Stories of national heroes who defy the imperial power of their oppressors account for some of the great books in our literature. In ancient times a beautiful young Jewess living in the Persian diaspora, Esther, saved her people from a planned genocide and turned the tables on her chief persecutor, Haman, the sinister vizier of King Ahasuerus. The world got the biblical Book of Esther, and little Jewish kids got a really fun holiday, Purim. Or in more recent times how about two Chechan brothers willing to take on the might of Russia, with the one desperately carrying on even after the other is slain. That’s the stuff of historical novels, and in particular Tolstoy’s last novel--Hadji Murat, a wonderful read and in retrospect a timely meditation on the complicated realities of “multiculturalism,” and the difficulties of finding harmony in cultural “diversity”.
The drama of last week’s blog subject (the Boston Marathon bombing) was still lively for several days following the post, and like probably too many other people I spent some hours last Friday following the intense search for a 'teen-aged terrorist who had brought a great city to lock-down and, incidentally, kept a dear friend from visiting us from Boston.
R. Because there is none other that fighteth for us, but only thou, O God