Hot Topic of the Week


This will be a new weekly feature for my blog.

For those of you who like to share and discuss issues, here is a perfect platform you.

Speak your ‘peace’.



Hot Topic Of the Week


Pirates and Pop

With the release of the new movie Captain Phillips starring Tom Hanks, a movie bringing light to the issue of modern day Somali pirates that is based on the seizure of a cargo ship by Somali pirates in 2009, it’s no wonder that people are talking.   Leave it to good old Hollywood to bring light to issues that have been around for, well, decades.  They found a ‘good’ story.


Somali pirates have been targeting cargo ships for years now, boarding and looting ships stealing more than $40 million dollars worth of cargo alone in 2012.  This is a serious issue not only economically but also as crimes against humanity.

Hollywood seems to be able to raise light to issues that your standard media platforms can’t seem to reach on such a scale.  It gets people talking.

Take for instance the news about the pirates and Britney.

According to the British Royal Navy Britney Spears music has been used by security teams off of the east coast of Africa to deter the Somali pirates by blaring her music, which according to Merchant Navy Second Officer Rachel Owens who works on the super tankers, is effective.

“These guys can’t stand western culture or music, making Britney’s hits perfect. As soon as the pirates get a blast of Britney, they move on as quickly as they can,” Owens continued.  (It wouldn’t happen to be the intimidation of announcing to the pirates that they have indeed happened upon an American vessel.  No, that wouldn’t have anything to do with it at all!  It’s all Britney.)


We’ve all known that Britney’s music isn’t for everyone but now we know for sure it isn’t for the pirates…

Pirate attacks off the coast of Somalia are at a low level, the lowest since 2006 because of tougher ship security and more Western naval patrols. (not because of Britney)

According to U.N. Security Council, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon there were 17 attacks in the first nine months of 2013, compared to 99 attacks in the same period last year.

This is amazing news.  Especially given that Somalia has been trying to recover and rebuild after two decades of civil war and lawlessness started by the over throw of Somalia President Siad Barre in 1991.  Which has also resulted in an estimated $413 million in ransoms taken by Somali pirates between 2005 and 2012 according to the U.N.  The lows are indeed encouraging and an indication that the U.N is doing something right.

The frustrating thing to me is that the media and Hollywood will ultimately make this one small tactic  (Britney’s music) used in a war against humanity as the sole cause for the declines in 2013, which I find completely absurd and a disgrace to the many people who have been invested and working hard to better this situation.


I suppose I should stop complaining and be thankful that people are talking about Somalia.

Who would have ever thought that Britney would be associated with a drop in criminal acts against humanity, which is ultimately a truth?

Oops, she did it again…(not on purpose that is)

Don’t under estimate the influence of Britney and the power of music on a society, not only our own.


Speak your ‘peace’.

I will speak mine.




  1. Karelia Stetz-Waters

    As an English teacher, I LOVE that you cited your sources. I also loved this blog post. This was very interesting, and I completely agree that giving Britney full credit for the decline in pirate raids is absurd. It’s good that Hollywood brought this issue to light, but it is too bad they couldn’t do a well informed piece that looks at all sides of the issue (like you did here!)

    • Jennifer Writings of a Mrs

      Thank you Karelia. I appreciate your thoughts.
      I’m not an English major or journalism student so the post may not be as put together as one or even I might hope. But I am trying to get a dialogue going about issues that are important to me.
      Thank you again for the encouragement.

  2. anupturnedsoul

    Great post! Very clever and well-written!

    When I first saw the ads for the Tom Hanks film… I rolled my eyes. I thought – he’s doing Castaway again because it was so popular, and he got an Oscar for it, bet he gets another one, unless another worthy cause film pips him to the statuette. I was surprised that Hollywood didn’t do a film about the British couple who were kidnapped a few years ago by Somali pirates. That was a very dramatic news story because the couple were ‘ordinary’ folks who had a small boat and just ended up sailing in waters they should have avoided, and knew they should have avoided. They went through a very harrowing ordeal. But I suppose because they were Brits, Hollywood passed on it.

    I hadn’t heard about the Britney thing. Guess her PR people haven’t done the same work over here. Reminds me of the Noriega debacle. The US forces seem to like to use pop music as a weapon… wonder what that says about pop music?

  3. Ranting Crow

    Second we can discus the effect of the song or her voice. Though she might not sound bad to me, Yes I listen to Britney on times. It can be argued that they do not like her voice though dance to the music. Clearly it would take more investigating and research before we can say it is just Britney and her voice or truly the song in whole.
    Maybe Sinatra with New York New York would inspire them to row even further and surrender to the statue of liberty. All in all it is interesting to see that western music is capable of repelling pirates

  4. Pingback: Soundtrack of my MInd: Weaponised Pop Music | An Upturned Soul
  5. Dayle

    For me it raises the questions of how are these pirates? Who are their victims? What is the underlying issue not being addressed here, just the treatment of the symptoms? I guess I will have to watch the movie and then I’ll know! Apart from the pirate issue (which I confess to knowing little about) the worrying thing I see is the way the mainstream media continually trivialises important issues for the sake of ‘news’ while deeper, balanced analysis is harder to find.


    You make great points.

    And raising a lot of questions as to why “Hollywood” would be making a movie about pirates now, and why couldn’t they done a movie about pirates years ago? I understand they needed a good script, but why know about pirates now – like you said, pirates have been around many years ago before Hollywood recognized it.

    This blog article is amazing!

    • Jennifer Writings of a Mrs

      Thank you.
      Yes many questions, it’s because it’s an American story with an American main character. Even when the couple from Britain got held hostage nothing was created.
      Hollywood has such influence. It’s a shame its not put to better use…
      Thank you for your kind words. I’m glad you enjoyed the article.

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