misrepresented. Being from Lesotho adds another layer to the misrepresentation. Somehow Lesotho means HIV/AIDS. The thing is that the misrepresentations work well for others, especially governments and international donor agencies. I think that the moment one is conscious of misrepresentations in whatever form, they spend their whole life either fighting or fleeing them. I am reminded of the story from Ralph Ellison’s The Invisible Man. Being black, I think we have been so misrepresented that our true self is never seen, we are only the image bearers and anyone can throw anything on us and it sticks. I sometimes wonder what it is like to be white. I guess there is a different kind of burden and misrepresentation to being white. I think it is important to challenge narratives that try to make anyone “the other”. I always try to challenge that in my work. It’s true that until the lion tells its stories, the stories of the hunt will always glorify the hunter.

The socio-economic conditions that lead some Somalis to engage in piracy are not often incorporated into Western media narratives. How will your film reframe the issue of piracy off the horn of Africa?

There are reasons why the socio-economic conditions and other factors that have led to piracy in Somalia are not incorporated into the Western media narratives. For one, it serves to justify the unfettered actions of European powers on less powerful countries. No one asks why Somalia has so many guns when Somalis don’t make guns. No one talks about what the U.S and Russia have done to make Somalia what it is. No one asks how Somalia became three countries. No one asks what some of the ships hijacked by Somali pirates were doing on the Somali coast. There are many questions not being asked. No one can dispute that toxic waste containers washed ashore on the Somali coast and nothing was done about it. I tell you, if toxic containers washed up on the shores of the U.S, the world would stop. It’s the same with what Shell is doing in on the Niger Delta. The lives of the less powerful are just collateral damage, that’s all. Some animals are more important that others. What I want to do with the documentary, “The Smiling Pirate”, is to challenge the narrative that has been told about piracy and the people behind it. I think by giving piracy a human face, one breaks down the walls created to divide.

The first trailer (above) for the film “Captain Phillips” employs the narrative of good vs. evil to portray Muse and his three colleagues as skuzzy, sinister characters hijacking an honorable American captain and his crew. Tom Hanks in PR for the film has described his character meeting his hijackers as “the skinniest, scariest-looking human beings on the planet” and as “really scary-looking guys who almost resemble spiders with AK-47s.” What was your reaction when you first saw the trailer?

I was not surprised by the trailer of “Captain Phillips”. In a way, I was expecting they would do a good vs. evil kind of film and the pirates would be one-dimensional and savage while the captain would be the white knight. Americans love their heroes. They get them or they create them. That is the Hollywood formula. The list of bad guys keeps growing and they have more to choose from. First it was the Russians, then the Arabs and now Somalis. What disturbs me is that people don’t see through that. It’s very disturbing and makes me afraid of what else people are swallowing.

Is an actor like Tom Hanks, who plays Captain Phillips in the Sony Pictures film, simply doing his job as an actor in this role or is he complicit in perpetuating a-historical misrepresentations?

I am both disappointed and not disappointed in Tom Hank’s participation in the film. I am not disappointed because his work is to act and he is just doing what he is paid for. I can’t knock that. It’s his hustle. What I am disappointed in is someone who knows better and is conscious of the implications of the role and story he is doing, but closes their eyes. I believe Tom Hanks is intelligent enough to have done his research on the story and to have known that the crew of the ship that was hijacked despite the version of the story as told by the Captain. Captain Phillips himself came on CNN saying he did not give himself up for the crew, but claimed the media made it up. The crew even blamed the captain for the hijacking as he had been warned multiple times by a maritime organization to be more than 600 nautical miles off the Somali coast, but he did not heed the warnings as the ship was hijacked about 300 miles off the Somali coast. All these truths were swept under the carpet so that a hero story could be made. The truth always gets in the way so it becomes a casualty. The Sony Pictures film is based on very false premises and they know it.

The real Captain Richard Phillips published a book about his own heroism during the hijacking of the ship. Have you had a chance to read the book?

