Editorial: We Can be Heroes
by Kevin Sims
We Can be Heroes
EVERYONE needs heroes – people we admire, look up to and want to be like. My heroes when I was growing up were sportsmen – Kenny Dalglish, the Liverpool and Scotland footballer, and Ian Botham, the flamboyant English cricketer. These were the people I wanted to be like. I was mesmerised by their skills, their strength, their ability to lift themselves to a level ‘ordinary’ sportsmen could only dream about.
As I got older, musicians became heroes – Paul McCartney, Elvis Costello and Kate Bush took their places in my heart, on my CD player and, in poster form, often on my walls.
And what of today? Well, I’d probably look at people who have influenced me – my grandparents, for instance – or people whose deeds I admire, those who stand up for what they believe in. My heroes can change as quickly as the news stories they feature in.
Of course, some may say there’s a flaw in my thinking. The people I have looked up to may have been skilful, admirable, compassionate and inflentual but they haven’t necessarily been ‘heroes’. Most dictionaries seem to agree that a true hero is one who shows tremendous courage in the face of great danger.
Which brings me to this special issue of All the World.
Whatever your thoughts on the rights or wrongs of the war in Iraq, what cannot be denied is that many Iraqis were left in terrible conditions and that someone needed to help.
Through this magazine you will discover how members of The Salvation Army and the Iraqis they worked alongside became that ‘someone’ to thousands of suffering people. The team members would say they did all they could to stay safe but the casualty figures leave no doubt that Iraq can be a very dangerous place to work, as they would have been aware.
A senior member of the Iraqi team, writing about his experiences with The Salvation Army, listed every Salvationist he remembered working with, concluding that he apologised if he had left out ‘the names of the other heroes’.
Look through this magazine and you see more than people who are doing their jobs. What you will read about are stories of heroism in its truest sense. There are stories of heroes – from Iraq and from several other countries – who, showing courage in the face of danger, brought hope and love to a suffering nation.
Some of those people are still facing danger because of their links to a West-based organisation, which is why the Iraqi co-workers who continue what The Salvation Army started are not named in full. For them the heroic struggle goes on. They, like the members of The Salvation Army who became their colleagues and friends, deserve our admiration and thanks – and our prayers.
To find out how to support the ongoing work in Iraq contact International Emergency Services at the same address as the All the World Editorial Office (see below) or send an email to IHQ-Emergency@salvationarmy.org