Soundings: Season 4 Episode 7

Michael Scott Moore

On being held hostage by Somali pirates, the power of optimism, his first phone call, sanity and remembrance, anger, and forgiveness.

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Journalist and author Michael Scott Moore’s interest in piracy emerged from research conducted for his first novel, 2010’s Sweetness and Blood, which traces the history and spread of surfing from pre-colonial Hawaii to the rest of the world. His interest in the issue spiked when a trial of ten Somali pirates began in Germany in 2010—the first time in 400 years that pirates had appeared in a European court. As the trial ran on, Moore became set on researching piracy outside the confines of a western judicial system, leading him to travel to Somalia in 2011, funded by a crisis reporting grant provided by the Pulitzer Foundation. In January of 2012, he was taken hostage by a local pirate group in Galkayo, and remained captive for more than two years. In this episode, Moore talks with Jamie Brisick about the devolution of hope into fatalism, the importance of remembering trauma, stoicism, his memoir The Desert and the Sea (2018), and learning to live with what you have. 

Produced by Jonathan Shifflett.
Music by Farmer Dave & the Wizards of the West.

Feature image by AP Photo/Chris Pizzello.