September, 2005
Vol. 4, Number 9
The SNS Press E–Zine presents new perspectives for a better future in society, politics, religion, education, self-awareness and human relations.

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A hopeful approach for the future of international relations.

Redirect teen rebellion towards idealism and self improvement.

Read excerpts from unpublished book: Science, Religion and the Search for God —Bridging the Gap.

Poems of society, the human condition, and spiritual discovery.

Our student activities and curriculum materials instill an environmental, cultural, and global perspective, and integrate various academic disciplines.


This Month's Article


Malice or Neglect?

The faces of anguish and helplessness on the victims of Robert Mugabe's "urban cleanup" in Zimbabwe's capital, Harare, last June, were like the faces of those seen in Louisiana and Mississippi this past week. Mugabe's "drive out the rubbish" campaign left more than 200,000 people homeless as bulldozers turned the dwellings of Zimbabwe's poorest neighborhoods into piles of rubble. Human rights groups and the international community condemned this aggressive behavior by Mugabe aimed at the poor, his biggest political opponents.

In the aftermath of hurricane Katrina, Americans and the international community were horrified at the human suffering and destruction caused by this natural disaster. Many condemn the government for negligent behavior before, during and after the disaster. In a nation that prides itself as being the most advanced scientifically and culturally, the lack of preventative measures is a shame if not a crime.

Evidence of neglect, of both the environment and the people, reveal a government that did not heed the warnings, nor support the solutions offered, in order to lessen the potential human toll of an immanent catastrophe. On the contrary, the "no child left behind" president made excuses for the slowness of response, telling interviewer Diane Sawyer, "I don't think anyone anticipated the breach of the levees." Others on his team apparently were not aware of the desperate, dehydrated, stranded and dying victims of Katrina. David Brooks, conservative columnist for the New York Times, wrote, "Leaving the poor in New Orleans was the moral equivalent of leaving the injured on the battlefield."

Why compare what a leader of a third world country did out of malice to what leadership did not do in the United States? Both malice and neglect equally cause human suffering, and both are caused by incompetence and selfishness. Both malice and neglect are to be equally condemned when they are the results of official government policy negatively impacting the lives of its citizens. A parent would face criminal prosecution if abuse and endangerment of his or her children were the result of either malice or negligence. Both malice and neglect in those who characterize themselves as "leaders" are dangerous and wrong. They must not be tolerated. The obligation of leadership is to look out for all people who depend upon them and to promote their well-being.

Leaders become selfish when they are using their positions for the benefit of a few at the expense of the rest of the people. They act out of fear, greed and ignorance. These are the bases for malicious and negligent behavior. Poverty and disaster exist because of past wrongs. They still exist because the leaders, and the people who choose them, have failed the test of serving the common good. Poor people challenge our own sense of security and well-being. If we can not open our hearts and meet their needs we have failed as human beings. Our leaders who fail this test do not deserve to lead. Disasters and poverty show us the fragility of existence. Unless a society can create a more secure world for all, we may never feel safe and at peace no matter how wealthy and "advanced" we are.

© 2005 Richard Sidy


While it is easy to find fault with the blunders made by those responsible for relief, it is better if we learn the lessons revealed about leadership so that we choose our leaders more wisely in the future. In keeping with the purpose of "Seeking New Solutions" the following series of articles give critera for leadership (while the focus of the series is on diplomats it is relevant for all leadership):

Five-part series on Leadership

Poem written after the tsunami last December 26th:

"The Wake of Distaster"

Click on the following links to read editorial comments about the impact of Katrina from the New York Times that illustrate the breakdown of leadership and its wide-reaching effects upon our culture and lives. (It is possible that you will need to register in order to read the editorials.) Their opinions do not necessarily reflect the opinions of SNS Press

Maureen Dowd, NY Times, Sept 3, 2005 "The United States of Shame"

Paul Krugman, NY Times, Sept 2, 2005 "The Can't-Do Government"

NY Times Editorial, September 1, 2005 "Waiting for a Leader"

