Thursday, December 12, 2013

Church v. State - A Dissolution

"The distance between the throne and the altar can never be too great."Denis Diderot


"We the people of the United States, in order to form a more perfect union, establish justice, insure domestic tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general welfare, and secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America."

The government lacks authority in the realm of individual conscience. The church must keep its distance from matters of state, as faith maintains its independence of reason. These were some of the ideas of John Locke and Pierre Bayle, among others, at the dawn of the Enlightenment. These ideas were instrumental to the drafting of a secular constitution, and eventually the creation of a secular society - America. This secular nation was created despite the fact that the Founding Fathers themselves all embraced some form of religiosity.

The first amendment to the United States Constitution, adopted in 1791, strictly forbids the creation of any law respecting an establishment of religion and impeding the free exercise of religion:
"Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances."

Today, well intentioned, albeit shortsighted Christian fundamentalists via the Tea Party like 2012 Republican presidential candidate Rick Santorum, have expressed disgust at the very idea and necessity of the separation of church and state. Believing firmly that America is a 'Christian nation', Santorum declared, “Earlier in my political career, I had the opportunity to read the speech, and I almost threw up",  speaking of then senator and presidential candidate, John F. Kennedy's speech to the Greater Houston Ministerial Association in 1960.

"I believe in an America where the separation of church and state is absolute." - John F. Kennedy

The main objective behind establishing these United States as secular was to eschew the very issues that the “religious right” so vehemently advocates. JFK not only understood what the Founding Fathers had envisioned and foresaw, he was the embodiment of it. Himself a Catholic opined, 'I believe in an America that is officially neither Catholic, Protestant nor Jewish -- where no public official either requests or accepts instructions on public policy from the Pope, the National Council of Churches, or any other ecclesiastical source.'


Despite landmark Supreme Court decisions in cases like McCollum v. Board of Education (1948), Engel v. Vitale (1962), and Abington School District v.Schempp (1963) have been consistent on the prohibition of state-sponsored prayer in schools, some Christians express feeling deprived when constitutionally-based bans have been enforced in schools across the Bible-belt. They proudly protest that they have been allowed to practice sectarian prayers in public all their life so they should continue to flout the highest law of the land, as if a centerpiece of democracy is to foist your beliefs unto others. Meanwhile, the unconstitutional violations are rampant and mostly go unnoticed. A few are: religious holiday displays on government public property, religious tests for public office, opening government meetings with prayer, and bible distribution in public schools. With a variety of religions practiced in the U.S., spread across hundreds of denominations, and almost 20% of the population who identify as non-religious, whose religion should be allowed in the public domain and on what basis?


Matthew 6:5-6 (KJV) "And when thou prayest, thou shalt not be as the hypocrites are: for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and in the corners of the streets, that they may be seen of men. Verily I say unto you, They have their reward. But thou, when thou prayest, enter into thy closet, and when thou hast shut thy door, pray to thy Father which is in secret; and thy Father which seeth in secret shall reward thee openly."

Religion by its very nature is exclusionary and the varied doctrines within each only increase the potential for further exclusion. Minorities and persons of dissenting opinion have no voice in any religion-based society. But, what if the tables gradually or suddenly turned in America? What if the prayers that were allowed in the public domain were Jewish, Buddhist, or even pagan prayers? Imagine for a second if Christians were in the minority? Would Christians feel comfortable when a pagan prayer blares from the loudspeaker at a graduation or a public school football game? How would you as a Christian feel about a dalliance between Mosque and state? Sadly, we don't have to look very far to see examples of this in the Middle East and other parts of the world where Sharia is the moral code and religious law of Islam. In these cultures democracy, human rights, freedom of speech, thought, conscience, and religion, LGBT, and women's rights are equivalent to blasphemy.



Have you ever considered just how much religious institutions cost the United States? Religious tax exemptions cost the U.S taxpayer a staggering $71 billion annually. It was none other than Thomas Jefferson who noted that, “Religious institutions that use government power in support of themselves and force their views on persons of other faiths, or of no faith, undermine all our civil rights. Moreover, state support of an established religion tends to make the clergy unresponsive to their own people, and leads to corruption within religion itself. Erecting the 'wall of separation between church and state,' therefore, is absolutely essential in a free society.” 