I have read the book by Captain Phillips and that is the book the [Hollywood] film will be based on. The crew of the ship contradict the version of the events as written in the book and place the blame for the hijacking on the Captain. Captain Phillips said in a CNN interview that he never said he gave himself up for his crew. Interesting thing is that the book is called A Captains Duty and the title says it all. For him to deny that he said he gave himself up and blame the media is very disingenuous. He also received at least seven emails warning him to stay clear from the Somali coast, but he did not.

Muse was sentenced to 33 years and 9 months in federal prison for hijacking, kidnapping and hostage taking, what were the peculiarities of his trial?

There were many peculiarities with Muse’s trial. First was the question of Muse’s age. When Muse was first arrested, Muse’s parents had said he was 16 years old. This created a problem because a 16 year old cannot be charged as an adult. Muse’s case kept being postponed while this aspect was being investigated.

While the situation of Muse’s age was still being looked at, Muse was kept in solitary confinement under what the U.S calls SAM’s (Special Administrative Measures) and this is mostly used for terrorism suspects. Muse said under SAM he had no access to radio, newspapers, television or anything, but was kept in solitary confinement all day for more than a year. He said he was starting to lose his mind. While in SAM, Muse tried twice to commit suicide. A doctor who was seeing him recommended that he be moved from SAM as he was starting to exhibit signs of PTSD. Muse says they kept in SAM to make him confess to being 18 years old and they said they would only release him if he confessed to that age. Suddenly an American agent said Muse confessed to being 18 years old and that led to Muse being charged as an adult. The word of the agent was never questioned. How the agent got the confession was never questioned. Muse denies ever saying he was 18 years old to anyone. Muse says that in court he wanted to talk about his age, but he was advised that if he challenged his age the government would make sure that his family never visit him or if they tried to visit him they would be made accomplices. Muse said that he stopped wanting to talk about his age because he feared for his mother after receiving this advice.

The State alleged that Muse was the mastermind of the hijacking and the leader of the group. Muse denies this and also says that pirates are foot soldiers, they just get orders. Anyone who knows anything about piracy will tell you that pirates are just hired hands and that the real people behind piracy are never on the boats, but on land giving orders. It is like saying that child soldiers are leaders and financiers of their units.

In Muse’s trial, the Judge repeatedly kept crying and talking about how Muse ruined the lives of the men who made up the crew and their families. I could not understand how a judge can be impartial whilst crying. After sentencing Muse to 33 years and 9 months, the judge said that she hopes that Muse’s sentencing sends a message to pirates that America will not tolerate piracy and will punish it to the full extent of the law. I think Muse’s case was just to send a message and nothing more. It was not about justice.

You’ve spoken to Muse directly since he began serving his sentence, what has he been able to share with you?

I speak to Muse as much as I am allowed to. All my requests to meet Muse have thus far been denied even when Muse has approved my visitation. I keep making the requests even though I know I will get the same answer. Muse says that Sony Pictures had requested to meet him countless times, but he declined their requests because he knew that they were making a film about him and were just going to make him a bad guy. At the present moment, Muse’s calls to me have been blocked. Even some of my emails to him or emails he sends me have not gone through. It seems like everything is being done to silence him. Muse has been talking about the glaring issues with his trial and says his trial was a sham. He says he did not understand English and what was happening [during the trial]. Muse says that he read the book by the Captain and many of the things in the book are made up. He even told me that the other three pirates with him were shot dead after he had made a deal with the American authorities to let them drop their guns in exchange for safe passage to Somalia. He said that just after dropping their guns and walking out of the boat there was gunfire and he watched his friends being shot dead. Muse is on suicide watch again and was recently on hunger strike. He is desperate and wants to have his case looked at again.

Did Muse ever tell you why he was smiling after his capture?

Muse says that he was kept hooded and shackled on the Navy boat after being captured. When he arrived in the U.S he says the hood was taken off. He suddenly saw people with cameras all taking photos and he was confused as to what was happening and he looked around to see what they were taking photos of until he realized that those people were taking photos of him. He says it was funny seeing all those people interested in him and he smiled.



Zachary Rosen

Zachary Rosen is photography editor at Africa is a Country.

