Minbari Mondays, Believers, and Health care vs. saving life?

This is the continuation of our fictional letter (reviewing each film and episode of Babylon 5) that I receive each week from Ranger Mayann.

Nih sakh sh’lekk, sleem wa, Greetings from Tuzanor:

In this report, in your Earth year 2258, it is the second year of operation of the station. This  incident shows that we Minbari also had much to learn…

A pair of parents working to honor their beliefs, asking each of the ambassadors to intervene to protect their child from what their sacred texts forbid. A doctor working to save a child’s life over the objections and beliefs of those parents.

One of our informers mentioned a rumor that the following had been said by Ambassador Kosh: 

“The avalanche has already started. It is too late for the pebbles to vote.” 

Satai Delenn pointed out that for us, matters of the soul are private, and thus relayed the sad decision by our Gray Council that she was forbidden to intervene, since no one can prove which party’s belief is correct.  True, logically, yet still lacking in wisdom, as did that old Council.  Our new Gray Council is wiser.

And Garibaldi:

“Sure is for people with nothing on the line.”

Surprising that Mr. Garibaldi, in this case, might have shown more wisdom than one of our Gray Council.

And once again, Sinclair shows the wisdom of who he will become, as he points out that our beliefs give our lives meaning.

Ivanova here shows us her skill in battle, and her wisdom to know when to do battle, even when it requires temporarily ignoring previous orders, in order to obey the higher order.

Both displayed a start of that wisdom which made a crucial difference in the great war, still to come in your time.

And your doctor learned a difficult lesson:  the beliefs of a patient can never be treated as mere delusion but seen as valid.

From the city of  Tuzanor, on Minbar

Earth year 2278,

Anla’Shok Mayann

  Addendum to Ranger Mayann’s report, or lack thereof for this week, by Shira:  This episode has some good character development, and a theme still, sadly, very much relevant to current events.

Saving life?  Where does the right of individual belief end and the duty to save life take over?

This is basically the Jehovah’s Witness episode for one life, intertwined with a subplot of Ivanova sent to save many lives, after offering to knit a sweater or something.

Yet, Sinclair is right:

“What we hold sacred gives our lives meaning.”

Sinclair is also right in that sometimes doing the right thing doesn’t change anything, but it has to be done anyway, and that what makes us human is that we care. 

G’kar is brutally blunt from a strategic point of view, where Londo wears a more pleasant face as he presents the economic point of view.  Both are eclipsed by the near hypocrisy of the Minbari reply: near, because they sincerely believe that no religion can be proven to be right or wrong, yet still hypocritical because a refusal to take a stand is a refusal to act, and remains wrong.

I love the juxtaposition of the individual boy, dead, and the little boy, alive, from the starliner (Asimov!!) rescued by Ivanova from certain death, at the very close-shave risk of her own life.

And I keep asking myself, is this the episode where G’Kar becomes the Cassandra of Babylon 5?  (“explain, Lucy!”  -he openly explains the fact that strategic value sets a limit on what help the vulnerable will or will not receive, foreshadowing the help that his own world, not deemed to be of sufficient strategic value, will not receive, shortly…).

That was part twelve of Ranger Mayann’s letter on the history of the Babylon Project. It can be seen from another point of view by watching the Babylon 5 Season 1, Episode 10: Believers, which I recommend.


See Ranger Mayann’s report from last week on death, in context, and next week’s on coping.

To see all of her reports as an on-going PDF version: B5EpsThr7…)


Action Items:

1.)  Share your thoughts on the rights of a parent to ruin or even effectively end the life of a child, versus society’s duty to protect children, if you will.

2.) Share your thoughts on how we Human Beings might start to build a more fully inclusive society for all of us, and how this episode of Babylon 5 could help that process.

3.) Write a story, post or tweet that uses these thoughts.

Dear Readers, ideas on learning, especially multiple #LanguageLearning, on-going education and empathy-building, to #EndPoverty, #EndHomelessness,  #EndMoneyBail & achieve freedom for All HumanKind?

Support our key #PublicDomainInfrastructure  & #StopSmoking for CCOVID-19:
1. #PublicLibraries,
2. #ProBono legal aid and Education,
3. #UniversalHealthCare, and
4. good #publictransport
ReadWrite -one can read (for free) Stayed on Freedom’s Call 

Nih sakh sh’lekk, sleem wa.

and my Babylon 5 review posts, if you like Science Fiction,
a proposed Vision on Wondering Wednesdays: We can Do Better, and build a kinder world…

Shira Destinie A. Jones, MPhil

our year 2020 CE =  12020 HE

(Day 1Day 5)

Stayed on Freedom’s Call
(free copies at: https://archive.org/details/StayedOnF…)
includes two ‘imagination-rich’ walking tours, with songs, of Washington, DC. New interviews and research are woven into stories of old struggles shared by both the Jewish and African-American communities in the capital city.

Shared histories are explored from a new perspective of cultural parallels and parallel institution-building which brought the two communities together culturally and historically.

Please leave a review, if you can, on the GoodReads page.


Shira Destinie Jones by ShiraDest is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.

17 thoughts on “Minbari Mondays, Believers, and Health care vs. saving life?

  1. One of my favorite episodes. As a person of faith who is rather liberal, I love how Straczynski (an atheist) approaches questions of faith. He’s not dismissive or condescending but challenges people to be more inclusive of beliefs other than their own. People could seriously learn from it, even when the consequences are not quite as dire as they are here.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Hi, Patti!

      I’m sorry for the delay in responding, I’ve just gotten my second Pfizer shot, and I’m still a bit tired.

      I also love how JMS approaches faith issues. You are right, people really could learn from his approach, if only they had ears to listen. So, I guess it’s up to us to help open their ears?

      Btw, I hope that I didn’t miss the episode where G’Kar explains when Narn kids pick one of the available Narn belief systems to follow? My notes left that out, but I’ve been thinking of that moment lately, and I cannot seem to find mention of it one the fan sites.

      Liked by 2 people

  2. Love these poignant takeaways: “The avalanche has already started. It is too late for the pebbles to vote,” “wisdom to know when to do battle,” and “the beliefs of a patient can never be treated as mere delusion but seen as valid.” 😊😍🤗

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you, Kym: while I cannot take credit for the first, which is a Kosh quote, I certainly appreciate your appreciation of knowing when to do battle and never treating a patient’s beliefs as delusion (even if it’s difficult!).

      Liked by 1 person

  3. The poor boy never had a chance. His parents, blinded by their dogma, were never going to let him live.

    My theological perspective is that a left-of-center Episcopalian. I recognize the difference between doctrine and dogma. I understand that abstractions which may seem positive can prove to be dangerous and destructive of life and justice, in some contexts. Principles play out in messy reality, and one must choose how to behave. The answer may be to choose the gray, not the black or the white.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thank you for commenting: exactly (I wonder if this is where the name “Grey Council” came from…).
      I agree that acting upon principles depends on situational context, and that our choices must always line up with the whole point of the basic principles (when one takes, for instance, the founding principle that Life is Sacred, against a perceived principle like ‘no surgery,’ which in fact turns out to be dogma).
      Thank you for pointing out this difference between principles, doctrine, and dogma.

      Liked by 2 people

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