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  • Writer's pictureNadine Selem

What is a hero?

Nadine defines the term "hero" in her own words.

When you think of a hero what comes to mind? Is your mind racing to someone with extraordinary skills or abilities?

In this article, we will explore heroes and extraordinary superheroes, and answer questions such as who are heroes, and what is the true meaning of the word hero?

Whether formulated from a real origin or a figment of imagination altogether, the hero remains one: he or she is able to do a job that no one else can do, and is brave in times of peril. A hero in our minds decides to use advantages for the good of others.

However, there are many examples for the definition of hero which are far from extraordinary.

In Egypt throughout the ages and times, there have always been two histories, a written history, and another oral or popular history. The history of Abu Zayd Al-Hilali, for example, discusses the 11th century hero and leader of a tribe, who moved his tribe to another region to accomplish religious feats. He is an example of a popular hero in Egypt, made by the dreams of the poor and simple, and they place all their hopes in him so that he will eliminate injustice. The popular heroes in Egypt and their stories are passed down orally, so Abu Zayd was able to develop his story through successive generations, according to a literary phenomenon that was unique to popular literature alone.

In the Egyptian countryside, the Rababah poet sits every night in front of a crowd, playing his instrument and chanting with his folk epics, from Abu Zayd al-Hilali, to Ali al-Zaybak, to Adham al-Sharqawi. All of these are the popular heroes of Egypt who were passed down by tongues from generation to generation.

Moving on from Egyptian tales, America has its own set of ordinary heroes. A football player can be an instant hero if he scores a goal in the last minute, because with his goal, his team won and thousands of fans were happy. Another example of a hero is a soldier, when he or she carries injured comrades for kilometers. Regardless of the success of a soldier or the country he or she is from, a soldier is a hero.

Obviously, we love heroes, we admire them, and we love being like them, regardless of appearances. Many superheroes defined the term hero as a mythical person, often with exceptional qualities, powers or abilities. These heroes also have immense courage and bravery. Even though these fictitious models are a strong indication that people always yearn for heroism, not all heroes need powers, or supernatural abilities. A hero is anyone that helps others in times of peril, takes brave action, and only thinks of the best for others. Regardless of whether heroes are mythical or just real people, heroes make immeasurable impacts on the goodwill of our society.


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