How to Glorify Your Enemy

IfeOluwa, one day you will have enemies you wish dead so much you will fantasize about their mashed heads and disgorged eyes under train wrecks. You don’t think that’s possible? You know nothing. You underestimate man’s ability to master the art of stepping on toes and your capacity for hatred.  Anyway, a time will come when you’ll hate them, yet have desires to see them succeed and become legends. I know you don’t believe me. You’re thinking: why will I want my enemy to become a legend? But can you just suspend that disbelief of yours for a moment and hear me out?

History is filled with individuals who owe their immortality to their arch-enemies. As a matter of fact, this seems to be the standard route to being written permanently into the annals of time (whatever that means). A good example–in fact the best example I know–is the story of that carpenter’s son from Nazareth who has eternal dibs on every list of most-influential humans. While chronicling his life and reporting its finer details to the people of Corinth, a lawyer named Paul made this comment: None of the rulers of this age understood it, for if they had, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory.

You see, it can be deduced from that paragraph that the wise course of action for those men to silence the carpenter’s son would have been anything but crucifying him. But they did that, and their mistake offers us the perfect demostration of how to glorify your enemy. There are more examples of similar stories through history. A quick Wikipedia tour of revolutionary movements will show you they thrive best just when the people in power go over the top with their persecution. However, modern examples exist, and these will be easier for us to examine.

CASE 1: Consider the actions of our friends in the USA who wanted to enact revenge on the men who hijacked and turned planes into murderous wrecking balls: they started a war that lasted eight years and transformed the mastermind of the attack from a nobody to an inspiration for bloodthirsty lunatics all over the world (one of such lunatics is tormenting the people of North East Nigeria as you read this). Of course they eventually got their man, but now the world pays for their trigger-happiness in the blood of the most vulnerable.

…chanting Chale! Chale! like the world just became a Ghanaian flea market | original Charlie Chaplin image via Flickr by Tom Margie. Edited by IfeOluwa

CASE 2: Let us take an anecdote that is the converse of the one above to illustrate the universality of this phenomenon. A group of nerdy French men spend their days in obscurity, poking fun at things other people of the world consider sacred, like rambunctious toddlers who derive pleasure by poking the soft spot of a baby’s head with a stick. Only this time, the babies concerned have a history of eliminating people who poke their soft spot. Okay, let’s discard that silly metaphor. But you get my point. Now that the nerdy French men have been martyred, everybody is chanting Chale! Chale! like the world just became a Ghanaian flea market.

I guess my point is this: if you have an enemy you do not wish to succeed, then no matter what you do, do not make him/her/them a matyr.


2 Replies to “How to Glorify Your Enemy”

  1. Food for thought. Looked up the meaning of martyr: a person who is killed because of their religious or other beliefs.
    Well I guess David didn’t kill Goliath because of Goliath’s religious beliefs- was it over territorial integrity?
    In a world of different and sometimes conflicting ideologies, isn’t someone always a martyr? The group of French men are martyrs, but so are the the two men that killed them (and eventually got killed themselves) in some other people’s eyes . . .
    Are you advocating prison sentences then? 😉

    1. Ha! See how I got blindsided by English. *facepalm* Maybe the word I should have used was “Heroes.” But I worried over the use of Hero in my CASE 1.

      As for David and Goliath, at first, those ones remind me of the first stanza in Asa’s Fire on the mountain: they were fighting for another man’s cause. Although, on closer inspection, they both turned it personal; one because he wanted to defend his God, and the other because he was insulted by the size of his opponent. I’m making this up as I go so let me stop before I blaspheme.

      I was hoping no one will notice that I didn’t specify what to do to the enemy. But yeah, I’d take prison sentences over gunning the enemy down. There’s a rose-tinted, idealistic side of me that thinks we can rise above the enemy by not doing to them what they would do to us.


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