  1. Have you seen the film? It makes clear that Muse and the other who actually board the ship had no real choice, they were the “foot soldiers” of a larger organization. And Capt. Phillips never seems like a hero, he’s another person in a tragic situation in which no one is going to get out unharmed.

  2. Tom Hanks might be the most beloved American actor, and as such, any time he is cast into anything, brings along with his great acting skills, a great deal of sympathy for the character he plays. Sometimes the bias is not found in the plot, or the script, or the acting, it is found in the casting.
    Obviously I am not saying that a director shouldn’t cast the actor he finds most suitable for the character, I am saying that the simple fact of picking such an incredibly liked actor, adds tremendous bias against whichever character is his nemesis, but worse yet, against the real life character; in this case, Muse.
    While most of “us” have learned to give a modicum of the benefit of the doubt to any villain we encounter in movies, especially when he goes against the typically American good guy, the American public is not so discerning; and I fear, as for Zac and Kaizer, that Muse is henceforth the one-dimensional villain the movie is sure to portray him as.

  3. Interesting. Unfortunately I’m yet to see the movie. But in a nutshell I personally condemn propaganda used by Americans to commit injustices in foreign countries in as much as I condemn excuses used by pepertrators of crime for personal gain (pirates in this case) under pretext that they are reacting to years of oppression by the west. Lots of Africans have experienced adveristy, but not all have resorted to crime and violence.

  4. I’d second that question. Did you see the film, “Captain Philips” before writing this Zach? While I agree with the general point of what you write, its very sloppy. This is annoying. You should write more carefully than “the captain’s ineptitude led to the hijacking in the first place.” Did it really? Was it all that simple? Contributed maybe, but “led?” Word choice is important While calling for more complexity you certainly don’t dish out much yourself. You are brash and unreflexise. Particularly because I think it is so important that Muse’s “side” be told I am depressed that its teller, you, parrot the same good guy/bad guy paradigm, only in reverse, that you decry Hollywood for being so stuck in. Unstick yourself please.

  5. If the Maersk Alabama didn’t stay 600 miles from the coast, following the advisory, it could have been because they were en route from Djibouti to Mombasa – look at the charts.
    I believe you never answered the question – why was Muse smiling?
    The argument that fishermen turns to piracy when fishing is down is lame and very old. Like saying poor people become thieves to survive. Most poor people are not thieves, and very few fishermen ever turned to piracy. What we’re seeing is big business, with international financiers and shady banks involved. Out of scale for impoverished fishermen.
    The Somali movie I would like to see would be their own version of Black Hawk Down. I don’t think Kaizer Matsumunyane will be the choice for director. Let him continue doing simple propaganda.

  6. I saw the film it was great and nowhere in the film do they not show why the somalis are forced to do what they do and you have real compassion for the youngest somali kid on board especially. Your article is incorrect if you saw the film you would see they show all sides to the story.

  7. This is really incorrect? I have a feeling the author didn’t see the film? They totally show that these people did not have a choice. In the part where Phillips was talking with Muse it goes about like this
    Phillips: Isn’t there something more you could do than fishing and kidnapping?
    Muse: Maybe in America, Irish.
    And other very obvious signs they have to do this. You feel a lot of compassion for the youngest boy too.

  8. I thought the movie did a very good job of showing the human side of all of the pirates. It showed their poverty, their fear and their youth. It’s a shame he wouldn’t agree to meet with Sony as it sounds like they wanted to do a fair portrayal. Of course, the movie is called Captain Phillips, so it makes sense that it would be from his point of view.

    I sense you didn’t actually see the movie before writing this article.

  9. The article previews the film and comments on the media circus surrounding the event. This is about questioning issues of representation and perspective. It’s about critiquing the manner in which stories are marketed to a wide audience and asking who has ownership over the “truth”. Showing a little bit of the Somali film characters’ lives does not mean that the film is a “fair” portrayal of the people involved in the event or the socio-political landscape in Somalia. Let’s not just simply swallow anything that we’re fed.

