Monday, January 24, 2005

Last in the CH4 (UK) series Sunday, 23 January, 2005: Cocaine, mighty impressive if only for the honest woman, Maria Cristina Chirolla, [and other unnamed Colombians] willing to take on the task of dealing with the drug barons of her country, Colombia, even if, as she willingly admitted on screen, it meant, almost inevitably, her death at their hands.

Then, serependipitously, in a search for defintions of freedom, the Wikipedia homepage pinpointing the life of Witold Pileckia Pole of the Second World war era, who refused to take it lying down.

Exemplars would be of greater educational use than any amount of "on the one hand, one the other" in our secondary schools. The death of millions in the Holocaust, by implication, means the innocent. To me, the indescribable tragedy is the loss, as in the world wars, of potential talent: of people like these two who might have graced our world if not for a spasm of nihilistic madness. Though many like Pilecki - and now, this fine woman, Chirolla - refused to turn away, the vast majority shut eyes and blocked ears in order to make sure they saved themselves. What would we have done in their place? The test is to imagine whether we might have been heroes in the trenches of the Somme, or sat quacking in our boots, defeated, waiting to die.

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