"Believing with you that religion is a matter which lies solely between Man & his God, that he owes account to none other for his faith or his worship, that the legitimate powers of government reach actions only, & not opinions, I contemplate with sovereign reverence that act of the whole American people which declared that their legislature should 'make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof,' thus building a wall of separation between Church and State." - Thomas Jefferson's Letter to the Danbury Baptists.

Be it resolved that in America church and state must always be separate, because where all men (and women) are born equal, one religion cannot be held in higher regard than another. Be it resolved also that men of no faith must have similar and equal rights to those of faith, because to deny this would be tantamount to voiding the founding documents, and making a mockery of our nation's foundation. Let us therefore, condemn the affair between church and state and dissolve this marriage once and for all.


Tuesday, December 10, 2013

An Eternal Treasure - A report on National Velvet

"Large dreams come easier when it's dark and still?" - Mrs. Brown, National Velvet


National Velvet (Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, 1944) is the movie based on Enid Bagnold's 1935 book of the same name. National Velvet stars the dazzlingly smart and enchantingly beautiful Elizabeth Taylor in her first starring role at age 12 as Velvet Brown. It also features fellow young actor Mickey Rooney, and later Murder, She Wrote star Angela Lansbury.
Shot entirely in California, the movie, set in Sewels, Sussex, England follows the exquisite journey of a girl dreamer and her family. Her family consists of her mother and father, who refer to each other as 'Mr. Brown' and 'Mrs. Brown' throughout the movie. Velvet is the youngest of three sisters and has a younger brother. Velvet is a lover of horses, but falls in love with The Pie (short for Pirate) when her 'heart skipped a beat instead of losing lunch'. The Pie captures Velvet's attention after he escapes from his owner Mr. Ede, runs loose and jumps a wall comparative to Becher's Brook in the Grand National Sweepstakes race.
Young Velvet eventually wins The Pie through a raffle after his owner had had enough of his antics. She persuades her parents and enters her horse into the Grand National. In a time when only men were allowed to be jockeys, Velvet convinces Mi, played by Rooney, to cut her hair and disguises herself as a boy. Velvet falls off the horse shortly after winning the race and was later discovered to be female and disqualified.
National Velvet went on to win two Academy Awards in 1945; Anne Revere won for Best Supporting Actress and Robert J. Kern for Best Film Editing. In 2003 the classic was selected to be preserved by the Library of Congress' National Film Registry, hailing it as "culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant."
Mr. Brown reminds his daughters at the dinner table 'You have only your faces for your fortunes', but later when Velvet wins the Grand National Race and became a media sensation he tries in vain to convince her to take up several lucrative offers, including one of £5,000 to travel to Hollywood with The Pie to be a film star. Velvet turns down the offers simply because she thought The Pie "wouldn't like being looked at."
The movie stands ahead of its time, envisioning a world where women are equal to men and where girls can not only compete with boys, but also win them. The film's other nod to feminism is Velvet mother's role, played by Anne Revere. Mrs. Brown is the confident, seasoned voice of reason in the household, a role model and inspiration for Velvet. Mrs. Brown was only 20 years old when she swam the English Channel and won. When her youngest daughter shares her dream of becoming a famous rider she challenges her as to why she waited until nighttime to tell her, if it is 'Because large dreams come easier when it's dark and still?'
Later, after being satisfied that Velvet's motives were pure, Mrs. Brown encourages the young rider, 'Your dream has come early.' Mrs. Brown then symbolically passes the baton to Velvet by giving her the prize money she won for swimming the Channel. 'Win or lose, it's how you take it that counts, and knowing when to let go', flowed the words of wisdom like pearls from her mother's lips.
National Velvet won the hearts and minds of viewers. It was a defining moment for young Elizabeth Taylor, who etched her name on the list of greatest actors of our time. No equivalent can be identified today, who lights up the screen like Taylor did. Her eyes were ever engaging in this movie as she was firmly and fully immersed into her role, making the National Velvet not only a national treasure, but an eternal one.

Thursday, December 5, 2013

The Life of Emmett Till: A voice crying for justice

"I hear a whistling through the water.
Little Emmett won't be still.
He keeps floating round the darkness,
Edging through the silent chill.
Tell me, please,
That bedtime story of the fairy River Boy
Who swims forever, deep in treasures,
Necklaced in a coral toy." - James Emanuel

To his mother, Mamie Carthan, he caused a painful birth. To the rest of his family he was a cocksure and debonair boy, born out of timing. They all agree that he was very mature for his fourteen short years he spent on Earth. He was raised by women, his mother and grandmother, in a time when segregation and hate was the law. However, to the cowards that murdered Emmett Till he was another 'strange fruit', deserving to be cut down!