  10. I saw the film last night – it most definitely showed the Somali side of things – that they were forced into it, and didn’t have a choice. It was very sympathetic to Muse and the youngest pirate. Yes, the author of this article needs to step aside from his own propaganda.

  11. I wonder if the person who wrote this even saw the film. The Somali characters were not portrayed as entirely evil nor was Capt Phillips as a hero.

  12. I just watched the film, and I really don’t know what you watched. The Somali pirates were not portrayed as evil or unsympathetic. Actually, there was only one that was not at all likeable, and it was not Muse! I don’t think film is meant to go into details about anything other than this particular incident. Going into Somalias economic conditions in this film would have been like going into the US military funding that provided an end to this. Overall, I thought it was a good movie. All that said, you are a very good writer, I just think you got lost in this one a bit.

    1. “Oh, the filmmakers gave the Somali characters a shred of humanity, I guess that makes the film entirely factual.”

      What a joke of a comment. You got caught on your high horse writing a terrible article about a movie you clearly didn’t see. Time to bow out gracefully.

  13. Nobody is saying the film is entirely factual or that it was intended to be. Obviously it is hollywood. But it’s clear you wrote this article speculating on the trailer and assuming that the director would paint some sort of ethnocentric and offensive portrayal of the factual events. It is clear you speculated on the film before seeing it. Hey, we all make mistakes. You are a great writer so you have that going for you.

  14. Thanks Zach for this discussion. Saw the movie this weekend. It’s fair to say the director “attempted” to give the pirates dimension, but those few instances of sympathetic-leaning moments in no way discount the validity of this piece. Regardless of whether or not there’s a couple of instances where the pirates might seem like “sympathetic” characters, it doesn’t change the takeaway of this article which is that multiple narratives to the same story may exist. It’s scary to think, like the filmmaker interviewed suggests, that people aren’t asking questions after seeing these events portrayed on screen.

  15. I was going to link to this article but the author’s replies to the comments show his blatant bias. That is a shame as the seemingly sham trial of Muse should be more widely reported and this documentary sounds very interesting.

  16. Hi. Thanks for all the comments. I am still working on the documentary. Right now still continuing to source funding for production. Muse is writing a book in prison about his life. Thanks for the interest and support.

    1. I would love to help in any way possible . I have skills that could be useful toward you . Please contact me .

  17. I just watched the movie and I really felt that the “other side” was neglected. Thank you for this article and for letting readers know about the upcoming documentary that will hopefully tell people some truth.

    1. The “other side”, the pirates, weren’t neglected very much in the film. The pirates said they had “bosses”, the pirates said they had orders. It was made very clear they were foot soldiers. It was also made clear that between being a pirate and fishing there wasn’t too much else to do in Somalia. Whether or not that’s true, it fosters sympathy for the pirates. Barkhad Abdi showed humanity and an actual “good” soul in his amazing performance. Muse was *not* shown as a savage monster, many times compromising with the American captain.

      In the real event, I would hope the pirates weren’t shot after they surrendered. But don’t think for a second they wouldn’t have taken lives or the captains life, if merely given the order. Please think about that for a second.

  18. I felt the movie humanized Muse and made me care about his future. I hope he can get through his sentence and then get out and have a good peaceful life.

  19. I still haven’t seen the movie and don’t plan to see it as a matter of principle against “inspired by true events” movies (either it is a true event or it is fiction, otherwise it is claiming the benefits of both while being neither.)
    However, during his Real Time show last night, Bill Maher made the comment that when the US navy shot and killed the 3 pirates, the audience in the theater broke out in whooping and applause, obviously appreciative of that surprising denouement that freed Tom Hanks from his imprisonment by these skinny black guys.
    In that, the movie has been successful, for the target audience is exactly the one that might whoop and cheer, oblivious to any hint of perspective that may be sprinkled throughout. And in that, this essay and its author are not wrong to be suspicious for it is certain that the only legacy this movie has built, is the one that confirms Somalis as pirates and Tom Hank as even more of a good guy.

