November 21, 2000
We love heroes, but...
I read with much interest, both intellectually and emotionally, the
article by Mr. Baniasadi ["Dictators
create heroes"]. The subject of heroes has long been hot in our
literature and culture. Many of our values are tied to this notion and
many of our limitations may be because of it. This debate, therefore,
deserves many articles and maybe even books.
A simple question that I have is what happens to us regular people when
heroes come to our lives? What happens to us when someone comes along
and tries to carry much of the burden that we were supposed to carry?
The burden could be, and most of the time is, emotional, intellectual and
involves some action. Instead of being active participants in the process,
we become hopeful and dependent on that one hero.
There was a recent article in The Iranian which discussed the
generation of Iranian intellectuals and how they are not separated
from the masses. Unfortunately, heroes, no matter how sacred they are,
are catalysts for separating and distancing the masses from the process
and consequently numbing the society.
I confess, they are what everyone wants to be (well, most everyone).
They are adored by the society and for good reasons. They are what we
remember from our childhood bed-time stories. But what happens to the
millions of others when someone comes and wants to carry their pain on
his sole shoulders?
What if we had many many heroes? All active and all fighting for the
same cause, with the same passion of that one hero. History has not seen
this yet. At least not to my knowledge. But maybe that's why we, the
human race, make the same mistake over and over again. We love our heroes.