As Till was about to embark on his trip from Chicago to Mississippi his mother cautioned him about how he should behave 'in front of whites in the South'. Meanwhile, Till, born a freethinker, with the soul of a rebel had imagined things differently. He had envisioned something bigger; an integrated America, even in the Segregated South. His mother later remarked that Till "did not know his own limitations at times". He had brought with him a picture of how things were back in his hometown of South Side Chicago; a picture of blacks and whites living together, he had brought hope.

Emmett Till's crime was that he flirted with Carolyn Bryant, a white woman. He may have touched her hand as he paid for his bubble gum in the grocery store she ran. Till, who was a stutterer was known to whistle to help him pronounce words starting with the letter 'b'. Bryant was so upset at what she thought was a pass at her, that she left the store to retrieve a pistol from her car. Till escaped her wrath, but later faced the wrath of her husband. After all, this account made his crime punishable by death.

Kidnapped, beaten repeatedly, shot and maimed, his remains were found days later in the Tallahassee River swollen and disfigured 'weighted to the fan blade, which was fastened around his neck with barbed wire'. During the five day trial a prosecuting attorney remarked that what "Till did was wrong, but it warranted a spanking, not murder". The suspects, Roy Bryant and his brother J. W. Milam, were acquitted of his murder after the jury in the case deliberated for exactly one hour and seven minutes. The men later admitted to his murder and were never brought to justice.

'Well, what else could we do? He was hopeless. I'm no bully; I never hurt a nigger in my life. I like niggers—in their place—I know how to work 'em. But I just decided it was time a few people got put on notice. As long as I live and can do anything about it, niggers are gonna stay in their place. Niggers ain't gonna vote where I live. If they did, they'd control the government. They ain't gonna go to school with my kids. And when a nigger gets close to mentioning sex with a white woman, he's tired o' livin'. I'm likely to kill him. Me and my folks fought for this country, and we got some rights. I stood there in that shed and listened to that nigger throw that poison at me, and I just made up my mind. 'Chicago boy,' I said, 'I'm tired of 'em sending your kind down here to stir up trouble. Goddam you, I'm going to make an example of you—just so everybody can know how me and my folks stand.'

J. W. Milam, Look magazine, 1956

'If the facts as stated in the Look magazine account of the Till affair are correct, this remains: two adults, armed, in the dark, kidnap a fourteen-year-old boy and take him away to frighten him. Instead of which, the fourteen-year-old boy not only refuses to be frightened, but, unarmed, alone, in the dark, so frightens the two armed adults that they must destroy him.... What are we Mississippians afraid of?'
William Faulkner, "On Fear", 1956

Till's murder, funeral, and the trial that ensued aroused much suspicion of the idea of justice, especially from the media and several religious organizations. His ordeal not only inspired the Civil Rights Movement but also several other important works including the Civil Rights Act of 1957, Langston Hughes' "Mississippi - 1955", Rod Serling's "Noon on Doomsday", James Baldwin's "Blues For Mister Charlie", Bob Dylan's "The Death of Emmett Till", and even later Toni Morrison's "Dreaming Emmett".

Emmett Till's voice deserves to be heard loud and clear in a 21st century America; an America that has backpedalled on her promises and has betrayed her citizenry as the urban youth still lay on the altar as sacrificial lamb. The Emmett Tills of our day are the Trayvon Martins, but why do we continue to allow unjust laws to destroy families and communities? How many mothers will have to weep because of stories we refuse to tell? What would Emmett say from the grave if we could hear him today? Would he shriek in pain like he did in 1955? Would he say 'my murder was in vain'?

