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Wanted: a Hero

Niles Reddick

 

When Andrea Thomas (played by Joanna Cameron) dug up the Tutmose amulet in the Egyptian desert and put it on, she had supernatural powers of Isis. The 1970s television series filled us with excitement and imagination. The sound of the acronym ISIS now conjures scenes of misguided humans wreaking havoc on a postmodern world that’s no better than its past.

Whether victims in Paris, Turkey, California, Florida, or London, they were all spotlighted on television and I watched from the comfort of my living room, those scenes leaving me uneasy and uncomfortable. Feelings of paranoia washed over me and made me imagine more: bridges being blown to bits, restaurant killings, and football stadium bombs. I thought twice about going to church and wondered if the doors were locked or if random killers could walk in and spray the crowd with machine gun bullets.

I imagined terrorists meeting Lucifer in the afterlife at the gates of hell and explaining to them in a calm manner that they had their translations wrong—that the seventy-two virgins were really seventy-two raisins—that a man had written the words they believed—that God was a god of love—that forgiveness meant more than revenge, though he, Lucifer, was appreciative they’d sided with him, as most had through time.

I recalled hearing former President Jimmy Carter offering a lesson at the rural Baptist church in Plains, Georgia to the crowd of a couple of hundred from all over the world and wondered why it never made headline news. President Carter had said the reason Yasser Arafat and Menachem Begin had finally agreed to peace at Camp David was because he had turned to the ancient story of Abraham and his sons Isaac and Ishmael by different women—how Abraham and Isaac were fathers in Judaism and Christianity and Ishmael a father in Islam. Carter continued to say how our shared humanity had more in common than differences then and even today. I had goosebumps then at the power of his simple lesson and felt this should be the news of the day.

I don’t know how to stop the violence or how to convince a radical to change his mind. I guess even our highest elected officials (Democrats and Republicans) don’t know, and even if they did, they’d get bogged down in bureaucracy. I wish Carter, or someone, would intervene. I would even like to pretend we could get a super hero television character like Isis, Shazam, or Superman to intervene. It doesn’t seem like it should be that difficult.

 

 

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