Essay by jabarootHigh School, 12th gradeA-, October 2008

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When I was a child the only image I had about power was wrapped in blue and red and had a big letter (S) on its chest. As years went by, I grew out of many habits, and embraced many new ideas, maybe out of experience, rational inductive conclusions, peer pressure and more. But for a long time, “power” remained a mystery in my life, and my understanding of this vague concept was influenced much by the thoughts of others, especially my teachers and friends. Every time I thought I understood the meaning of power, I fell short. Time will only tell if my newly formulated image will give way to a new one as many before it did.

“Power is in numbers” that was the idea I learned from Mrs. Bitar, my history teacher, as she explained why the allies defeated the Germans in World War Two, even though the Germans had better weapons.

“The allies could afford the loss in life, look at what the soviets lost, the Germans couldn’t. The Panther was a superior tank, the Sherman overwhelmed it”.

That was good enough for me till Mrs. Salman, my biology teacher, told me that power was never a matter of numbers, a few individuals came to America and devastated the native American population with a mere virus. “Read about Thermopolis; let your history teacher tell you the story of the three hundred”. Well I was not going to face my history teacher, I understood about power enough not to get in her way, but the concept was not so clear anymore.

“As the power of a number increases, it becomes larger and larger, thinking positively of course” said Mr. Khoury my math teacher, with a smile, when I asked him about power, little did I know that in a few weeks power would become a constant occurrence in every equation and relation he would give us and many sleepless nights would be spent crunching number plagued by powers. So power meant bigger, and God knows it this was true for the three bullies that terrorized the playing ground at lunch.

The smile I had the next morning when my mother said that I was two inches taller than my older cousin and most probably would grow to take after her grandfather. “an Ox with the stomach to match it” she smiled as I asked for an extra banana to take to school that day, well I wanted to get bigger, more powerful, and frankly I loved bananas, so it was a win-win situation, but not a banana, not even the picture of my great grand father riding his mule with his feet nearly touching the ground could have prepared me for that day’s chemistry lesson. “Imagine that a tiny atom caused the destruction of the city of Hiroshima”, this was the introduction that Mr. Shehab used to start the chapter on radioactivity, thus reducing the “size” of power to the size of a tiny atom. I didn’t eat my extra banana that day, I didn’t even mind giving it to the bully at school; after all how could he compare to an atom?It was neither size, nor number that reflected power. Power is not many things we associate it with. Power is not having the largest army with the best weapons. Power is not a great fortune that can offer the finest brands. Rather, power is the ability to think freely, to dream, and to believe in oneself. Even if you have the weapons to control whether I live or die, you can never have the power to control my freedom of thought and even if you have the wealth to buy my house, my car and my sweat, you can never have the power to buy my dignity, my humanity or my dreams.

Although man kind has developed in these few years more than it has developed through out its existence, its view of power remained the same. Power is still that blend of blue and red with the same (S) on its chest, but this blend might be covered with a metal armor, a black tuxedo, an army vest, and maybe a space suite.