    1. Yeah… such a shame that violent men with dangerous weapons whom just kidnapped an American who was, as they were, trying to make a living (though unlike them, non-violently, for good or ill) should have their executions celebrated by an audience who shares the captain’s nationality… GOD FORBID!
      Seriously, man, in cases of violent actions, pick a fucking side and choose wisely. Honestly.

  20. I watched the movie and I definitely empathised with the pirates the movie made it pritty clear that they were just foot soldiers who came from poverty so it’s clearly a lie to say the movies one sided, against the pirates but maybe one sided in the sense it made the captain a hero

  21. There is no excuse for what Muse did, taking hostages on the high seas. Death is too good for him. And you enable more violence with your excuses. You are just as bad as any pirate, and you are part of the reason the world is so violent: You make excuses for murder.

      1. Historians assert that the terms of the WWI treaty dehumanized Germany and paved the way for Hitler to unite the country and rally them to violence and war. Should we all hold Hitler in high regard And empathize with him due to his circumstances… FUCKING STUPID..this dude is a pirate!!! He would kill you or take you hostage if given the chance.. Maybe all you idiots that want to make muse a martyr should be given the opportunity to meet him as a free man off the Somali coast… I bet he’s just a misguided youth, and he wouldn’t take you hostage or anything… Idiots

    1. Yes, because murder occurs ex nihilo, right? It is this bizarre, unnatural thing that somehow constitutes its own impetus. It’s written on the murderer’s soul that he shall do it, I suppose? And if we went back in time and took you and fifty non-murdering friends and exchanged you with fifty-one Somalian pirates, there’d be fifty fewer pirates in Somalia and fifty more murderers in the United States.

      If murder is unjust killing, then claiming a killing is just is “making excuses for murder.” You excuse the murder of Muse (he is, of course, alive, but you excuse it regardless), by claiming that “death is too good for him.” And yet you claim there is no excuse, and insult others for trying to “make excuses for it,” when those others never here advocated death, though you yourself did.

      Drop the hypocrisy. Drop the double standards. Drop the ad hominem. And drop the fucking deontological ethics.

    2. This guy isn’t worth replying to, he’s obviously not right in the head, lol, calling people he doesn’t even know murderers.

    3. I would love to dump toxic waste on American natural resources and have them NOT do anything about it. That would be the day…

  22. I just watched the movie, and am now immensely intrigued by all of which I saw- particularly Muse. I’m torn by my feelings for Muse. What he did was – I’d like to say inexcusable- however completely contradictory to the term inexcusable- I somewhat empathize with the pirates, and their motivation to commit such acts of violence and disarray. All in all, Captain Philips and his family are in my thoughts and prayers- that they may find peace, and recover from this horrific trauma. Muse as well is in my prayers. That he may see the ways of his sins, and that he and his family may not again suffer and fall.victim to poverty, so not to be enticed by crime and the hopes at a quick dollar. EXCELLENT MOVIE, and I anxiously await your documentary regarding Mr. Muse.

  23. I just saw the film and I have to say that it was not completely one sided, it did make some reference to the pirates being young (the captain urges one of them to give himself up as he is only about 16 years old), extremely poor and under orders from above. However, it left it to the viewer to to decide whether to have any empathy for the pirates, something that will not occur to the majority of the target audience.

    However, I think there will be a not insignificant proportion of viewers, such as myself and some of the others who have already commented on here (demonstrating that the film has sparked enough of an interest for them to do some online research) who will want to know more about the plight of the pirates and be interested in Muse’s story in particular. To that extent, I have to say that the film is a success to a certain degree as it will encourage some discussion and debate about a topic that the media would probably prefer the public know nothing about altogether.

    With regards to some of the comments on here, I cannot understand why some people believe that they are entitled to a better standard of living just because they were fortunate enough to be born in a rich country. We are all born equal as human beings and it is a disgrace that while we live in a world where there are sufficient resources for everyone to be able to eat and have shelter, that whole communities should be deprived of even these most basic human needs .

