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Home » Humor, Survival, and Somali Pirates: Michael Scott Moore at TEDxBeaconStreet (Transcript)

Humor, Survival, and Somali Pirates: Michael Scott Moore at TEDxBeaconStreet (Transcript)

Michael Scott Moore

Michael Scott Moore – TRANSCRIPT

When this picture ran on a story I published last year about being held hostage by Somali pirates, one British soccer fan wrote in to comment: “Bastards making him wear a Manchester United shirt I’d be pissed too.” That is a Manchester United jersey, and it was one of a few pieces of clothing that the pirates gave me. Cheap clothing they had probably stolen from a cargo ship. I’m not a particular soccer fan. But you probably know that Manchester United is like the New York Yankees of international football. People feel passionately about them, for and against, and all my pirates were soccer fans.

At another point in my captivity, I was sitting in a prison house, wearing the same shirt, and a new pirate came in, a young guy I’d never seen before. He didn’t know how I liked to dress. He sat in a corner and looked at me for a long time until I thought he was going to hit me or something like that. Finally, he said: “You support Manchester?” I think he was a Barcelona fan. Some people have asked – It’s true.

Some people have asked how I can make light of the experience in Somalia, or how I can maintain a sense of humor about it, and I don’t know if I have a complete answer, but I will try to give you one. It’s true that having a sense of humor, or trying to maintain one, helped me survive there. But it’s also true that there was nothing especially funny about Somalia itself. While I was there, I didn’t smile very often, as you can see, and I probably laughed out loud about five or six times. I was captured in early 2012, in January, when I went down to research a book.

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