Kon Karapanagiotidis has survived a life of bullying, body image issues, loneliness and racism but he uses that ongoing struggle to find his own inner peace, and to inspire and guide others. Since discovering the writings of Dr Martin Luther King as a young boy, he has been moved to dedicate his life to helping others and to stand up for what is right. In doing so, he had become a justice warrior and one of Australia’s leading lights for the protection of those less fortunate. In his first book, an autobiography, Karapanagiotidis shares his experiences and shows the way to stay motivated and hopeful in the darker times of our own life.
The Power of Hope is inspirational for various reasons, not least being the depth of vulnerability Karapanagiotidis reveals within himself. He speaks of the love and hardships within his family, including difficult parental relations. He speaks of justice and injustice, self-acceptance and integrity.
Karapanagiotidis is perhaps best known as the founder and leader of the Asylum Seeker Resource Centre in Victoria, which has become Australia’s largest non-government funded support service for asylum seekers. It has become a centre for support and learning. Karapanagiotidis’ dedication to humanity doesn’t end there however. He speaks openly about our moral duty to protect and change across a range of vital issues including violence against women, sexual abuse against both genders, our indigenous communities, LGBTIQ people and racism.
He acknowledges the struggles not just within minorities groups, but for individuals from all groups and, not least of all, himself. He openly confesses his own demons but, through each issue or story, he comes back to finding hope, being a better person, evolving humanity, and fostering understanding and compassion.
Issues of masculinity lead to his views on how we need to teach boys about consent and our peers about inequality and rape culture. He discusses hard national statistics that are likely to shock the uninformed. And he tells amazing stories of people coming together, their desire to help, and how the smallest of everyday gestures can make a huge difference. His tale of a single tweet resulting in over 250 pizzas being delivered to a hospital for protesters picketing to save Baby Asha from deportation back in 2016 is one of many heart-warming stories.
Karapanagiotidis narrates his own audiobook. The passion and power in his soothing voice is sure to generate tears from anger, love and visions of a better tomorrow. The Power of Hope delivers on its title. His stories are all inspirational, as is the man himself.
For anyone seeking a better life for themselves, their children, their community or humanity, The Power of Hope is mandatory listening. The unabridged audiobook runs for almost six and half hours and was released in June 2018, available from Audible Australia.
Reviewed by Rod Lewis
Rating out of 10: 10