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27/08/2016

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Theo Trost

What do you make of these lines:

Captain and kings
In the ships hold
They came to collect
Silver and gold
Silver and gold

There's a poem by Brendan Behan called "The Captains and the Kings" that talks of the "white man's burden" in Kenya and elsewhere, mentioning Belfast among the loci of exploitation resulting from British, that is to say English, imperialism. At this moment in the song, are the "captains and kings" the exploiters or the exploited? Is this perhaps a reference to the slave trade? How do you see it working in relation to the subsequent reference to captains and kings, in this latter context associated with "navy blue uniforms"? [For Behan: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Rv_lIGJRtZU]

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