Heroes and Villains

I heard of a man who died fighting for the Kurdish Militia in Syria. His death was portrayed as heroic, but death in battle is never heroic, merely messy and squalid. I heard of a man, said to have been quiet and bullied when young who specialises now in executing by beheading people whose only purpose in being executed is to shock and terrify those watching.
For some the man is a villain, but for others a hero.
Women make the choice; The “with it or on it” (ἢ τὰν ἢ ἐπὶ τᾶς) taunt of the Spartan womenfolk to their men before they went to war meaning come back carrying their shields, or dead being carried on their shields. The women, usually mothers, gave the choice to their children of dying like a hero or living like a villain.

Eventually every fighter will die or come home or find a place that becomes their home and the places that are home will be full of heroes and villains who will be the same people viewed with different eyes.
The old song comes to mind
“Once at night the cotillion squared the fight
And she was right in the rain of the bullets that eventually brought her down
But she’s still dancing in the night
Unafraid of what a dude will do in a town full of heroes and villains”.

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