Scattered across the pages of our History, all through time heroes have been made. The word hero itself originates from the Greek ‘Heros’ meaning ‘warrior’ and ‘protector’.

Greek mythology is a good place to start.  Take Achilles, as famous a hero as any other. Even to date, he’s known as one of the best pound-for-pound fighters the world has ever known, even with a dodgy heel.

The French haven’t always run, they have their patron saint in Joan of Arc. A Christian teenage girl who impossibly united a nation against the tyrannical English, impassioned by the visions she dreamt narrated by her God. And, understandably, she was mercifully led to end her life by being burned alive at only nineteen.

The Scottish hold reverence to the great William Wallace. Leader of the uprising against the notorious Edward ‘Longshanks’ – King of England in the latter part of the 13th century to the beginnings of the 14th – uniting his kinsman into battle against impossible odds, and coming out victorious. Until the inevitable ending, of Wallace etching his place into the book of time by being captured and publicly executed in a truly horrific manner.

How about the English themselves? Who better than Sir Francis Drake – a true English hero. Among his accomplishments, he became the first to circumnavigate the globe and delighted Queen Elizabeth in the return of exotic items and spices not seen before, as well as gold plundered from the Spanish. Of course, that’s where his fame derives from. To the Spanish he was known as El Draque, ‘Francis the Dragon’. After provoking the Spanish into war, he then famously defended our shores from the great Spanish Armada. With a little help from our always unforgiving English weather.

This is just to touch the sides. There are countless ‘heroes’ from many nations across the world.

But just think: what is it that makes these people heroes? Sure, they make a great bedtime story to put the kids to sleep and make for a fascinating History lesson, but has society really evolved if it is glorifying a person based on personal success at warcraft, killing and murder? You only have to take a look at the daily news sheets to find a new hero every week from Afghanistan and Iraq. But are they really heroes?

Where’s the justification in glorifying someone for snuffing out the existence of another. People are very quick to judge the plight of suicide bombers, as they themselves are praised by their brethren for achieving the highest honour in the eradication of infidels and non-believers, but in essence,  isn’t the British media essentially doing the same thing? Politics in the guise of Patriotism. Scores of teenagers are leaving school, brainwashed into believing that it’s their duty to kill in order to be praised. I don’t know what’s worse: ‘achieving’ a medal for war exploits, or becoming a true national hero praised by the national media, shrouded in the British flag. Sadly, over a coffin.

I for one, do not want to stand up and be counted.


8 responses to this post.

  1. I thought of The Shield of Achilles by W. H. Auden when I read this post.

    But I think this speaks more of how warmongering and death overcome us:

    Only thou livest.
    Centuries wheel and pass,
    And generations wither into dust;
    Royalty is the vulgar food of rust,
    Valor and fame, their days be as the grass;
    What of today?  vanitas, vanitas … 

    These treasures of rare love and costing lust
    Shall the tomorrow reckon mold and must,
    Ere, stricken of time, itself shall cry alas.
    Sole sits majestic Death, high lord of change;
    And Life, a little pinch of frankincense,
    Sweetens the certain passing … from some sty
    Leers even now the immanent face strange, 

    That leaned upon immortal battlements
    To watch the beautiful young heroes die.
~ E. E. Cummings


  2. A million people can live in peace, but if ten people are intent on causing a disturbance they can cause civil war. Without sounding too corny, love takes a lot more effort than hate, and hate can indeed spring from love, whilst the opposite is almost never true. Hatred is easier to act upon, destruction simpler than creation, vengeance more seized than forgiveness.

    To sum up my point, i feel that hatred is a manifestation of weakness, and human nature seems to gravitate towards weakness all too often. Warfare not only brings out the very worst in human nature, but drags those who only would profess love to feel hate.


    • Excellent insight, I completely agree. It’s almost human-nature to side with hatred. Too many people are culpable to hateful incitements and follow hatreds lead. How many German’s killed a Jew in WW2 because of one mans hateful attitude. No doubt a lot of those men were peaceful before as well.

      I feel unless we evolve morally as a race, there won’t be a race left.


  3. Heroes, whether or not the story is true or not or how much fabrication is put into it, give us something to aspire to. That’s why you rarely see a hero’s downsides. Whether you agree with them or not later in life, heroes are, at least for the young and the motivated, necessary; they show us what we can become, coming from humble backgrounds with nigh a chance of success.


    • My point is not that heroes shouldn’t be glorified. No doubt we all have our heroes in music, medicine and life stories. What I personally don’t think is a good example to anyone is glorifying people that kill as heroes. When the time comes, I don’t want my son or daughter thinking that killing someone can lead to glory from their nation. That isn’t a role model to me.

      Thanks for your coment, much appreciated.

      All the best, Mike.


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