Empathy and Heroism in 2017
The story of British citizen, Harry Athwal, who despite the impending danger of an unfolding terrorist attack, ran out on the streets of Barcelona to comfort a dying child, caught the attention of the world stage in recent days. When interviewed on “Good Morning Britain”, he recounted how he rushed down to the scene of terror because he knew he had to do something. Despite being cautioned by the local security trying to contain the scene, he was pulled to the unfolding terror at Las Ramblas Boulevard where a badly injured boy lay in the middle of the street. Drawn to him, he tried to comfort the child until the police came and took charge. His empathy in this moment rang true, and his message on “Good Morning Britain” was clear: in today’s unpredictable world it is not about you, but others, and that we all have it in us to do exactly what he did for Australian born, Julian Cadman.
The quality of heroism seen in Harry Athwal’s selfless act, helps explains the international phenomena of “Wonder Woman” which captivated audiences young and old earlier this year. Her enigmatic magical lasso and svelte Amazonian prowess were impressive, but it was her empathy and unabated care for her fellow beings which captured audiences worldwide. In the words of Patty Jenkins who directed this epic movie, “Love. It’s difficult and requires great bravery and acceptance. But to be strong enough to love in the face of darkness is the thing that sets Wonder Woman apart from so many before her.” Different from the rest of the the DC Universe family, “Wonder Woman” represents compassion and fighting for those who cannot with a sincerity and purpose that is enthralling yet honest compared to her super hero contemporaries. Indeed, “Wonder Woman” would have been proud to see the heroism of Harry Athwal in his single acting of stroking the head of a dying boy whom he had never met before that fateful day in Barcelona and changing his life forever.