The Lernaean Hydra — in Greek mythology it was the spawn of Typhon and Echidna, dwelt in the Lake of Lerna, and possessed nine heads. For every head that was lopped off, it was said two more grew in its place. As one of his Twelve Labours, Heracles finally defeated the Hydra in a show of champioship in which ancient heroes are made.
Slavery is not simply like the Hydra; it is the Hydra. It has well more than nine venomous heads — sex tourism, labour slavery, child soldiers, organ harvesting, prostitution, pornography, debt bondage, generational slavery, child brides… and more. These heads roar and bellow, bear fangs dripping with poison, live in dark, secret places and prey on the innocent and unknowing.
In facing the Hydra, one may see a glorious defeat of one head. And yet the moment vanishes when the bleeding stump of a neck suddenly grows two more. As the old addage maintains: one step forward, two steps back. Where there appears to be victory in one place, greater evil is simply waiting to emerge in greater, more spectacular forms.
However, unlike the ancient Greek myth where one man heroically slays the afeared dragon, there are many unlikely, strange characters rising up to face the Hydra.
Do not be deceived. The Hydra does not stand alone with only the faces of slavery. Heads of poverty, homelessness, abuse, addictions, greed, lust, fear, abandonement, war, corruption, natural disaster and more all emerge as heads on this horrific beast. It feasts on the lives of both the innocent and the guilty and everyone in between. It knows no borders, cultures, socio-economic status or skin color. All are food for its insatiable gluttony. Many have died under its crushing weight, feeling its burning poison hissing through their veins.
But where the Hydra gloats in the assumption that only a great and mighty warrior could ever dare face it head on, let alone attempt its destruction, many strange, unknown people are gathering in the gloom. The Hydra is waiting for a single champion. Little does it see that, head by head, it is being taken down. Sometimes more heads grow in the place of a lost one, but more and more… these strange people are standing strong beneath the beast, poised to strike at the core of it all.
Rather than lopping off head after head only to lose ground and people, these silent heroes now (more than ever) see the exposed side of the Hydra… its weaknesses… its vulnerabilities.
It can be slain.
It will be slain.
The Hydra will be vanquished. Not by Heracles of old, but by nameless champions that live to see the freedom of their brothers and sisters trapped at the the mercy of a ferocious monster. Even at the expense of their own lives, they labor and plan and rescuse and restore.
The Hydra, whether its nine brains know it or not, is dying.
Here's to a swifter death than could be imagined.