Dear Aunt Sophie,
I am very unhappy. They are saying about me that I am nothing but a boy. It is not true. I am a man. Your government calls me pirate. I am not sure what that is so I do not know if it is true, but I know I am a man.
I am prisoner of your government. Your soldiers killed my friends. I should have died on the boat with them. For me to die in your prison will be an indignity.
Your government says it will help me but this is lie. It locks me in its prison and then lets someone help me? It is surely a trick. This helper – I do not understand why sometimes he is called lawyer and sometimes attorney – he says at trial I will wear clothes like his but they will be too big. He says this will help me. He says I must look like boy so jury will pity me and I will “get off” or go for only a short time to prison where I will have good food and learn “trade”. Trade is when we hold big boat until we are paid. That is trade. I do not understand this other trade. So what they say cannot be true.
They cannot make me look younger and smaller. It is an insult. I am biggest man in my village. I drive Mercedes. Do they not understand? In my village they will see trial and laugh at me. No! I will not be boy again.
I do not like my new life. I no longer know what to expect. Before, I knew every day exactly what I would do. I would sail with friends on boat with guns. We would capture big boats. How we laughed about that! The big boats were nothing before our might. We would scare men with our guns and they would do what we say. There would be a time of waiting and then we would be paid. No one would be killed. It was predictable. No stress. Now I do not know what to expect. I am very unhappy.
Your prison has good food. Maybe I will grow taller from the food. But I miss my mother. Mr. Lawyer says she can not stay in the prison with me. If I must stay here will there be virgins?
Cheer up. You’re in good hands. By the time your lawyer is finished the world will have learned that piracy is just one way of making a living, better than some, not as good as others.
In our legal system state of mind is important. Your lawyer will explain that the United States forced you into piracy (although he won’t use that word – instead he’ll say you were engaging in unorthodox maritime activities). He’ll argue that you became a pi – uh, unconventional nautical entrepreneur because Bush knew you would not be able to bear the thought of big ships filled with goods for Wal-mart defiling the waters near your idyllic country.
Alternatively he’ll argue that you were desperate to protect yourself from the religious right. By exposing the fact that Christians are not forbidden to own stock he’ll make the case that Pat Robertson forces people all over the world to do things they don’t want to do, like going to Starbucks. (If he’s really good he’ll manage to hang the Spanish Inquisition on Karl Rove.)
It’s horrible to think that America has been getting away with this sort of thing for more than two thousand years. Its most recent diabolical project (conceived by Republicans) was to melt the glaciers and inundate southern Florida so it wouldn’t have to provide medical care for all the elderly Democrats who live there.
While your life may seem unpredictable at the moment, it isn’t, really. In fact it is very predictable. After your trial you will move to Minneapolis where you’ll learn to speak English well enough not to require an interpreter when giving interviews. You’ll meet Michael Moore who will turn your life story into a movie. You should demand to play yourself in this movie (be sure to get a good agent). You’ll be feted at Cannes and your biopic will probably win an Oscar as well. Play yourself convincingly and you may even get best actor. If you attend the academy awards lose the Mercedes, though - your new playmates speak only to Prius people.
And this is just the beginning. Since your story will spur the United States to better relations with unconventional aquatic careerists you’ll be nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize - and you will win.
Listen to your lawyer. As soon as you graduate from rehab for your khat addiction the world is your oyster.
Good luck and God bless.