  24. I saw the movie last night, and while there were a few scenes to show the poverty in which the pirates lived, and the recruitment methods, and the seeming unwillingness of Muse to actually hurt anyone, I still found that the movie made me root against the pirates, and made me relieved when his companions were shot and he was imprisoned. But I decided to do my research on the actual story, and I see that it is not as black and white as the movie makes you feel it is (no pun intended).

  25. This has to be the dumbest article i ever read. So based on this article we should always take into consideration the reason why people do the idiotic things they do. If Someone steals my car, i should care enough of their Plight as to why they did such a thing. I don’t care why a criminal does things they do. They choose to do those things because they feel that is their only option.

    All this article does is try to humanize common criminals and that is a stupid thing to do. While we are at it, why don’t we humanize Charles Manson, or Osama Bin Laden for their actions. Fact is, i don’t know the exact actions that happened on that boat since i wasn’t there and i don’t just believe the word of others but one fact is undeniable, and that is, Somalia Pirates highjacked the Boat and took the Captain Hostage. This article can point as many fingers as it wants but one thing is clear, these young men were cowards who used Automatic weapons to get what they wanted, but what they really got were bullets to their body and 33 years in prison. Well deserved.

    1. Normally I wouldn’t waste my time on people who obviously like to keep a thick veil over their eyes and Bose headphones in their ears. Okay, lets say you didn’t read this article and all you knew about this incident is what you heard from the news or the Captain Phillips movie. The information never adds up. And you say criminals get what they deserve? Then why is it that whenever there’s an American terrorists, they’re labeled as “mentally unstable?” What do you know about justice? Nothing. And it’s not about “humanizing common criminals;” a common criminal is someone who would steal your car. And lets say you view Somalia as a war torn country where they have constant droughts and is suffering from malnutrition. That it is a place that is so difficult to survive and barely has any jobs. This is the image America gives Somalia; is it not?
      What I don’t understand is why are you not asking yourself, “Why were they so close to the coastline when they were constantly given warnings?” It’s so that people like you will never question what the media feeds you therefore you swallow your information whole and suffer from an epidemic known as “indifference.”

      1. Saying that “they were too close to the coastline, therefore they deserved to be hijacked is EXACTLY the same as saying the rape victim shouldn’t have worn the revealing dress… Was the crew “asking for it?” Its victim blaming, and any attempt to justify the pirates actions is liberal bullshit. If I hijacked a plane and demanded money because i couldn’t find a job, I’d get the death penalty.. You ppl are fucking stupid

    2. I would love to see what happens when one day someone else decides to dump $hit on American soil, taking away all their natural resources, and for some reason, they can do nothing about it. It’s hypothetical and probably impossible but wouldn’t it be interesting? It’d be a true test. Would the whole population take it in the chin, work together and try to bake some biscuits or…I dunno…it’s hypothetical…

    3. Dude, don’t forget that our western asses are living the good life on the backs of those poor souls in the third world. If you deny that than I recommend looking over your yank horizon and educate yourself beyond fox news about what’s been going on on that continent since the days of the colonies. Talking pollution, mining and so many other issues here. Do you know how many african countries if not all struggle because of events that can be traced back to us “white folk”? Did you know that Liberia was founded by murrica trying to get rid off ex-slaves? And that the local tribes were enslaved by them applying what they’ve learned from their former masters? Even the supposed “help” we send to africa is a freakin business with people profiting off it, only resulting in keeping them from helping themselves and building up an own economy.
      What would you say if people would come to america to take away your land, mineral deposits, pollute the crap out of the environment and literally enslave the population? Oh I forgot that’s mostly what you did to the Native Americans. But seriously, being a good yank of course you would bring out all your guns and shoot those villains. You’re sitting on a high horse there and come off as quite ignorant and hypocritical. You’re not talkin your average american bankrobber here, people are desperate and for some part being bullied into their role by their own people. It’s easy for us to see them as infirior and even dehumaize them for the atrocities they commit, for the most part, against their own people. But you’re walking on thin ice. If I had nothing to eat I would rather steal than beg myself. Of course I can consider myself lucky to be able to find work in my country, so I don’t have to.

