Jim Jones

Jim Jones was a self-obsessed American Cult leader who manipulated the poor and vulnerable, demanded their complete obedience, and ordered the murder of thousands of people, including two hundred children, to take their own lives in a jungle settlement in South America called ‘Jonestown’, constructed around his own warped and paranoid fantasy.

Jim Jones once said, “I am the way, the truth and the light. No one can come to the father but through me.” James Warren Jones was born in Indiana to a family that was struggling to cope with the effects of the Great depression. From a young age Jim felt sorry for the poor and had empathy for them, and as a teenager he became strongly involved with the Pentecostal Church, preaching to black and white people on the streets. With his jet-black hair and olive skin, his shades and his fixed confident grin, Jones was a handsome and charismatic person, not only that but a person that would convince and manipulate many people.

But even from a young age there were hints of a darker side to Jones. He clearly did not appreciate rejection, and once shot a friend who did not do as he commanded. For many years his wife Marceline, who held traditional Methodists views, suffered his jealous and manipulative behaviour. When Jones for a short period of time rejected God early in the marriage, he threatened to kill himself if she continued to pray and he forcefully and unsuccessfully tried to adopt a 12-year-old son of Marceline’s cousin, against the boy’s wishes. His behaviour was often hypercritical, he demanded clean living for those around him.

In 1952 Jones seemed to have recovered his faith, partly because he realized that his wife’s Methodism religion was interested in the plight of the poor. But Jones personal views, mixture of Christianity and socialism, traditional family vales and social liberalism led him to establish his own church, the ‘Peoples Temple’ which he would have a high ranking position. The people’s temple set up a soup kitchen and offered support to the poor and outcasts, such as former prisoners and drug addicts. Jones promised miracles for all kinds of illnesses, including cancer in an attempt to recruit more followers.

Jones did not do much good for the people that followed his ways and views. Jones just thought that he was doing well, when in reality he was doing the complete opposite. Unless convincing parents and children to commit suicide was a good thing to do, I think not. He was motivated by his own power hungry appetite and self interest.

In 1965 Jones moved with his family and 140 followers to Ukiah in northern California, apparently because he believed it would be safe from a nuclear attack. By 1968, as his following dwindled he affiliated the Peoples temple with the Disciples of Christ, a larger church group, which gave him access to 1.5 million members. But as his cult grew even bigger, so did the scrutiny from journalists and politicians, accusations began to emerge that Jones was taking fund from cult members for his personal use. Eger to escape in 1977 Jones and his followers moved to Guyana, where, in the rainforest, they set up a commune called ‘Jonestown’. In the process, his followers handed to Jones control of all their possessions. People were already moving giving him control of possessions and following Jones wherever he wanted with his manipulative ways and his persuasive manner. He had clear control and brainwashed many people but as he got away from all the suspicion of the public eye, Jones began to tighten his grip on his followers. There were reports of beatings and death threats, and each person was required to confess their sexual practices and fantasies, which women were, encouraged to criticize their husbands’ skills in bed.

On the 17th of November 1978 United States representative for California Leo Ryan arrived in Guyana with a group of journalists and concerned family members to inspect the camp. After fourteen members of the cult agreed to defect, Jones gripped by paranoia believed that his fantasy was crumbling around him. On 18th of November, as Ryan and the defectors made their way to the airplane that was due to fly them home to the United States, they were attacked by members of the Peoples Temple. Jones got people to attack others, which they would possibly never of even considered if they hadn’t been overcome by the control of Jones. Ryan was shot dead, along with three journalists and one defector. Back in the camp Jones ordered his followers whom he had trained for mass suicide on many occasions to come together drink a punch laced with cyanide. The vast majority went through with it unthinkingly; babies had the lethal cocktail force into their mouths with syringes, which anyone who objected was coerced or shot. Jones took an easy way out shooting himself in the head. When Guyanese troops arrived at the scene to pursue those who had committed murder on the airstrip, the sight of nearly a thousand bodies, men, women and children greeted them, slumped together on the ground. From Jones manic desire of domination and when that control was threatened, he was prepared to bring destruction down on all those around him. He had ultimate control over everyone who was brainwashed and believed every word that came out of his mouth.

