Mon | Oct 21, 2019

Hello Mi Neighbour | Acts of heroism

Published:Wednesday | October 9, 2019 | 12:14 AM

Hello, mi neighbour! Is there anything that you would not do in the face of danger for the preservation your life? Tough question? Not for the soldier who goes to war, though. He will not ‘drop his weapon and flee’ for personal preservation. Under command, his oath and military discipline compel him to advance into impending danger, even if it means fighting to the death for the security of his country. But we are different.

To expose oneself to danger by refusing to carry out an action, even under threat, is another matter. Have you read about the three Hebrews of ancient times who refused to bow before a golden image, even though the penalty for not doing so was death in a fiery furnace? The outcome was powerful! We can talk about that some other time.

People who endanger their lives by their do-or-die attitude, voluntarily or instinctively, are usually motivated by a cause greater than themselves. Our national heroes, viewed as unforgettable symbols of Jamaica’s enduring strength, are a case in point. Four of them – George William Gordon, Paul Bogle, Sam Sharpe and Nanny – died for championing the cause of blacks in Jamaica. Were they suicidal? No! They were courageous and unselfish enough to die for a worthy cause. Their stories chronicled.

SELF-SACRIFICE

Though self-preservation is a natural human tendency, we may however find a non-swimmer instinctively jumping into the water to save a drowning child, etc., without calculating the risk. That’s also part of being human.

Too numerous to count are stories of great self-sacrifice of people who showed immense bravery to save the lives of others. About seven years ago, Kevin Roberts of West Virginia, USA, lost his life while trying to save four young people from drowning in their home town. Fortunately, someone else saved the young men.

In another incident, Michael Wayne Pirie of Florida, at age 18, died of hypothermia and other complications while trying to save another university student who became entangled in ropes while they were exploring a cave.

Although many stories have emerged of individuals sacrificing their lives for others, there are not many about whole villages selflessly risking their own lives to save others. During the 17th Century, the village of Eyam in Derbyshire, England, was subjected to the bubonic plague. With 42 villagers dying from the disease, the rest of them wanted to flee to other villages.

However, to prevent the Black Death from spreading to these villages, they decided to remain in their village as a means of quarantining the plague.

Unfortunately, in little over a year, those villagers died from the plague, thus ensuring that their neighbours didn’t suffer the same fate. What an example of “doing unto others as you would want them to do unto you”!

Making great sacrifices, or even the ultimate sacrifice, is never an easy task, but if it’s for a greater good, your reward will be great, if not here, in the hereafter.

As you reflect on the above, please make a small sacrifice for someone on the list below.

THANKS TO NEIGHBOURS

• Thanks to Ann-marie for helping cancer patient Brenda with clothing to start a business.

• John for helping a hungry neighbour in St Catherine with food.

• Everybody’s Pharmacy for an act of kindness – a neighbour is relieved and happy!

NEIGHBOURS’ REQUESTS

• Elderly neighbour asking for help to start a little buying-and-selling business to help maintain herself – needs food.

• Neighbour asking for a second-hand freezer to help generate a income to send his child to school.

• Neighbour, son is attending high school and badly in need of a pair of size seven shoes.

• Sister Carmen, St Catherine, asking for a stove.

• Neighbour’s, Kingston, asking for clothing for 16-year-old and adult females – also sizes seven and eight shoes.

To help, please call Silton Townsend at 334-8165 or 884-3866, or deposit to acct #351 044 276 NCB. Alternatively, send donations to Hello Neighbour C/o 53 Half-Way Tree Road, Kingston 10. Paypal/credit card email: zicron22@yahoo.com. Contact email: helloneighbour@yahoo.com. Visit hellomineighbourja.blogspot.com. Mr Townsend exclusively manages the collections and distributions mentioned in this column and is neither an employee nor agent of The Gleaner.