LEGEND has it that a woman named Pandora in the Greek mythology had a box and out of her curiosity, she let out everything evil kept in it. But things were going to be alright as hope is still kept inside the box. Such folklore may be the best way in old ages to motivate people to keep going when the going gets tough. But perhaps not many modern people believe in it any longer.
So the task has to be undertaken by modern novelists, as it seems. J. K Rowling once said that she created Harry Potter because she wanted a boy who – despite his damage and flaws and fragility – continues to battle against the more mighty Voldermort. Heroism draws her admiration as I saw her on the family-tree documentary of “Who Do You Think You Are?”. On it, she cried as she found out her maternal grandfather who was French and an unexperienced soldier at war had managed to kill some German soldiers to defend their territory. It was a moment of discovery that made her drench in pools of tears.
That is hope and heroicism with good and happy endings. Harry Potter finally wins over Voldermort after all, somehow, as she makes sure of it (because no readers want a book with an easily murdered protagonist).
But sometimes such heroism is much too surreal or even too unreal. Admirable heroism and abundant hope in reality most of the time have to succumb to their opponents. They have to get down in their knees and get beheaded brutally like John Foley, that war journalist with an unfitting end of life.
While I was browsing for my source of writing inspiration, something nudged me to get to this webpage. And then I realized that January 17 is now named Hope’s Day.
So what’s special about the date anyway? It’s the birthday of the conjoined twin sisters from Iran, Ladan and Laleh Bijani, who had been so brave to encourage themselves to try a highly complex surgical procedure to separate their joined heads – and brains. The fact that their brains were also closely rooted with each other had made the surgery named Operation Hope end tragically. It was announced that they died on July 8, 2003 at the age of 29 (BBC). They exactly knew the surgery was going to be tough and rough. It lasted not for hours but days. Around the clock.
I wish I had that insurmountable valor. They might have scared as well but they kept continuing anyway. And the death is not a defeat itself. It’s a struggle to clench faithfully to the idea of “either now or nothing at all” or staying in the comfort area of “let’s stay here”.
To live in such under such a condition is another form of bravery itself. However, to decide not to live under it any longer takes not only bravery but also confidence and preparedness of the worst scenarios, which may also be construed as history for posterity. (*)