He was most certainly a monster and will be remembered for a long time for all the wrong reasons. Anyone who could convince not only adults to commit suicide for him but also force their kids to commit suicide as well had to have a very manipulative, persuasive, cunning, selfish and power hungry persona. Jones was someone who will go down in history that’s for sure, someone who had men, women and children’s deaths on his conscious, their blood was forever on his hands.

– by Mia Holt, 10eng

Black Panthers

The Black Panther party for self defence was a group founded in the 1960s, to protect black people in America from oppression and injustice to the blacks by the whites. The party had an agenda- to establish real economic, social, and political equality across gender and colour lines in America.

The original 6 of the group

They got their theoretical foundations from the late Malcolm X; they believed in fighting for what they wanted (equality). They also believed in partaking positive social services; also something from Malcolm X’s practices.

The group’s power was that they stood up against authorities like the police, in order for their black friends to be able to be treated equally. The influence they had was that they carried guns and weapons to defend the blacks; this gave them a strong physical presence. Just by being around the blacks and carrying their guns prevented people, including the police, from messing with them. Rarely did they have the need to fight, but this did occasionally happen. They were not corrupt; their goal was not financial gain. They used their power for good purposes-to ensure that the blacks got their share as well and were treated equally. Their interests were for the best of the blacks in America, and they were angry that there was no equality. This is why they did what they did.

Overall, the Black Panthers used their power for good; for the rights of the black people of America. They influenced the lives of the black Americans in a good way, and helped them achieve equality, by standing up for them and ensuring that they were treated equally.
They were heroes to the blacks, and they helped shape America’s history as to the way it is today.

– by Eddie von Moger, 11ENG

Barack Obama

Barack Obama is the 44th President of the United States, and is the first African American to be in charge. The sort of power that Barack Obama has is that he is president of the United States of America; he can send the country to war. He can rule over everyone in America, change laws and do what he believes is right. Obama’s power can be very influential and helpful to people around the world. It is a power that is not bad or monstrous, it is a power that he uses for good, to the best he can.

Barack Obama got his power being a democrat; he had represented Illinios in the United States Senate from 2005 to 2008, which he later had been elected to the U.S senate. He than beat Senator John McCain, in the 2008 Presidential Election and served 2 years in the U.S Senate, before running for president. He was brought into become president by John Roberts, chief justice of the U.S. In Obama’s first address he listed the challenges the nation faced, including such things as economy, political congestion and overseas conflicts. He became president of the United States on the 20th of January, 2009 and also won the Nobel Peace prize that year.

Some specific outcomes of Barack Obama’s use of his power is that he signed a $787 billion economic stimulus bill that was meant to shore up an economy reeling from high service and dropping financial markets. A law called the American Recovery, were included Investments that Obama did for education, energy, science and transportation projects, and also included tax cuts and extended unemployment benefits. The outcome Barack Obama hoped it would be, is that it would create or save 3 and a half million jobs within 2 years. He also called for a withdrawal of up too 100,000 troops, but allowed up to 50,000 troops to remain in Iraq through 2011,  by the 31st of August 2010 in which he said all U.S combat operations in Iraq would stop and many other things. These outcomes were for good, Obama is trying to do the best he can as president of America to please the citizens of that country, and the outcomes have been good enough.

No, Obama does not show signs of being corrupt, but many people may want a different president to Barack Obama as they believe that he does show signs of being corrupt and that it needs to change. Really though, he is just doing his job of being the leader of America. He does seem like he is very confident in his own abilities and does what he believes is right, and doesn’t display anything that makes him seem dishonest. Obama has very good intentions, nothing monstrous or bad about him, he isn’t selfish or greedy, and he puts people before himself after having a tough up bringing. He does things in a way in which he reckons the government or people want things done.

Overall Barack Obama is a very nice and good person, who influences on society in America and on the world. Although things may not always turn out completely how he had planned, I’m sure he tried his absolute best to do what he can. A good person is someone who has a positive and good effect on others and improves their society and in which benefits others. With Barack Obama, this definition fits very well.

