Be More Like Kenshin|
Rurouni Kenshin is perhaps one of the finest Anime series ever created. Ok, ok... no doubt some people will disagree with me. I won't waste this space getting into *that* debate. However, during this difficult time in a world that is dealing with horrific terrorist attacks, perhaps there are many positive lessons in the Rurouni Kenshin TV series from which we all could benefit.
Kenshin himself is a worthy figure to emulate. His heart is bursting with care for his fellow man and he has a strong sense of duty to help people in need. We've seen a lot of that in the wake of this man-made catastrophe; from rescue workers swarming onto the disaster scenes, people rushing to the Red Cross to donate blood, and people holding vigils and prayer services desparate to do something to help. It's one thing to see these ideals embodied in an Anime, it's a whole 'nother experience to witness the real life outpouring of kindness around you. It makes me proud to be an American, and a human being.
Himura Kenshin wasn't always such a beautiful person. That's what makes him so powerful. During the revolutionary war that brought about the Meiji era, Kenshin was the most fearless assassin on the battlefield. Where he trod, people died. But he realized something important. No matter how many people died, you could not kill your way to true change. The change had to start in the hearts and minds of the people. So he just walked away, gave it all up and became a rurouni (wanderer) using a reversed-blade sakaba sword. The terrorists whose cowardly attack took innocent lives would do well to realize that too. You can't bring down America or democracy by simply killing enough people. The spirit of Democracy is strong in the hearts and minds of the people and will only grow stronger in the wake of these cowardly attacks.
The path Kenshin chose to follow was a hard one. He found himself handicapped time and time again by his ideals against dirty adversaries who did not care who they stepped on to acheive their goals. Because he lived his own message, Kenshin was able to bring new hope to countless people whose path he crossed. He didn't see people as obstacles in the path of his goal, but rather stopped to share his experiences with them. When he ran into people in villages who were living in fear and obedience to those terrorizing them, his message was: Do what it takes to get stronger, protect yourself and your ideals, but never become like the people who are using you. Never.
Kenshin saved people, both weak and "bad." He saw the big picture but he also saw the individuals. Let us all pray and hope that we as Americans and our government will respond to these cowardly terrorist attacks in a similar way. We must all do our best to stand up to whoever thinks of committing these acts and show them that we will not live our lives in terror. But we can't let our response put us on equal footing with the terrorists. Massive killings encompassing innocent people in order to strike at the terrorists will not be planting the seeds of change in the people's hearts. We need to see these people too, and take a moment to spread our message. We need to be more like Kenshin.
Sunday, September 16, 2001