Subjective Bravery

Essay by danmenkeUniversity, Bachelor'sA, September 2008

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There was a story in the news a few years ago about Rachel Cory, an American student in Israel, who put herself in a precarious situation. She had decided to stand against the destruction of Palestinian homes by an Israeli defense force. The 23 year old was crushed to death by an Israeli bulldozer. Is it brave or stupid to put yourself between a large piece of war machinery and its intended target? What actually happened to her depends on who you listen to. Some say she was callously run over and then dumped on by the bulldozer's driver. Others say she slipped, fell and was crushed because the driver couldn't see or hear her. Still others have suggested she actually meant to get herself killed. However, unless they can come up with some proof to that end, I think we can safely disregard that theory. Of course, these perceptions have all been filtered by the viewpoints of those involved.

The people she was protesting with think the Israelis meant to kill her, and she's a hero. Meanwhile, the Israelis she was protesting against say it was an accident, and that she was being irresponsible. Everyone's got a story to sell here, and they have all been tweaked to taste. But what makes no sense at all is how she came to be there, in front of that bulldozer, in the first place. That has to either be extreme bravery or extreme stupidity. There is a fine line between bravery and stupidity and it all depends on various factors such as the final outcome of the action at hand, and the point of view from which it is seen, and possibly even the naivety and ignorance of the individual. These factors have nothing to do with the subjects' righteousness. Where...