Some time ago I watched a BBC documentary on Moreno Ocampo, who was the Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court in The Hague at the time.
The documentary emphasised Moreno Ocampo’s loneliness facing his titanic task: bringing global justice to this world. He was shown walking alone at night, making his way home after an exhausting day, alone in his flat eating a frugal breakfast without a trace of another human being.
He was shown as a man devoted to a sole cause, and this cause deserved all of his effort.
It surprised me that the documentary followed this narrative of the lonely hero to show the personality and strength of the main character. What about the other people working in the same building and for the same cause? What about those around the globe contributing to global justice, like Scilla Elworthy, who set up the Oxford Research Group in her kitchen and went on to develop influential work in the field of peace studies?
The lonely hero isn’t the only possible narrative for doing work that matters.
It’s possible to fight injustice or create a meaningful business and to have a fulfilling life at the same time.
Insisting that in order to do your task you need to have no ties and no support is a narrative that is not real. We all thrive when we connect. A hero’s duties are full of sacrifice and burdens, but somehow, somewhere, we need to connect with the joy, and with others. The lonely hero is the only possible narrative if you believe so.