One wise sage once said: “Love has a way of making beautiful thorns and thistles.”
I love history and throughout its study, I have met gruesome stories done by evil dictators who wanted to control the whole world or were so power-thirsty that everyone shivered at the mention of their name. Among them is Adolf Hitler whose hate for Jews led to the holocaust, Napoleon Bonaparte who has been described as the world’s most dangerous man responsible for the entire world going to war and Shaka the Zulu who was a single-minded dictator who used warfare to instill fear and achieve political gain.
Faced with this introduction you see scary people straight from the horror movies and never realize that they were human beings who cried, ate and used the lavatory! In the spirit of Valentine’s Day, tracing their love stories revealed what their weak links were and thus love can soften even the hardest hearts ever. I just chose a few from the past yet the same can be seen in post-modern-day dictators as well.
Adolf Hitler has been described as less of a man and more of a monster. Through his anti-Semitism stance, he killed more than six million Jews. This has been a gruesomely recorded genocide of European Jews, a state-funded genocide with Hitler at the helm. How could someone like this ever have a heart to love and be loved?
Cruel, as he may have been, he caught the flimsy heart of Miss Eva Braun who then followed her everywhere. She loved him so much that she always wanted to marry him at all costs. “They finally got married on the 29th of April 1945 and the 30th Mrs. Eva Hitler drank poison prepared by Hitler while Hitler resultantly killed himself. However, the couple died happy and married. In Shakespearian Romeo and Juliet style!
Napoleon Bonaparte was a French statesman and military leader who rose to prominence during the French revolution. As emperor from 1804 he had sole control of his empire, restricted individual rights and speech. He was known to be a very difficult man until he met a lovely woman called Rose, who had previously been married and had been involved in several affairs. Napoleon was quickly taken by her and called her Josephine. History records that Napoleon loved Josephine more than she loved him. Even his mother and sister hated Josephine a lot because of her age which was six years his senior as well as that she had children from a previous marriage.
Napoleon’s whole existence was changed by Josephine and even when he went to war he would write her love letters which are still available in France to this day. In February 1797 he wrote
“You to who, nature has given spirit, sweetness, and beauty, you who alone can move my heart, you who know too well the absolute empire you exercise over it!”
Although they divorced because Josephine could not give him an heir, he always loved her and let as her the empress. Although he later married Marie-Louise of Austria, he remarked that: ‘it is a womb I’m marrying’. His weakness was Empress Josephine but everyone else knows how ruthless he was and yet at the mention of love he would be weak at his love’s feet.
Back in Africa, Shaka the Zulu has been seen as a warrior who adopted the war methods done in the French revolution. Uses of the cow horn formation and adaptation of armory that was effective and efficient. He killed for fun and curiosity. For example, he once opened the womb of a pregnant woman to see what was inside! He killed all men that returned from battle with wounds on their back and reasoned that they were fleeing from an enemy. He was very ruthless and feared.
Although some have argues that he loved no one but himself, his love for his mother made him humane. He loved Nandi so much but believed sex with women made one a weak warrior. His mother was the love of his life and advised her till her death in 1827. It is recorded that when she died, Shaka lost his mind and he killed hundreds of Zulus and outlawed growing of crops. All women found pregnant were murdered together with their husbands. Some Historians write that when Nandi was buried, fresh virgins were buried with her providing a platform for her corpse. Shaka was a ruthless and tact dictator but his love for his mother always softened him.
If only love would be the motive behind everything we do, this world would be a better place. Has love that impact? One may ask. Of course, it has, if it did soften the hearts of ruthless dictators, exposing their human side then it surely can drive economies and stop wars in this modern era. It is the politics of love that we lack in this era, with love we can move mountains. This Valentine’s day let’s remember to practice the politics of love wherever we are. Pick up litter, feed babies, adopt pets…whatever you do practice the politics of love. If dictators could give a soul to love, why not you?
Sympathy Sibanda -Mazuruse is Zimbabwean based writer, businesswoman, and humanitarian. She enjoys mentoring other women to achieve their greatest potential. A published author and presenter, she enjoys communication work and advocacy for sex workers’ access to economic, social and mental health alternatives.