  26. There were others affected besides the pirates…should we be indifferent to them? One account from the wife of Third Engineer John Cronan, said they lost their family home because he has not been able to return to work due to post-traumatic stress.
    ‘I’ve learned to wake him with my foot to avoid being struck in the face as he lashes out at pirates in his sleep,’ Heather Cronan wrote, reported the New York Post.
    A letter from Mr Phillips also said: ‘It affects us in our daily lives, and it is not a Disneyland-esque problem. These are not Johnny Depps…

  27. Excellect info please keep me updated about the documentary for Muse, On the movie I just see 5 cold man sending orders to kill 3 soul three person— no one talks about what makes Somalis to do what they did but yeah poor captain whatever yeah you send help with 300 gallons of water and in the other hand explode our poor countries taking all the fish and millions of dollars to your pockets— please stop stealing our countries resources and keep creating your own!!! let us live in peace because God give us this resources !!! the fish, oil and other buy it from us do not come to our countries saying we are helping you with 300 gallon of water when in the other hand you US steal our resources covering yourself after you own mess!!!!

  28. Wow, so they deserved to be hijacked? And Muse’s poverty is an excuse to threaten murder and beat people? You do a disservice to your fellow Africans, many of whom suffer from poverty but choose NOT to harm people as a result.

  29. you make your bed you lie in it. You don’t like getting shot, imprisoned or misjudged in a movie. DONT DO THE CRIME!!!!! I hope it was made quite clear that the US wont take this crap lightly. And I hope if any of you other filthy low down air wasting jackasses ever make the mistake of underestimating the US on this issue again, get your asses shot off or spend the existence of your worthless lives in a Federal Prison as well. I myself hope you get shot to death regardless if you “raise your hands” or not because I don’t want to pay a dime of my hard earned money for your black asses!!!!!!! Again you don’t want to get “hurt” stay home and bake biscuits.

    1. Easy for you to say, what was a US ship doing in my countries waters???? huh? any clue? any explanation? oh yes right…you’re all american you do as you will to every country out there isn’t it?
      because you’re souls are oh so precious more than other people’s lives? you fucking dispose wastes into our seas and speak of justice? i’ll tell you what justice is, stay out of our coasts. leave us alone, you complain and cry and defend your people but you never look at what THEY do, that’s how blind and narcissistic most of you are..i don’t wish harm upon any of those people who were on the ship but i’m sickened by your mentality.
      i’m not gonna generalize against all americans because i’m pretty sure there are sensible ones out there..

      1. In your countries waters? International law is clear: 12 Miles Is the limit for territorial waters. A nation may extend out to approximately 200 Miles as part of their exclusive economic zone, dealing with issues such as fishing and drilling. This of course has nothing to do with shipping lanes 300 miles off the coast.

  30. The reality is, this guy will have a way better life in prison then his mother in Africa. Better shelter than a mud hut, better food, clothes/jumpsuit etc.

    PS. I’ve unfortunately had my fair share of sitting in criminal court, and that is the smile of a cocky, belligerent, unresentful criminal.

    1. don’t disgust me, you think everyone in africa lives in a mud hut? let me try educating you about MY country, although we have no functional government and thanks to the US “government” and some countries for our war ridden country, we have houses, let me try telling you how somalia was one of the quickly growing countries economical, educational and social wise. So yes, we have roads we have proper houses, we have better food, better weather and clothes. so don’t try acting like america is all that…get off your high horse.
      and oh his smile is that of an unresentful criminal? the poor kid had no clue of what was happening…the real criminals are the ones who killed off his friends even tho they called for truce.
      and trust me lol america is not scaring these pirates, on the contrary actually i’m sure this will happen AGAIN if they enter our coasts again, and obviously this applies to every country who does the same. i’m not supporting this piracy but if it stops the hogging of our seas and the disposal of toxins into our waters i’m all for it.