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Celestial North Korea

"Heaven's here on earth;
In our faith in humankind
In our respect for what is earthly
In our unfaltering belief in peace and love and understanding." - Tracy ChapmanHeaven's Here On Earth

Heaven has been imagined and re-imagined for centuries by the dreamers and prophets deluded. In the Bible heaven is described as a city where the streets are made of pure gold, where our creator will wipe away all our tears, and the lion will lie down with the lamb, according to one prophet. There will also be multi-winged seraphims and cherubims on every corner, crying to one another 'Holy, holy, holy, is the LORD of hosts: the whole earth is full of his glory'. This sounds like eternal bliss, right?
I don't know about you, but if I had a friend, a parent or a lover that required praise and adoration every single hour of every single day I would extricate myself from their presence. I would think of them as egocentric and maniacal, at the least. Imagine your mother telling you that you MUST constantly thank her for everything she has ever done for you. As much as I love my mother, I would be forced to take her to a mental hospital. But, this is a promise of heaven. Yes, you will get to/have to praise God all day long! Oh, imagine the endless joy!
You will get to walk on golden streets and milk and honey flow eternally, they say, but what's the catch? This will all happen after you die. I don't know about you, but to me this story reeks of suspicion. You are asking me to endure suffering on Earth, with the one life I know I have to reap the possibility of paradise after I die? What if you get there and you don't like it? Can you leave? What of the beauty that is all around us? What if heaven is the joy we feel when children laugh? What if we experience heaven in every moment of ecstasy?
"They say in heaven
There's no husbands and wives
On the day that I show up
They'll be completely out
Of their forgiveness supplies." - Brand New, You Won't Know

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

I Turn The Music Up To Keep Moving

“Without music, life would be a mistake.” ― Friedrich Nietzsche
Can you for a second imagine life without music? I know I couldn't stomach the infinite silence. Music can be many things for different people. For me it has been a way out of my own darkness; music haunts me, yet fills me with wonder. There are hundreds of categories of music and like language music has evolved over time, as more and more genres have been developed. My varied taste in music make artistes like Nina Simone, Radiohead, and Bjork among my top favorites.
Nina Simone, born Eunice Kathleen Waymon, used her music as a voice for civil rights. Nina's style ranges from classical to the blues, from jazz to folk. The "High Priestess of Soul" was equally fluent in R&B, gospel, and pop. Her voice, simultaneously sultry and soaring, soothed the wounds of a bitter era and carried the dream of Dr. Martin Luther King even farther after his death. Some of my favorites from her include, "Don't Let Me Be Misunderstood", "Feeling Good", and "Ne me quitte pas".
Radiohead revolutionized the way I listened to music. When I was introduced to Radiohead in 2007, I was forced to think between the lines and notes, and see what was simmering below the surface. This alternative rock quintet's music is transformative, as they have experimented with disparate sounds and styles since their 1993 debut single, the minimalist to crescendoing 'Creep' to their latest album 'The King of Limbs', which is a study in the exploration of rhythm and textures. Among my favorite Radiohead singles are "Fake Plastic Trees", "Karma Police", "House of Cards", and "Lotus Flower".
The genres that attempt to describe her eclectic work has been Alternative rock, electronica, trip-hop, experimental, avant-garde, ethereal wave, jazz, and post-punk. Yet none of these even come close to defining Björk's music. Her music is raw, passionate, and explosive. Every track is a sacrifice of herself; her blood, sweat and tears. Favorites of mine from Bjork are 'Venus as a Boy', 'Army of Me', 'Pagan Poetry', 'Alarm Call', and 'All is full of Love'.
  
Today, I can say unwaveringly that I am alive because of the music that kept me going. On the darkest, lowest days of my young life these artistes, among countless others, reminded me that there's enough to hold on for. I am a better man because of the music that made me.

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Undefined

"If I didn't define myself for myself, I would be crunched into other people's fantasies for me and eaten alive." - Audre Lorde


self:  O.E. self, seolf, sylf "one's own person, same," "separate, apart"

"Trying to define yourself is like trying to bite your own teeth." [Alan Watts]


To have you define me would be unjust
The business of definition belongs to the defined.
Your book defines me as 'black, but comely'
Your book is mistaken in this regard
I stand silhouetted in the light
I am black AND comely
Unapologetic

Bent,
I am,
Unfurling
Tried;
I stand the test of time
Feminist, writer, freethinker, equality seeker
Are adjectives that attempt to define me
Progressive pragmatic
Introverted excavator
Lucky and cursed
The only person I am better than is who I was yesterday
My sole competition stares back at me in the mirror.

