Friday, June 11, 2010

A Pirate Ain't a Pirate

I wrote this filk in response to the Israeli government's decision to send pirates into international waters to attack a flotilla sending aid to Gaza and the accompanying realization that pirates these days aren't as cool as they were in the days of Gilbert and Sullivan. It is to be sung to the tune of "The Last Shanty" by Tom Lewis.

When filling applications for a job in piracy,
Well, I was told, when choosing words, to do so carefully.
Instead of "pirate" I should say "Israeli man-o-war".
That's how I learned a pirate ain't a pirate anymore.
Don't haul on the rope. Don't climb up the mast.
Our helicopter paratroops will make this day your last.
We'll plunder the flotillas that bring aid to Gaza's shore.
A pirate ain't a pirate ain't a pirate anymore.
Well, pirates used to rule the waves. No one could govern them,
But now we follow orders coming from Jerusalem.
From master of the sea to Netanyahu's private whore.
A pirate ain't a pirate ain't a pirate anymore.

We used to look for treasure way back in the days of old,
To plunder piles of rubies and to dig up chests of gold,
But now we plunder wheelchairs, food and medicine galore.
A pirate ain't a pirate ain't a pirate anymore.

The quest for wealth and glory was why pirates joined the fight,
But now we only pillage out of racism and spite.
Instead of getting rich we keep the Palestinians poor.
A pirate ain't a pirate ain't a pirate anymore.

When I got home from pillaging, a woman asked me "why?"
Not one for conversation, I just shot her in the eye,
And as her eye came out it brought me back to days of yore.
A pirate's still a pirate, just like he was before.


  1. For info on the eye-shooting-out from the last verse see

    And for something a bit more uplifting, there was a 10,000 protest in Tel Aviv against the flotilla massacre.

    People concerned about the rise of anti-semitism would do well to remind people of things like that rather than to pretend the attack was justified.

  2. Awesome, I just put it to guitar chords and tried singing it; flows beautifully.

  3. The people of Gaza are suffering? Some. You'd suffer too if your government consisted of murderous thugs who went around killing anyone who dared disagree. Look at this in America-centric terms.

    Consider that the American Indians recognized tribes are quasi-separate nations. OK, now one day a bunch of them decide they've had enough of the White Man and start firing homemade rockets at nearby towns -- making sure to target schools, houses of worship, stores and other places with concentrations of vulnerable people. The tribal council declaims responsibility at first then shortly they are ousted in a 'free' election in which the rocket-firers group goes around threatening anyone who doesn't vote their way.
    Meanwhile the folks in the town next door get fed up and the US Army tries to go into the reservation to put a stop to this -- but the rebels shoot and kill a number of soldiers and take others hostage with the use of carefully prepared clever traps.
    "Indian Rights" groups clamor their support. The shelling of American civilians continues.
    WE find evidence that tunnels from an airport customs inspection holding area are being used to smuggle arms and supplies into the reservation.
    The US Army escalates with helicopters, calls in air support and bombs a few key positions. Enemies of the US (pick any, North Korea etc.) introduce motions in US General Assembly condemning the US actions.
    The enemy group on the reservation promises to stop.
    The US Army has a cordon around the reservation to prevent munitions from being shipped in.
    A group of activists from other countries put together a truck convoy to bring in "humanitarian supplies". The Army tells them they can't go in direct they have to go the local base and have the contents inspected. The activists refuse and try to drive through.
    Most trucks surrender when confronted by SWAT and US Army etc. but one truck has armed activists who proceed to bludgeon the troops trying to enforce the cordon but are armed with non-lethal munitions -- but the activists have gas masks and are generally prepared and act in a coordinated manner.

    The standoff continues and rocket barrages against anything in an ever-expanding range continue as well. First is maybe a 5 mile range. Then its 20 then 30 then 60 then a hundred -- we've gone from battlefield range to short range ballistic missiles. They won't stop, they say, until all whites leave the US and Canada returning all land to the local Indian tribes.

    What would you propose the US do? Tolerate this activity indefinitely? Or just bring in overwhelming force and put a stop to this idiocy permanently even if "innocent" women and children are killed? Wait, there's more...many of those shooting at troops etc. are women and teenagers as well as adult men. None wear a uniform it's impossible to say someone is a civilian or just a fighter who decided not to pull out their concealed weapon and try to kill anyone in range.