Rookie Reviewer Elizabeth Lolo grapples with the topic of survival following a talk from the one and only Ray Mears.
The human race has always admired those who defy the odds – individuals who cheat death, oppose tyrants and abandon fear when it is most crippling. It is the quality of endurance that gives birth to an elite class of man; not based on wealth or titles, but on sheer will-power and unbreakable perseverance.
This is one of the many reasons why last night The Town Hall in Birmingham was overflowing with spirited adventurers of all ages. Ray Mears, who is on his ‘Tales of Endurance’ tour wanted to inspire and educate his audiences on the true meaning of survival and the rare human attributes that transcend ordinary civilians into heroes of history. Mears explored stories of men on the verge of death, in the unpredictable wild with little hope, but through their determined, impenetrable mind-sets changed their meagre chances of survival into wholesome certainty.
An intriguing element of the stories was the inspiration behind their persistence. Although the most instinctive part of their endurance was to live; it was also the simplistic components of life they chose to fight for: a chance to dance with a woman, wanting to learn how to drive and the hope of seeing their family members once more. Their unification of determination and humble human desire formed their shields of conviction – they sustained faith in better, prosperous days ahead.
The most striking tale of the evening was of Violette Szabo – a female British special operations executive during the Second World War. Her courage fuelled by the death of her husband and love of her daughter enabled her to defy the oppressive fists of the Nazi regime in occupied France. Although Szabo did not physically survive her treatment at the hands of the concentration camp officers, her information and service to our country contributed significantly to the breakdown of the Third Reich, showing endurance can be metaphysical, elevating beyond our perceptions of life. Her legacy will live on to inspire the numerous generations of the future.
Mears’s tour was an enlightening and exhilarating experience. His aim to inspire was fulfilled and immortalised in his words:
I can, I shall, I will endure
– Ray Mears
Elizabeth Lolo is a young writer/journalist from Birmingham. Her love of arts and culture has influenced her diverse taste in music, film and theatre. Her specialist genres are Jazz and Soul, early and contemporary, as she admires the freedom and passion it represents