The nature of heroism

by mollykl

In the British Library, years ago, there was an exhibition called “1000 years of English literature”. Part of it was a recording of a conversation between Raymond Chandler and Ian Fleming talking about the nature of the hero. Basically it was the two of them arguing, “no YOUR creation was a hero….no YOURS was.” And I loved it, because, well, I love James Bond and Philip Marlowe.

Miep Gies died on monday at the age of 100. She was the secretary who helped hide Anne Frank’s family, bring them food and try to keep them from discovery. She always insisted that she wasn’t a hero, and that she only helped one family, while others helped many more.

In fact, she once said, “Imagine that young people would grow up with the feeling that you have to be a hero to do your human duty. I am afraid that nobody would ever help other people, because who is a hero? I was not.”

I beg to differ. Chandler asserted that Bond was a hero because he risked his life and sacrificed his moral center for the good of Queen and country. He killed because his job demanded it, and didn’t give it a second thought.

Miep Gies did much more. Only one family? So she only tried to save one family?

My dear, that’s the true nature of a hero. Rest in peace.