– by Matt Tabone, 11ENG

Dr Martin Luther King Jr

Dr Martin Luther Jr. was born January 15, 1929, in Atlanta, Georgia. Throughout his life, even as a child, Martin discovered violence. It was also evident that he had the ability to persuade and influence others with language. Martin always had the intention for black and white people to be equal in this world. He was introduced to the ugliness of prejudice at an early age. Certainly Martin, like all black southern children, knew that there were places blacks could not go: swimming pools, rest rooms, water fountains, certain seats on the bus and particular restaurants. He experienced firsthand racial discrimination. He was informed from the mother of two white children that they could not play with them at school anymore. His mother consoled him but the sting of rejection hit him hard.

As America grappled with rising racial tension in the early part of the twentieth century, a host of leaders emerged who would shape and lead the modern civil rights movement. Yet few did more to alter the face of race relations during these turbulent years than Martin Luther King. His inspiring speeches virtually ignited the movement, and his commitment to nonviolence set the tone that would characterize the entire era.

Martin was a unique human. By presenting his speech ‘I had a dream,’ he had the power and influence over the world and civil rights movement. His power seems to have taken on even greater meaning for all races on the eve of the inauguration of President-elect Barack Obama, the first African American to hold the office. He not only changed the way the world viewed the African American race with his power, he showed a nation that it had to deal with a painful past to find the path of peace. These actions and outcomes were all purely for the good influence of the world. He did this to archive his childhood dream, for black and white people to be equal. Not at all for the exposure or name in the media, but for Negro people to be treated correctly. Many would agree that he alone changed the world with his determination and good power. Martin achieved his power by self confidence and to make ‘his dream’ become reality. He also always had a talent in public speaking and excellent English skills.

With his power on the issue, He left a huge legacy that is still remembered 40 years later. Without his influence, we may not live in the same world that we know today. The Civil Rights movement changed our country, and the world. His power and determination inspired other countries to do the same. After his death, people really felt the importance of his cause. They realized that this man died for something he believed in, something that was important for others to believe in as well. His power was then passed on. You had people after his death that carried out his legacy and worked for all of those things. He wasn’t there to do it, so it was left in the hands of everyone else.

Martin Luther King truly an influence to the world and played a huge role in Civil rights movement. His use of power was definitely in the good category and was an inspiration to many.

– by Jamie Powell, 11ENG

Barack Obama

Barack Obama was born on Aug the 4th 1961, Honolulu, Hawaii, US. Barack Obama, is the 44th president of the United States, and became the first African American to hold the country’s highest office. In 1979 Obama graduated from the Punahou School, which is an elite college introductory academy in Honolulu. Obama attended Occidental college in suburban college Los Angeles for two years and then transferred to Columbia University in New York City, and in 1983 Obama received a bachelor’s degree in political science. In 2004 Obama was elected to the U.S Senate and in 2007 Obama he announced that he would seek the Democratic Party’s presidential nomination in 2008. Obama in 2008 came second to Hillary Clinton in the New Hampshire primary. On August 27th Obama became the first African American to be nominated for the presidency by either major party. Obama won the election, capturing nearly 53 per cent of the popular vote and 365 electoral votes, and on Jan. 20th, 2009 Obama became the first African American president. Also in 2009 Obama won the Nobel Peace Prize for his “extraordinary efforts to strengthen international diplomacy and cooperation between peoples.”

Barack Obama holds the power of being president of the United States of America and makes plenty of decisions on how the country should be run. Obama makes decisions on how climate change should be managed, how the economy should be managed, transport and many other things. Obama also helps out other countries with problems like natural disasters, and also has a big influence on other countries decisions. Obama’s power really originated from him being the first African American president because it was unheard of and such an unbelievable achievement. Obama has a significant amount of power over most of the world, majority of it being America but he has influences in other countries decisions.

Obama got his power from hard work through college, graduating from an elite college in Honolulu and receiving a bachelor’s degree in political science. His hard work through college made it easier in later life. Obama ran for president in 2009 and succeeded and became the first African American president. Obama uses his power for the good of society helping the world out in their problems and has a significant influence on other countries such as Australia. Obama uses his power to help solve problems like global warming and natural disasters. Obama has good intentions to help the world out in any way possible and does not use his power in any way that would hurt anyone or use his power in a corrupt way. Obama is also a hero in some African American people’s eyes becoming the first African American president a lot of people now look up to him, so he definitely is a good person to his society and the people around him.

– By David Allitt, 11ENG