Greed Over Good

Why do leaders choose to lead? They often say it is because they want to help their community for the common good. However, as people rise to power, the good intentions they once had, are now clouded by their need of more dominance. Their drive to control others to benefit oneself overrules their judgment when it comes to caring for those who don’t have control. In the book, Lord of the Flies by William Golding, a group of boys stranded on an island have to create a new way of living. Many acts of greed and selfishness take over the boys as the are adjusting to this new and fascinating life without parents. Some of them are leaders while others have to quietly follow. Those who lead, take advantage of their power to benefit themselves rather than benefiting their community.

When first arriving on the island the boys are scrambling to understand what is currently happening to them. Piggy, them most intelligent of them all, is often pushed aside. Jack, the more rowdy of the older kids, suggests that he should be the leader, rivaling Ralph. One of the boys suggest they have a vote. To show off his dominance Ralph blows a conch shell with great pride. “‘Him with the shell. Ralph! Ralph! Let him be chief with the trumpet-thing.’ Ralph raised a hand for silence.” (page 22) The little children are in awe as they see one of the older boys, Ralph, blow the conch. He purposely does this to gain attention, knowing that his first impression is the one that matters most. Ralph realizes that if he can prove his dominance over Jack now, the easier it will be for everyone to accept him as a leader later. By Ralph raising “...a hand for silence” he is showing all the other kids that he holds the power. Ralph is trying to be leader because he wants to have power over Jack. He wants to have power no so he can lead the them, but because he wants to be the one in charge of the scared and vulnerable boys. He sees this as an opportunity to dictate and be in power.  Piggy is overshadowed by the dominance of Ralph. Piggy could have brought much more stability and a sense of civilization to the island, but he is obscured by Ralph because, in his own selfish needs, he had to be leader in order to feel fulfilled.

Similar to Ralph and the power he has over the island, Benjamin Netanyahu, prime minister of Israel, abuses this power to only benefit himself and other Israelis. He is occupying Palestinian land by not being in compliance with the 1967 borders. His military forces have infiltrated Palestine. According to an article published by Haaretz, Netanyahu isn’t looking for “peace.” It stated, “Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu yesterday rejected a Palestinian demand that direct negotiations be based on a statement by the Quartet confirming its position that the future Palestinian state will be based on the 1967 borders.” Netanyahu's greed and selfish aspirations are clouding his moral compass. Killing thousands of Palestinians in bombings and shootings are at the back of his mind when he says that Palestinians are violent and terrorists, which is very hypocritical on his account. Similar to Ralph, he only wants what’s best for himself as leader and doesn’t care who struggles in order for that to happen. Netanyahu, is aware of the bloodshed of Palestinians, because he is allowing it to happen. Blaming the Palestinians for terrorism, caused by radical Islam to justify it. By declining a deal, that was made decades ago to benefit both Israel and Palestine, is a clear example of his greed for more and more land. It isn’t his goal to have peace and coexist with the Palestinians like the two-state solution would allow. His ultimate goal is to own all of the Palestinian land, or at least most majority of it. He will not stop until his selfish needs are fulfilled and Palestinian blood paints Gaza red all over.

Similar to the selfish needs of Netanyahu, and his need to control things that don’t belong to him, Jack one of the older boys from Lord of the Flies does the same to Piggy at one of the meetings when Piggy holds the conch, which is used to silence everyone but the holder at meetings, and Jack denies him a chance to speak. Piggy argues that he holds the conch. “‘Conch! Conch!’ shouted Jack. ‘We don’t need the conch anymore. We know who ought to say things… It’s time some people knew they’ve got to keep quiet and leave deciding things to the rest of us.’” (page 101-102) Jack silences Piggy rather than listening to him like a good leader would do. He doesn’t want anyone giving him suggestions because he ultimately believes he is always right. Jack won’t allow anyone to talk but himself. An attribute that selfish people tend to have. People like Piggy, who just want to be heard and make a positive change in the community they live in are hushed by people like Jack who are in control. Khalida Jarrar is very similar to Piggy who, according to Samidoun, is a human rights activist and a member of the Palestinian Legislative Council. Israeli soldiers barged into her home forcing her to sign an expulsion letter, she refused saying “You, the occupation, are killing our Palestinian people. You practice mass arrests, demolish homes, kidnap people from their homes and deport them. It is you who must leave our home.” Khalida Jarrar was sentenced to 15 months of imprisonment by Israeli military forces soon after. Similar to how Jack wouldn’t let Piggy speak, even when it was his right too, Khalida Jarrar was restricted from using her voice to defend Palestinians and protest the Israeli occupation in her homeland. Selfish leaders hate seeing an opposing threat with a voice that people will listen to. It means they are in jeopardy of losing their power and dominance over others. Selfish leaders would rather silence the noise altogether than have to deal with the herds of people protesting in their ears.

When someone has control over a group, when someone is the sole person who can decide what is allowed and what is not, that person tends to abuse that power. Leaders, rather than help the society, hurt it more since it's easier to abuse power when leaders are the one holding the reins. Dominance and greed over take them and they take advantage over that power and use it for their own welfare and selfish desires. Especially when it’s easier to manipulate others to get what you want.

Works Cited

Golding, William. Lord of the Flies. New York: Perigee, 2006.

Issacharoff, Avi, and Barak Ravid. "Netanyahu Rejects Peace Talks Based on 1967 Borders." Haaretz Daily Newspaper, 12 Aug. 2010. Web. 07 Apr. 2016. <>.

"Khalida Jarrar Solidarity Campaign: Free Khalida Jarrar!" Samidoun Palestinian Prisoner Solidarity Network. Samidoun, 21 Aug. 2014. Web. 07 Apr. 2016. <>.