Vilifying a foe...

[A piece written in Amitabh Bachchan's blog today. I felt it is worth sharing. Something good to ponder on...]

“I would like to tell you a martial story, perhaps I already have, that will amaze you. It is of Pergamon, an Ancient Greek civilization that existed on the shores of present-day Turkey. This story is known because of a war memorial they left behind. It was to celebrate a victory over invading Celts, and they erected this monument at the very center of their great city, before the temple to their gods. It consisted of a series of bronze figures, struggling against their mortal wounds, their accoutrement of war still in hand. They were beautiful, noble and defiant until their dying end. These figures of war, these warriors, were given the ultimate prize, immortalized in sculpture for the ages, to be held up above the citizenry in remembrance of their greatness.”
“But here is the rub; here is what startles: these great warriors are depictions of the Celts, their enemy in battle, over whom the Pergamenes were soundly victorious.”

“Think upon it, it is extraordinary. These people of Pergamon immortalized their enemy in noble memorial. These people were strong enough, confident enough in their own culture, to remember their own victorious dead by saying, “Our enemy was great and noble and died with dignity. In our victory over them, so we are all the greater, all the nobler, all the more dignified.”

“To vilify one’s foe is to fear them: it ultimately dehumanizes both parties equally. True victory over one’s enemy is to conquer such fear. Fear and wrath: they blind; they betray good judgment; they poison the noble spirit. Pergamon did not make monsters of their enemy to defeat them: these were a people strong enough to acknowledge the dignity and humanity of their sworn foe despite war and death, for they knew that to make monsters of the enemy is to become monstrous oneself. Their victory was all the greater.” 

“The measure of true greatness of an individual, as much as of a country, is to understand this truth. Against such greatness, no adversary can ever win out, no other civilization can overcome such a fatal embrace.”

Awesome read na ! :)

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