David Brooks, NY Times, September 4, 2005 "The Bursting Point"


American Red Cross:
Donate to Hurricane Katrina Relief

Archives 2005
Volumn 4
January: "Standing up for Humanity"
February: "The Wake of Disaster" – a poem
March: "Unity in Diversity
April: "Life is Calling"
May: "Entertainment" – a poem
June: "Thought and Imagination" part 1
July: "Thought and Imagination" part 2
August: "Imagination and Healing"
September: "Malice or Neglect? – Lessons of Katrina"
October: "Protecting Children"
November: "Intelligent Design or Evolution?"
December: "Building with one hand, destroying with the other"
Archives 2006
Volumn 5

January: "Conflict, Harmony, and Integrity"
February: "Satyagraha or Soul-force and Political Change"
March: "I Know I'm Not Alone - Wisdom of Michael Franti"
April: "Human Programming and Conflict Part I"
May: "Human Programming and Conflict Part II"
June: "Soccer Diplomacy"
July: "Sustainable Development is Nature's Way
August: "Parallel Universes"
September: "The News is not New"
October: "Legalizing Torture"
November: "Living Without an Enemy"
December: "Fast Food is really Slow Food"

Archives 2007
Volumn 6

January: "State of Fear"
February: Criminal Justice - "The Powerful Over the Weak"
March: "Culture Shock: The Good Life and Survival"
April: "March Madness"
May: "No Child Left Behind" Leaves Many Teachers Behind
June: "Personal Ecology"
July: Criminal Justice - "The Ethic of Custodianship"
August: "Exploring the Mind - part 1"
September: "Exploring the Mind - part 2: The Poetic Mind
October: "How Much Pain Can We Stand?"
November: "When Languages Disappear"
December: "Is it Enough to be Tolerant?"

Archives 2008
Volumn 7

January: "Beyond Ideology: Politics of the Future "
February: "Beyond the Bush Years"
March: "The Imaginary Economy - Part I
April: "The Imaginary Economy - Part II
May: Questions from Prison
June: "iGods and Connectivity"
July: "Energy Independence"
August: "Tribalism and the 2008 Elections
September: "Guilt, Shame and U.S. Justice"
October: "Have We Been Willing Slaves?"
November: "Are We Ready for the Future?"
December: "Are we done learning from pain?"

Archives 2009
Volumn 8

January: "Awakening"
February: "When Sacrifice is no Sacrifice"
March: "The Good New Days"
April: "The Power of Metaphor"
May: "The Conflict of Mythologies"
June: "The Time is Right"
July: "The New Anarchy"
August: "The Art of Living"
September: "Outrage"
October: "Are Women Becoming More Unhappy?

November: "Effect of the manufacturing culture on the American Psyche"
December: Who are the Real Game Changers?

Archives 2010
Volumn 9

January: The Music of Place
February: Earthquakes and Other Awakenings
March: Sense of Place, Sense of Self, Sense of Humanity
April: Why Do People Serve?
May: Decentralizing Food and Energy
June: Beyond Reading and Writing — Ecological literacy
July: Organization or Organism?
August: Fear and Cynicism = “Inter-fear-ance”
September: Are we afraid of our "Better Angels?"
October: Choosing Our Battles
November: Meeting the Need
December: A Living Canvas

Archives 2002: Vol. 1, Numbers 1-12
Read past articles including:
Hope for the Future
Six Part Series on Science and Religion
First Three Parts of the Series on Leadership
Archives 2003: Vol. 2, Numbers 1-12
Read past articles including:
Series on Leadership continued
Avoiding Dictatorship in a Free Society

Art and Politics
Living the Good Life

Teaching Teens
World Peace in Less Than a Month?
Archives 2004: Vol. 3, Numbers 1-12
Read past articles including:
Seven Part Series on Global Consciousness
Is "Liberal" a Dirty Word?
Can Idealism Solve Problems?
Peace on Earth, Goodwill to All
Poetry Diplomacy Science and Religion Teen Help
Archives 2002 Archives 2003 Archives 2004
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