Knocked down
Cut off
Left out
Brooding
I left my blood running
In uncharted waters
I swim

I will compromise, but never surrender
Even though I've tried to give up one too many times
I am
Limitless
Impatient
Unlimited
Enigma,
Unwritten

I am undefined...
"How can I accept a limited definable self when I feel, in me, all possibilities." — Anaïs Nin

 https://suite101.com/deroux-alexander/undefined

Monday, November 11, 2013

Structuralism

"Power is not an institution, and not a structure; neither is it a certain strength we are endowed with; it is the name that one attributes to a complex strategical situation in a particular society." ~ Michel Foucault



Thursday, November 7, 2013

Pure Heroine

“Meow” means “woof” in cat.”  ― George Carlin

Jamaica is a small island nation, the fifth largest in the Caribbean with 2.7 million inhabitants. The indigenous people, the Taíno, called it Xaymaca in Arawakan, meaning the "Land of Wood and Water" or the "Land of Springs". Among other things, Jamaica is famous for it's Reggae music and the highest murder rate in the region. We boast about many popular Jamaicans and the work they have done for the world to see. Marcus Garvey, Bob Marley, Usain Bolt, et al. But too often we overlook the heroes at home who have helped shaped our nation and put aspects of our culture on the map.

Louise Bennett-Coverley, affectionately called Miss Lou, was a Jamaican poet, folklorist, writer, and educator. She wrote and performed her poems and songs in Jamaican Patois or Creole. She was instrumental in giving our "dialect" a face as well as a spine; giving it literary recognition in its own right as a national language, at the heart of the Jamaican poetic tradition.
While the Jamaican upper classes turned up their noses at the local dialect, Miss Lou was adamant that patois was not 'bad English' as many thought. She insisted, against much opposition, that our language is not vulgar and we should take pride in it. Always with a smile and a clap of her hand she gave selflessly to forward Patois' cause.
DUTTY TOUGH
Sun a shine but tings no bright;
Doah pot a bwile, bickle no nuff;
River flood but water scarce, yawl
Rain a fall but dutty tough.

Tings so bad dat nowadays when
Yuh ask smaddy how dem do
Dem fraid yuh tek it tell dem back,
So dem no answer yuh.

No care omuch we dah work fa
Hard-time still een we shut;
We dah fight, Hard-time a beat we,
Dem might raise we wages, but
One poun gawn awn pon we pay, an

We no feel no merriment
For ten poun gawn pon we food
An ten pound pon we rent!
Saltfish gawn up, mackerel gawn up.
Pork en beef gawn up,
An when rice and butter ready
Dem just go pon holiday!

Claht, boot, pin an needle gawn up’
Ice, bread, taxes, water-rate
Kersene ile, gasolene, gawn up;
An de poun devaluate.
De price of bread gawn up so high
Dat we haffi agree
Fi cut we yeye pon bred an all
Tun dumplin refugee

An all dem marga smaddy weh
Dah gwan like fat is sin
All dem-deh weh dah fas wid me
Ah lef dem to dumpling!

Sun a shine an pot a bwile, but
Things no bright, bickle no nuff
Rain a fall, river dah flood, but,
Water scarce and dutty tough

A grateful nation remembers Miss Lou as one of Jamaica's preeminent cultural ambassadors and a heroine in her own right. Her work has inspired generations of Jamaicans, both at home and in the diaspora. Our local dialect is among one of our proudest exports.

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

I Have Decided

"I have decided to stick with love. Hate is too great a burden to bear." - Martin Luther King, Jr.
 
Once upon a time a walked with a load. I had chosen to hate those who hated me. To return malice with malice, an eye for an eye. This was the old me, what I had been taught and had to unlearn. It was the easiest way; for my ego, to feel even, for a false sense of balance.
Some have argued that hate is not real. That the opposite of love is indifference. Some argue that love is not real, not because it is intangible but more than likely because sometime or another they've confused love with lust or infatuation.
While, love and hate are both emotional states of mind that is about as much as they share in common. Hate is for the weak, while love is for the strong. Hate is bred from cowardice, while love is an act of the brave. Love is without condition, but hate is dependent on intolerance and a lack of understanding.
Love is not lust filled with sentimentality as some may think; sappy and emotional. As I grew older, I grew up and gave up on hate, because I have found that love is the ultimate liberator. You walk lighter and with a clear conscience when love is your way. The path may not be easy, but it will always be worth it.

