Failure of leadership is arguably the greatest curse afflicting our world. Too many countries are cursed still by leaders who oppress their people, make a mockery of the institutions of government, and cling to power regardless of the cost in lives lost and suffering inflicted. As a result, our humanity is degraded by psychopathic leaders incapable of looking beyond their own narcissistic self-importance.
As author Dov Seidman has written, the world craves genuine leadership – leaders with moral authority who have the ability to elevate us and enlist us in a shared journey. Nelson Mandela was such a leader. And he was such a leader precisely because his behaviour was the antithesis of psychopathic leadership. Continue reading
Racism as the Norm in Human History
I have cherished the ideal of a democratic and free society in which all persons live together in harmony and with equal opportunities. It is an ideal which I hope to live for and to achieve. But if needs be, it is an ideal for which I am prepared to die Nelson Mandela
Today Nelson Mandela is honoured as a hero and the anti-Apartheid campaign he led is celebrated as having ended an appalling injustice. But for most of history the racist beliefs against which he fought were almost universally accepted in white societies. In the broader sweep of history, Mandela will be remembered for helping to bring an end to the belief that people are inferior because of the colour of their skin. Continue reading
An Avaaz Campaign
The International Criminal Court (ICC) is the world’s first and only global court to adjudicate crimes against humanity. But leaders of Sudan and Kenya, who have inflicted terror and fear across their countries, are trying to drag Africa out of the ICC, allowing them the freedom to kill, rape, and inspire hatred without consequences. Continue reading
Director Kim Longinotto’s new film tells the remarkable story of the Tamil poet Salma and her lifelong rebellion against the stifling misogynistic culture of her village in southern India. For decades, poetry provided Salma with a mental escape from the unbearable conditions to which she was subjected. Her story is one of quiet heroic rebellion against a culture which crushes the female spirit. Continue reading
“Great revolutions in science have a common denominator: They knock human arrogance off one pedestal after another of our conviction about our own self-importance.”
Science is one of the defining features of our age. Scientific knowledge and the technologies we have developed based on that knowledge have transformed our world. In 1700, over 80 percent of the world’s population lived in abject poverty and average life expectancy was less than forty years. In London, then the world’s most developed city, almost 60 per cent of children died before they reached the age of ten. During the last few turbulent centuries, science and technology have changed everything, ushering in standards of health and income never before seen in history.
Aside from its practical use, science is also one of modern civilisation’s most valuable cultural assets. Science has not only transformed our understanding of ourselves and our place in nature, it has also brought with it a set of values which have helped to bring us out of the dark ages of stagnation and superstition and give us a belief in progress and reason. And in an age that is increasingly characterised by selfishness and self-absorption, science can also provide a powerful remedy for narcissism. Continue reading
For me this struggle is a seamless robe. Opposing apartheid was a matter of justice. Opposing discrimination against women is a matter of justice. Opposing discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation is a matter of justice.
Fifty years ago, Martin Luther King, addressing a crowd of 250,000 people in Washington, inspired America with his vision of a future in which his children would ‘not be judged by the colour of their skin, but by the content of their character.’ Today King is honoured as a hero, and the Civil Rights campaign he led is celebrated as having ended an appalling injustice. But for most of history the racist beliefs against which he fought were almost universally accepted in white societies. Continue reading
The movie Wadjda, by Saudi Arabia’s first female director Haifaa al Mansour, is an entertaining and endearing story of headstrong ten year old Wadjda who can’t make sense of the crippling restrictions that Saudi society imposes on women and girls. By the end of the film we too are left wondering at the childish tyranny of the adults in charge. Continue reading