      1. Asswipe Somolian, Muse should have been shot on site. Here is hoping he gets buttfucked daily by some American inmates who figure out who he is. Navy SEALS as the real criminals? Lie to yourself you piece of shit, but who started this act of terrorism. Here’s hoping a few more of these pirate SOB’s get filled with American gunpower and lead. Kill ’em all. We are still the home of the free and land of the brave. Jealous African bastards. Kiss our collective ASSES

  31. I have to admit that while watching the movie I actually sympathized with Abduwali, so I don’t think he was being depicted entirely as stated here (or maybe I just have a thing for villains lol). He came across as brave, quite intelligent and as being an able and quite moderate leader of his crew. I also liked how he was keeping a positive attitude, even when the situation turned entirely fubar.
    I think the actor did a good job too, just technically speaking. Now that I know parts of “the real story” I can’t help but feeling even more compassion towards him, knowing that he was a desperate 16-19 years old boy (really, I don’t give much of a damn, guy was a freaking kid) from a third world country, who was sentenced to 34(!) years in Prison. This judgement is plain ridiculous. That being said, let’s not play the victim game here. Piracy is a crime against international laws – and even if you can argue about how the social circumstances play a role that should be taken into account – can’t go unpunished. Also let’s not forget that after all movies are there to entertain people and “based on real events” makes not claim whatsoever about the amount of truth. There’s just not many true “heroes” in real life, and the ones that are don’t always make up for a good story. So Hollywood makes them up. The endeavour to make a docu about the situation of the Somali pirates and how things came to be is a good thing and I think the movie just scratched the surface there. So keep up the good work!

  32. Thank you for stating why Muse said he was smiling in the photos. It felt like a reward for reading the whole article.

    Without a doubt I’m sure Hollywood twisted this story to make it more entertaining. When a movie is ‘based on true events’ it does not mean the movie is as accurate as possible- the goal is to make money. Some people work for money, not for truth. Somali pirates included.

    Every country loves the ideal of a hero and facts get twisted over the heros. That isn’t news to me.

    You stated that Captain Philips did some things in poorly and made mistakes. I’m not surprised. I actually avoided watching the movie for 4 years because I had heard that the crew had complained about that. After finally watching I realized I should have earlier- I watch movies for entertainment and the bottom line is that Sony Pictures made a very entertaining film. I pay money for entertainment. Hollywood makes money entertaining. It works.

    Over time, people discuss ‘based on true events’ movies. Sure, the first year is like a honeymoon period where it’s all about the ‘wow factor.’. Over time people begin researching and discussing the details. The Internet sped up this process. I don’t see a problem with people ‘buying’ the hero story. Before long the other sides will be part of regular conversation (if they’re not already).

    That all being said, I agree that the problems of guns in Somalia and the power behind piracy need (should) to be addressed. This doesn’t get Muse off the hook, however. You could interview anyone who in prison for murder and get yourself a story for a documentary. The story would usually be the same- it would argue why the convicted should be free. I’m guessing most would have more inaccuracies and misrepresentations than Captain Phillips did. That and they wouldn’t make money in Hollywood. Personally I’d rather spend the night with Phillips than Muse. Perhaps Muse isn’t the mad man he was portrayed as on the big screen but he did hijack a freaking ship and demand a ransom! The whole gun, hijack and ransom thing- that’s the ‘true’ part of the story. Of all the true things that happened I think those aspects are the most significant as well.

    1. It’s not too difficult to avoid watching a movie for four years when it hadn’t yet been made or released! Now and then I think I’ve come across an intelligent answer or “remark” then there is something like this. Though a few comments were well spoken, get ALL your info gathered before laying it out. Maybe a storyboard would help some folk but in this case I think a timeline would be a good place to start.

  33. Who gives a flying fuck about the details of when his friends were shot. They should have strung this bastard up the second he turned himself over to the authorities. The American soldiers involved and the crew of the ship were the heros here. Somebody is stupid enough to try piracy on us deserves to be shot on sight.

    1. Your an evil fool sir and have been poisoned by your own perception. You spend a year in Somalia and you would understand the horrors that build people to become a pirate. Not saying you would but your mouth has no experience or outside information to allow you to utilize your freedom of speech in such a way that you come off as ignorant and rude as most countries portray Americans anyway. You know nothing and therefore should not gossip or post such comments. Thanks.

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