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Unholy Dalliance

“The sad truth about bigotry is that most bigots either don't realize that they are bigots, or they convince themselves that their bigotry is perfectly justified.”  ― Wayne Gerard Trotman

Wake up! In 21st century America you can still get fired for being gay in 29 of these united States. In the land of freedom, what is the source of such hostile bigotry? Who is responsible for sewing the seeds of ignorance and intolerance about homosexuality?


At the root of homophobia in America is the church, and by extension its unholy dalliance with the state. While the bible's view on homosexuality ranges from vague to brutal, Jesus himself never discussed the topic. However, some of his followers are adamant on the issue.
“What's unnatural is homophobia. Homo sapiens is the only species in all of nature that responds with hate to homosexuality.” 
The fact is that homosexuality is not limited to humans. The practice of same-gender sex has been identified in 1,500 animal species. Including the dwarf chimpanzee, one of our closest relatives, where the entire species is bisexual.  The effects of homophobia are glaring and just as horrific as slavery in some parts of the world. In America the effects are just as devastating, but on a smaller scale.
Today, bullying has caused a spike in teen suicide rates. 9 out of 10 LGBT teens have reported being bullied at school within the past year because of their sexual orientation, according to the most recent report on the issue. Schools can legally expel students for being gay. Homes and families are torn apart as a result of children and parents alike 'coming out' in uncertain circumstances.


In a recent Rolling Stone article, Alex Morris chronicles how students of a Christian school in Georgia meet in private, and cower in fear of being exposed 'because if authorities at their school learned they were gay, they would not just be punished, they would be expelled.' Is this the America that the founders envisioned? How can we stem the tide and stop hurting our children?


http://www.lennial.com/how-do-we-deal-with-americas-issue-on-lgbt-bullying/

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Pirate's Plight: Playing the Muse

“When they face desperation... human beings become animals.” ― Dan BrownInferno

Paul Greengrass' new movie, Captain Phillips, features Tom Hanks as a captain and hero, Barkhad Abdi plays the lead pirate and villain. The movie is based on Captain Richard Phillips' 2009 survival after his ship was hijacked by a group of pirates. It is easy to root for the captain in this movie, a family man and hardworking American. But what if this movie were told from the perspective of the main villain? What causes someone to become a pirate off the coast of the horn of Africa?
Abduwali Abdukhadir Muse is the captain of one of two pirate boats chosen by a gang lord to hijack a solitary shipping vessel, the Maersk Alabama. Muse refuses to turn back like the second boat of pirates when Captain Phillips announces that his ship is armed and ready to return fire if they should attack. Muse was undaunted and moved steadily towards his prize. His boat was later dead in the water when the engine quit. The 17 year old however would not. He returned to Somalia even more determined to conquer the Maersk Alabama, a ship at least fifty times the size of his boat.

Captain Phillips is a cinematic masterpiece as well as an exploration into the human condition, even though it does not tell us much about the analysand's daily life in Somalia. We see only briefly the struggle Muse and his crew had to endure to be chosen pirates in a very competitive job market. For breakfast, lunch and dinner, they chew on khat to suppress their appetites.

After Muse successfully boards the ship, he professes his love for America and appeases the distressed Phillips, “Relax, Captain, relax." “No Al Qaeda, no Al Qaeda”. He then explained that this was “Business, just business”, after declaring himself the new captain. Muse's calm demeanor reveals more about his circumstances than we realize. For him, this was as much as about job survival as it was about surviving. His emaciated appearance is telling, that life had been brutal. His seventeen short years had not been kind to him.
Muse justifies his gun touting ways by explaining that he was basically forced into piracy. Illegal fishing by foreign vessels and ships that dumped their toxic waste in the Somalian waters had disrupted the ebb and flow of their livelihood as fishermen. His demand for millions makes it easy for him to turn down Captain Phillips' offer to leave the ship with $30, 000. Muse responds with "I've got bosses." He needed to prove his self worth and later elaborated on his dreams of living in America.
Throughout the film Muse makes an effort to comfort Captain Phillips, who he nicknamed 'Irish', by telling him, “Everything gonna be all right”. It turns out that this was his own way of reassuring himself as well. Later on, Captain Phillips reasons with him that, “There’s got to be something more than being a fisherman and kidnapping people.” Muse only replies, “Maybe in America.” He has endured more in his years than we could ever fathom. We must never underestimate the effect of our actions on others. Depression, destitution and desperation drove Muse and his cronies to the tides of the Arabian Sea. This is the making of a modern day pirate.