Member Rara Avis
... and it was discovered that the men were leaders in the escape plot who deliberately hung themselves before their followers as encouragement.
And how did that work out for them?
Your little story, John, is incomplete. Though a few gave up rather than face their failure, in the end, the only prisoners who actually failed were those few. Everyone else eventually found freedom. No one has ever failed until first they give up trying.
There's nothing heroic about suicide, nor does it enhance anyone's cause. It's just easier, sometimes, and takes less courage than living would take. Sadly, that's not even strictly an oriental weakness, either. Many of us still vividly recall others "making a point" in 1978.