Leadership for Humanity

Voices of Hope

I believe that unarmed truth and unconditional love will have the final word in reality.

Martin Luther King Jr.

The current global cultural and political landscape is a snapshot in time. Like the earth’s tectonic plates that are continually moving beneath our feet and reshaping continents, the processes of economic development and cultural change are reshaping the world’s political landscape. The most historic transformation of the modern era is the demise of psychologically deviant elites and the gradual accession to power of the world’s psychological majority. This change in the balance of power, and the backlash by those with dangerous personality disorders, defines the modern world. Every day the struggle continues as hundreds of thousands of individuals the world over struggle to assert their humanity and make ours a better world. The story in this book can be retold in their voices.

It can be told in the voices of those attempting to overcome the legacy of Stalin and enable the Russian people to escape authoritarianism:

 ‘…even today, Stalinism is not, for Russia, simply a historical episode of the twentieth century… The main feature of Communist totalitarianism – the attitude to people as an expendable resource – was not eliminated.[1]

Sergei Kovalev, co-founder of the organization Memorial which aims to highlight the truth of the Stalinist era and challenge current human rights abuses.

In the voices of those opposing the dictatorship of the CCP and striving to bring democracy and the rule of law to China:

 ‘… I firmly believe that China’s political progress will not stop… there is no force that can put an end to the human quest for freedom….[2]

Liu Xiaobo, Nobel Peace Prize-winner and author of Charter 08, a manifesto calling for democracy and human rights in China.

In the voices of those risking their lives to end the violence that scars Africa, and strengthen the economic development of the continent:

‘[We learned that] you die anyway. You die sitting down. So let’s die trying. And when we stepped out, fortunately we didn’t die – we changed the course of history.[3]

Liberian peace activist Leymah Gbowee, whose women’s peace movement helped bring an end to her country’s savage civil war.

In the voices of those fighting corruption within the Indian political system and working to end poverty in South Asia:

 ‘When India achieved independence, more than fifty years ago, the people of the country were much afflicted by endemic hunger. They still are.’

Amartya Sen, Indian economist and winner of the Nobel Prize in Economic Sciences.

In the voices of those working to establish more humane religions:

‘The truth is that killing innocent people is always wrong — and no argument or excuse, no matter how deeply believed, can ever make it right. No religion on earth condones the killing of innocent people, no faith tradition tolerates the random killing of our brothers and sisters on this earth.[4]

Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf, activist in promoting inter-faith dialogue between Christians, Muslims and Jews, and founder of Islamic community centre in lower Manhattan.

In the voices of those risking ostracism and violence in their attempts to change cultures that deny their humanity:

‘… as long as women’s status is lower than men’s and boys are valued above girls, poverty will remain a reality in our country and across the world. We have to rid our society of the view that to be female is to be a second-class citizen…[5]

Ela Bhatt, Indian anti-poverty activist and advocate for women’s self-employment and the working rights of the poor.

In the voices of those risking their lives to oppose tyrannical regimes around the world:

 ‘Those of us who decided to work for democracy in Burma made our choice in the conviction that the danger of standing up for basic human rights in a repressive society was preferable to the safety of a quiescent life in servitude.[6]

Aung San Suu Kyi, Nobel Peace Prize-winner and leader of Burma’s struggle for democracy.

And as this book was being written, its story was being lived out in the actions and voices of the countless ordinary men and women who risked their lives to overthrow tyranny during the Arab Spring.

One such was Khaled al-Johani. Khaled who became known as ‘the only brave man in Saudi Arabia’ after he was the only person to turn up for a pro-democracy demonstration in Riyhad to say ‘I’m here to say we need democracy, we need freedom… I was afraid to speak, but no more.’

Thank you for reading the excerpts from my book. If you have views on what you have read please do leave a comment. I know that people see things differently depending on culture and circumstances so please do join in the conversation on how you think people with these disorders affect your world.

If you like, you can read my most recent blog post here.


[1] Sergei Kovalev, Address to the European Parliament after accepting the Sakharov Prize on behalf of Memorial, Strasbourg, 16 December 2009

[2] Liu Xiaobo,’ I have no enemies: My final statement’, Nobel Lecture in abstentia, 10 December 2010

[3] Quoted in ‘A Night of Extraordinary Women’, The Daily Beast, 14 September 2011

[4] Quoted in New York Times, ‘Parsing the Record of Feisal Abdul Rauf’, 21 August 2010

[5] Ela Bhatt, ‘Empower them through work’, The Elders, 8 March 2010

[6] Aung San Suu Kyi, The Voice of Hope, Rider Press, 2008:8

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