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Pirates Have Taken Over the Mayflower

The freedoms so treasured by the Pilgrim Fathers, who chose exile rather than submission to an unyielding doctrine, has been subverted by these pirates away from its original purpose of enriching the complexity of expression and human ideals and toward the sole goal of acquiring additional booty.


John R. Bradley, Managing Editor Arab News

04/21/03

JEDDAH — It is as though we find ourselves once again sailing the high seas. The ship leading the way is called the Mayflower, which landed in Plymouth in 1620; but it has long since been taken over by pirates operating under cover of its flag and reputation.

The man now at the helm could not have been created by even the most imaginative of science fiction writers. He is controlled by a crew happy in the knowledge that they have made their skipper forget the shores from which they all set sail, and everything there his people once held dear.

For this Mayflower is sailing violently back into the waves it battled long ago, throwing overboard any principles or concepts likely to slow down the journey.

The freedoms so treasured by the Pilgrim Fathers, who chose exile rather than submission to an unyielding doctrine, has been subverted by these pirates away from its original purpose of enriching the complexity of expression and human ideals and toward the sole goal of acquiring additional booty.

For what have ideals and lofty pronouncements to do with the capture of foreign vessels, the massacre of their crews and the subsequent looting? All that matters is the heady knowledge that there are always greater treasures to be seized. After perhaps the third raid, that was it: This was the lifestyle they had gotten used to, and piracy became the defining principle of their existence. Never could there be any thought of returning to the shores from which they set sail. Others sailing freely and at leisure on the great ocean, which once belonged to everyone, are now all anchored — preoccupied only by the fear that their ship could be next on the Mayflower’s hit list.

Although barbarians in action, the crew of the Mayflower have an inherited sophistication which they employ to devastating effect, and have developed a strategy practiced so often that it is now foolproof.

They send the best of their men to infiltrate the crews of the other ships. Once a crew falls under the spell of the simple sermons of these evangelical infiltrators, many are converted to the false perceptions of the hijacked Mayflower. The skipper of the infiltrated ship knows that he has only two immediate choices: Give away so much of his treasure to the infiltrators on a regular basis as to make an attack on his ship unnecessary, or embrace the martyrdom of the sea.

A third option is to join the fleet of the powerful, forsaking his dignity by permitting the Mayflower to siphon off a sizable portion of his ship’s wealth in return for guarantees of his own security and greater prestige.

Since the skipper himself ruled his own ship like HMS Bounty’s Capt. Bligh, which is to say with dictatorial passion, his crew can easily be bought off by the promise of a little more freedom and some spare time in which to enjoy it — not to mention the eternal allure of eventually coming to port in that mythical New England harbor which, alas, they have no idea has long since changed beyond all recognition from the place where the hijacked Mayflower first landed.

But what of the small minority on the other ships who resist setting sail on a new course in uncharted waters, driven not by their own best interests but rather the forces of piracy? Yes, they acknowledge, their own ship is not the best place to live a life. But they are nevertheless proud of the fact that it is uniquely theirs, built by their forefathers and proudly maintained for generations against all the odds and against the elements. And after all is said and done, they have 4,000 years of history, not a mere 200.

Most importantly, they feel that they are a distinct people, who have beliefs which to die for would be better than to sacrifice.

Moreover, they have gotten wind of the fact that the New England coast for which they are bound is not the same place where the Mayflower first landed.

They know their ship will likely be hacked to pieces once they get ashore, and they will thus be robbed of the opportunity to leave if they do not like what they find there.

They have also heard tales from some of those who earlier fell into the trap, but later escaped.

They reported that, rather than resembling the Garden of Eden the evangelical infiltrators on their ship are forever preaching about, New England is in fact a place where one in five of the children live in poverty; where less than four percent of the population owns more than 80 percent of the wealth; where the prisons are overflowing with largely non-violent offenders; and where the pinnacle of civilization is taken to be the presence of a McDonald’s at one end of the street and a Hardee’s at the other.

— bradley@arabnews.com

 


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