Where are our heroes? PDF Print E-mail
Thursday, 06 November 2014 13:23



The word “hero” has taken on a different level of meaning from the time when I first learned the word.  At the time  Jose Rizal epitomized the meaning of the word for people of my generation:  a hero was/is someone who did something great for the country for which he ( there were women too, of course) would always be remembered.

Over the years the word “hero” took on different shades of meaning. There were our comic book heroes – Batman, Superman, the Green Hornet and others of their ilk. There were our movie heroes – the cowboy in the white hat, the soldier who took on and finished off a battalion of enemies as Rambo did.

I suppose the  hero was our vicarious security blanket, to give us hope when into our lives would enter a sense of dread and we had to comfort ourselves that there will be someone who will rescue us from the peril facing us. Not very many readers will be old enough to remember as I do the move “High Noon” with Gary Cooper the only one brave enough to face the feared gunman, the cowboy in the black hat.

Today we often come across the word hero in a more prosaic meaning. Not bad,  but hardly the kind to prod us to heights of inspiration. And yet perhaps this is what we need. CNN refers to its annual list of heroes as ordinary, unheralded people who are changing the world or simply their own communities in simple but meaningful ways. Perhaps in the way that Mother Teresa of Calcutta meant when she said  “We cannot all do great things but we can all do small things with great love. “

What has come to my mind in the past few days are the “Ebola warriors”. It must  take a very high level of altruism to continue to work taking care of those affected with the Ebola virus, especially in the very poor countries of Africa which have been hit with a tremendously high incidence of the disease. For some it is particularly suicidal to do so knowing that the mortality rate of the disease is almost 50%, something like even chance that when one is exposed one can die or survive.

It is very humbling to think of these health workers continuing their work under the circumstances in their particular areas: the facilities are poor at best, the pay must be bad ( knowing that these are poor countries) and the risks are very high. God bless all of them.

It is also very frustrating to think that in our own country, many who are in government positions wind up as the very opposite of what a hero is. The officials who start out as “anti-corruption” fighters and then end up as lords and masters of haciendas with resort-type facilities. The police officer who lands in the front page of the newspaper for raping right there in his own office one of those arrested for a crime.

We can go on citing other examples with just minor variations.

Where are our heroes?