Only the good die young
A friend of mine –he's a Colombian politician in a small town- receives frequent death threats. Last year he denounced the paramilitaries for skimming a percentage off public contracts, and there’s a strong chance that he'll now be murdered (they've already tried once). He thinks they might try to abduct him.
I'm going to order him a copy of On Becoming Fearless by Arianna Huffington, in the hope that it will inspire him as much as it has inspired American women. It isn't easy being a multi-millionaire in California, and Arianna has shown real courage in standing up against the detentions and disappearances that go on in Beverly Hills, not to mention the gossip columnists, intimidated by the idea of a strong, independent woman.
This is not to say Ariana Huffington hasn't got any grit or that she hasn't achieved anything, but Hutton's rumination is a reminder that there are different degrees and even kinds of fearlessness. Sometimes a public can recognize only the virtues and vices that it knows, forgetting that others exist, and thereby losing its sense of perspective. Recently the words "genocide", "holocaust" and even "torture" have rolled too easily off the tongue. And while no one denies that the words are often applied to unpleasant and tragic events, their casual use somehow diminishes and denigrates the genuine massacre of millions, the actual extermination of a race, and the barbaric deaths of hostages at Jihadi slaughterhouses. Finally, we lose the name for what Hutton's Columbian small-town friend must daily show, what happened in Belsen long ago and what occurs today in the secret police basements of tyrannies. We lose the name, and finally, the memory. It is said that cowards die a thousand times and heroes but once; yet this is wrong. Cowards live a thousand times and the heroes but never when we have erased the distinction between them.