For when that king (Alexander the Great) had asked the man (a pirate) what he meant by keeping hostile possession of the sea, he answered with bold pride, “What thou meanest by seizing the whole earth; but because I do it with a petty ship, I am called a robber, whilst thou who dost it with a great fleet art styled emperor.” (Augustine, Book IV, City of God)

A student wrote down for me the story of her father’s flight from Vietnam in 1979:

Vin Minh (Vince) had paid his way onto an overcrowded boat bound for Thailand. After a day, the motor failed and the boat drifted. Food ran out: she described how the passengers tried fishing with their underwear. After fifteen days they encountered pirates, who took all their money and valuables. Afterwards, they pleaded with the pirates to tow them into Thai waters – which they did, saving their lives.




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