The power of power

By Anika Huque. Anika, 20, is a student at Bangladesh University for Professionals. Please read her article and leave your thoughts and comments below.

This famous statement reveals a bitter truth. In the world there are three classes of people and they are high class, middle class and lower class. Every single person of these classes faces different kinds of problems in their life. To survive they all need to cope with these difficulties and carry on with their life. And so they do. Some of them stress out and some of them face it in a very calm way. Those who handle these adversities intelligently acquire success in life. Then they achieve the thing they most long for: power. But what would happen if they had the power at the first place?

Ever wondered why parents don’t give their children the freedom to make life decisions when they are small? Why don’t they have the choice to lead their life on their own choices? They don’t have the freedom to make even the slightest decisions in their lives, like going out after the sunset, buying something that is not much use just because they want it. That’s because their parents want them to value the power they may achieve in life later on, so that they don’t misuse it. In the case of adults we see the same thing. Nearly all of them can overcome adversity to achieve something in life and then they get power of something. This power can be anything, from owning a small piece of land to owning a country. But they achieve it by overcoming the adversities of their life. Then starts the test of their characters in the real meaning. Few people are there on earth who can stay in a good character after they get the ability to influence the behavior of others’ or simply when they achieve the power.

I will be talking about two renowned personalities of history who are still known for their character. The German politician Adolf Hitler and the American Baptist Minister Martin Luther King Jr. If we see the life of both the leaders, we will see that they both had adversities in life. Adolf Hitler who was the leader of the Nazi party and the chancellor of Germany faced many difficulties in life. He didn’t become the leader at first; he had to struggle a lot in his early life. His father died when he was only thirteen and was brought up by his mother alone. Then his mother also left him when he was just nineteen years old. This leader who is infamous for millions of murders and destruction and for organizing insanity faced a lot of adversities in his life. He was a very shy person during his early life, which he had to overcome as he gave speeches to talk about his mission to guide the Germans out of slavery, to the heights of freedom. When World War One began in 1914, he volunteered for service in the German army. He was decorated twice for his bravery and still got to the rank of a corporal. He also suffered from a temporary blindness caused by a poisonous gas attack. In 1920, Hitler joined the National Socialist German Workers Party, known as the Nazis. They called all Germans, even those from other countries, to build one nation. They called for a strong central government and they called for the cancellation of the Versailles Treaty, which was a peace treaty which called the World War One to an end and ordered Germany a huge reparation. Gradually Hitler became the leader of the Nazi Party and built up membership quickly, mostly because of his powerful speeches.

So we can see he did not become the leader of the Nazi party at first. But after he got power over other people, he used it in a very ruinous way. He blamed the Jews for all the problems that were in the world that time. He passed some infamous laws which classed Jews as German “subjects” instead of citizens. Intermarriage was outlawed, more professions were closed to the Jews, shops displayed signs reading “No Jews Allowed” and harassment was common. He also caused genocide. So after he got power we can see his true character radiated how despicable he was.

On the other hand, if we turn our attention to Martin Luther King Jr. who was an American Baptist minister and activist, we can see that this leader also faced many distresses in life while on his mission for equality. He was arrested over twenty times for protesting. He was the object of several violent attacks, both to his person and his property. He received threatening phone calls, his home was bombed and set afire and this was not all! He was even stabbed by a black woman. So not only from white people had he faced opposition, but also from leaders of his own race. And then, after overcoming all these difficulties, he became the leader of the Civil Rights Movement. He used his power in a totally different way than Hitler did. He made many contributions that still have impact on the current world. He helped form the southern Christian Leadership Conference in 1957 which was an organization that worked for civil rights. He was the leader of the entire civil rights movement in 1960s that called for working out conflicts with kindness and love as opposed to hate and violence. He established equal voting rights in America for black and white people. Martin Luther King’s nonviolent movement created an illustration that action without violence can be effective and successful. He is still today the most well-known social activist in the world. These examples shows us how “POWER” has the power to test one’s character.

However I would like to end my writing saying that people who see authority as a means to achieving personal goals are more likely to misuse power than people who are motivated by a purpose. This shows that character and power are very closely related and one can certainly define one’s character by power.

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