Rhetorical Analysis: “You are Being Lied To About Pirates”

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 tactics” to sugar-coat or even hide the truth of something from the public. Hari’s main reason for writing this article was to show or in some sense prove that there are always 2 sides to a story (nonsense and the truth) but also there could be two “truths” in this situation as well.
Johann Hari’s cause in writing this article is to try to dispel this “myth” about how the media stops at nothing to put out a good story, even if that means bending the truth. He explains this in the beginning of his article by sharing the information about the government along with real background history of the Somali pirates. Although he takes this stance in his article we must still remember that Hari falls into the category of a mainstream media personnel, which he sees as the ones who cover up the truth.
Being that this is the formal background of who this author is, we must look in depth on just who we are basing our point of views or ideas off of. His credibility falls a little bit shy of the standard of truth, because the author is in fact a reporter and apart of this media machine of sugar-coating things. Because he is a reporter, any and every reporter knows that you sometimes have to twist the truth a little bit to get a good story. Hari is a British journalist who’s been writing for multiple news columns, as well as other side contributions.
Over the years he collected numerous awards for being Journalist of the Year, starting back in his college years at Kings College in Cambridge, England. It’s been shown countless of times in articles written by Hari that he tends to use in or throughout his writing to get an emotion grasp from his audience to his writing. The audience of this writer may find it a bit confusing on as to why an author who is making a stand towards the truth of how we are being blinded about Somali pirates has been questioned about his writing credibility.
For months now rumors have been circulating about Johann’s reliability as a writer and have been said numerous times that Hari is a plagiarist and has even harassed his rival journalist. On September 15th, 2011 he proved these rumors and accusations to be true, by giving a formal public apology for his actions as well as surrendering his awards for journalist of the year. It’s hard to say whether or not author is knowledgeable about the topic simply because of what he has been accused of and this leaves the audience confused on if what was stated was his truth or his own ingredients to compose this article.
In Hari’s defense there is a strong possibility that what was stated in this article was indeed his own work, because he includes a lot of his own emotion and opinion throughout the writing of this article. When interviewing Ahmedou Ould-Abdallah (UN envoy to Somalia) he included the “grief” that Abdallah was extending when saying that people were constantly dumping nuclear material in his country. Hari felt as though it was his duty to lean more towards an appeal to pathos in order for his audience to get a sense of what he and this envoy were feeling.
He was looking for sympathy, disappointment, and a sign of relief in the hopes that through the situations that the Somalian’s were experience they would pull through and overcome this hard and devastating time. Although Hari is taking a stance in siding with the pirates and what they are about he doesn’t shy from including the fact that in the history of piracy, pirates were the first to rebel in the world and shows that rebels can lean towards doing things that the world may see as unjust or cruel, when in reality rebels are people who are tired of taking less than what hey deserve and begin to rise or stand up for what they feel they deserve and that is the point that Hari was trying to make in this article. Johann Hari reached out to his audience about the Somalian piracy and expressed his view on the situation. Hari may have been accused for plagiarism and harassing rival journalist, but when it comes down to it he is a reporter. He’s a reporter who is a part of this media machine that does whatever it takes to get there point across to their audience.
He overcame this obstacle in this article by pushing his emotional appeal (pathos) on his audience giving them an option to choose how to feel about what was being said. The bottom line of this essay is to prove that you can’t always believe what you hear; sometimes you have to do research to get the real truths in a story. Johann Hari tries to elaborate in this article that his audiences are the mislead population who is looking to seek a conformational standpoint on these terrorizing pirates. He also points out to us that his audiences are the ones who have been degrading the name of the Somali pirates.
Hari mainly points these types of people out to be the government as well as the corrupted media. He establishes that he is against or does not favor the negative image of the pirates. Hari tries to institute an emotional relationship with his readers by including the “actual” background of these pirates and gives sympathetic reasoning on why they do the things that they do. Hari incorporates this appeal to pathos in his article because he’s going off the instinct that his readers are looking for some sort of understanding on why they ARE pirates.
He maximizes his creative intuition in this article by incorporating his audience by asking us rhetorical questions and giving us reasons where we in a way have to search for the answers ourselves. He brings them to life and expresses to the reader just how they should really be viewing these “media machines” who’ve been belittling the Somali pirates. He assumes that the readers are on his side in a way because, he feels that he is including the actual and/or good reasoning behind the Somali pirate tactics.
This all goes back to the “there’s always two sides to every story” quote. He sees his readers as merely looking for the good since they already heard or know about the bad in this situation. Johann Hari includes more of a formal informative type of language towards his audience in this article. The way that he writes his article is towards an audience of a higher education i. e. high school students and up. Because of this he leans on the art of persuasion towards his readers to see the brighter or better side of the story.
By doing this he is sort of sugar coating this situation but he expresses it as exposing the truth. When Hari speaks about how “European ships have been looting Somalia’s seas of their greatest resource: seafood,” he demonstrates a tone of liveliness. This is appropriate for this article because it gives the reader some sort of excitement or thrill to keep them wanting more information on what is going on in this country. His choice of words shows that he puts more of his own emotion in this article than actual evidence that he is trying to elaborate on.
This tactic of inputting his emotion in his work was for the sole purpose to show his audience that not everyone who ends up being the “bad guys” start off that way. Hari tackles the obstacle of repetition of the same information throughout this article. He incorporates new and interesting facts that stick together with the rest of his work in almost every paragraph. An example of this would be when Hari started to indicate the UN’s envoy to Somalia’s stand on what has been occurring in his country.
He continues on in the following paragraphs to explain when and where the problems all started. By doing this he is giving his readers a little background information, and this gives the reader some sort of stability when trying to figure out exactly how they feel about what is going on in Somalia. My overall feeling about Johann Hari’s “You have been lied to about pirates,” is that he accomplishes his goal of persuading his audience to take a different approach in judging the Somali pirates.
He made his message clear straight from the title and stuck by that until the end of his article. Yes Hari may have been accused for plagiarism, but when you think about it, what journalist would spend that much time including this much of someone else’s emotion or opinion in his work. This article leaves you thinking no matter how bad things may look for you, there is always someone or something that makes you see the brighter side of things to help you realize the two sides to your story.

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