There’s a minor kerfluffle on the blogs about the BBC refusing to air a film about a heroic medic who served in Iraq.

For the BBC, however, his story is “too positive” about the conflict.The corporation has cancelled the commission for a 90-minute drama about Britain’s youngest surviving Victoria Cross hero because it feared it would alienate members of the audience opposed to the war in Iraq.

It seems a little hypocritical since the BBC News division actually had a correspondent traveling with the Taleban and posting breathless accounts of their heroism…and whose headlines tend to use the word “dead” when civilians are targeted by terrorist bombs, but uses “civilian casualties” when coalition troops are targeting those making bombs or are part of the Sadr death squads. Sigh.

Yet the failure to be willing to air a film about heroism suggests more than the usual press bias and the lack of spine in the elitist BBC culture that Thatcherites bemoan. Here is a photo of Pte. Beharry.
In a multicultural UK where the elites tend to run the media, is part of the hesitation to make a heroic story because the hero of the episode is not someone with the “double name” that bespeaks of elite origin, but an immigrant from the Carribean?

You see, Johnson Beharry is from Granada, and an immigrant. And he was not “seduced” into joining the army: he had to try twice before they accepted him.

Here is his story:

Over the course of two engagements on 1 May and 11 June 2004 he demonstrated what this really meant. On both occasions despite repeatedly facing the real possibility of death he acted in a way designed primarily to preserve the lives of his colleagues.    Under intense fire on both occasions he was able not just to save the lives of his commanding officer and colleagues but avoid greater casualties amongst his fellow soldiers by disabling and isolating his ammunition laded Warrior vehicle that was on fire.

What comes through time and time again in his own recollection of what he did in the first engagement (he has no memory of the second) is that he was prepared to die to save others. Heroes are made of stuff that others feel sure they themselves are not.

During the second engagement Johnson Beharry suffered very serious head injuries.  So bad were they that he was left in a coma and his doctors were unsure of whether he could survive.

The mark of the man though is that he is not proud for himself when he wears his Victoria Cross, but happy at the thought that the medal signifies that the colleagues he saved are fit and well because of what he did.

Ah yes, stiff upper lip and all that.

Like my family members who are US immigrants and who value the ideals of our adopted country, so too it seems to be the UK immigrants who might remind the collapsing institutions of the UK what it really means to be British.


Nancy Reyes is a retired physician living in the rural Philippines with her husband. Her webpage is Finest Kind Clinic and Fishmarket.

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