Wednesday, 21 December 2011

Courage in high places in short supply

Filed under: Africa files,Media and Conflict,Myanmar,Nonviolence,Peaceworkers in the news — story spotted by Catherine Morris @ 08:04 PDT

New York, NY – When John F Kennedy was running for office, he wrote a book with the help of a prominent historian and political adviser. That volume, Profiles in Courage, became a bestseller because the public wanted – and still wants – leaders they can admire.

The problem is that in an age of big money politics, polls and political consultants, courage among our politicians is dwindling fast. The courageous politician appears to be an endangered species that “lives” only in history books, but not in the present era.

Former CBS newscaster Dan Rather used the term “courage!” to end his newscasts. When he showed real courage in exposing President Bush’s non-existent war record, he was pushed out of his anchor chair for his bravery.

There are some – though few – exceptions. The recently departed Czech leader Vaclav Havel was one, perhaps because he was an outspoken human rights activist and playwright. A book about his work in theatre is entitled Acts of Courage. Havel wrote that when “courage to act against unfreedom is boiled down to mere calculations of risk, then courage ceases to be courage”.

Nelson Mandela also showed courage, as did FW DeKlerk when he finally let him out of prison. Myanmar’s Aung San Suu Kyi is on the courage list along with a small minority of others.

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