“Withholding information is the essence of tyranny. Control of the flow of information is the tool of the dictatorship.” – Bruce Coville
No dictator or political leader with a reputation of “strongman” in history will remain a strongman forever.
Not even Magellan, Caesar, Napoleon, Atahualpa, Franco, Mussolini, Hitler, Amin, Suharto, Peron, Marcos, Ceausescu, Kim, Saddam, bin Laden, Gaddafi, Trump.
Neither Duterte nor Bato and Isko (yes he has the tendency. Give him more power and years).
All of them have (and will have) their own Waterloo and Achilles Heel.
Let me share the story of Hebrew hero, Samson, and the hero in Greek mythology, Achilles, who fought in the Trojan war.
Achilles was invincible in battle except for one little tiny spot, way down near his foot.
His heel was the only vulnerable part of his body, and of course, that was the very spot that his enemies exploited to kill him.
Well, Samson was a hero in ancient Hebrew history, who learned too late that he has an Achilles’ heel.
Samson was set apart by God at birth. His mother had been unable to conceive for many years.
One day an angel appeared to her and told her she would have a son who would be a Nazirite, which meant taking a vow that included no wine and no haircutting, according to the Saints & Scoundrels of the Bible.
Samson would be one of a long line of handpicked deliverers known as judges who fought against Israel’s enemies, it added.
Like Achilles, he would be tested in battle. But he would have strength to match that of another fabled Greek hero, Hercules.
“Sadly, Samson was not strong in his convictions. Sure, he could tear apart a lion with his bare hands, but he always picked women who were wrong for him, and he attempted to play mind games with the Philistines–the enemies of Israel and the people he was charged to defeat,” narrated the Saints & Scoundrels of the Bible.
Having selected a Philistine wife, against his parents’ wishes, Samson reportedly decided to make sport of his wife’s townspeople with a riddle related to the lion he killed.
If they could guess the riddle, he would give them 30 new outfits, including 30 items made of linen–undoubtedly a wardrobe to die for. If they couldn’t guess it, they would reportedly have to give the items to Samson.
The story went on that when they couldn’t guess the riddle, the Philistines threatened to kill Samson’s wife and her family.
Obviously there were some sore losers in town. The woman reportedly begged Samson to tell her the riddle, which she then explained to her people.
Samson reportedly lost his temper and killed 30 Philistines to gain their clothing in payment. He also gave away his wife. Samson’s experience with his Philistine wife foreshadowed a relationship that would lead to his doom–his relationship with Delilah.
The Philistine leaders reportedly approached Delilah with an offer she couldn’t refuse: find out what made Samson strong. A handsome reward would be hers. Delilah agreed.
So much for standing by your man. When Samson finally gave away his secret, Delilah called in a man to give Samson his first and only haircut.
When Samson woke up, “he didn’t realize that the spirit of the Lord had departed. He was quickly taken into captivity by the Philistines. They decided to make an example of him by depriving him of his eyesight and forcing him to grind grain in the prison,” added the Saints & Scoundrels of the Bible.
But God had mercy on his wayward deliverer. One of the most promising verses in this sad account is 16:22: “Before long, his hair began to grow back.”
Obviously firm believers in the “kick a man when he’s down” school of thought, the Philistines decided to have a laugh at Samson’s expense, it further narrated.
Samson was taken to the temple where all could see and mock the fallen hero.
“But God had the last laugh,” Saints & Scoundrels of the Bible stressed. “After Samson requested that he be placed by the pillars of the temple, God brought the house down with a display of strength–the final act of Samson’s life.”
This hero was no longer a zero.
The author, who is now based in New York City, used to be the editor of two dailies in Iloilo./WDJ