“Avoid­ing ac­tive dis­cus­sion, in an ef­fort not to have to con­front the more nu­anced eth­i­cal im­pli­ca­tions that might emerge, is no less disin­gen­u­ous”

Financial Mirror (Cyprus) - - FRONT PAGE -

The key to en­forc­ing this ac­count­abil­ity is ac­tive cit­i­zen­ship. Taught in schools around the world, from Canada to the United King­dom, ac­tive cit­i­zen­ship means po­lit­i­cal par­tic­i­pa­tion at ev­ery level. It is not just a nice idea; it a dy­namic and vi­tal con­cept that in­di­vid­u­als, or­gan­i­sa­tions, and in­sti­tu­tions should be putting into prac­tice ev­ery day.

The ethos of ac­tive cit­i­zen­ship ap­plies in ev­ery sphere. Speak­ing up about a con­tro­ver­sial is­sue in a board meet­ing not so long ago, I felt it was im­por­tant to note that I was speak­ing not just as a board mem­ber, but also as a per­son. That recog­ni­tion, how­ever trite it may sound, served as a pow­er­ful re­minder of a broader les­son: that one must main­tain one’s sense of right and wrong, re­gard­less of the cir­cum­stances.

Con­vinc­ing one­self that a de­ci­sion is purely prag­matic, in or­der to avoid knotty eth­i­cal ques­tions, is not an op­tion. If I, as a per­son, be­lieve in pro­tect­ing the en­vi­ron­ment, or seek in my per­sonal life and busi­ness to pro­tect my own se­cu­rity and pri­vacy, I can­not aban­don those be­liefs in the board­room in the name of profit. Avoid­ing ac­tive dis­cus­sion, in an ef­fort not to have to con­front the more nu­anced eth­i­cal im­pli­ca­tions that might emerge, is no less disin­gen­u­ous.

Be­ing an ac­tive and en­gaged cit­i­zen means be­ing au­then­tic and em­pa­thetic. It means con­sid­er­ing not only what an is­sue means for us, in­di­vid­u­ally, but also how it af­fects oth­ers. Many have won­dered why Amer­i­can foot­ball play­ers, who of­ten make mil­lions of dol­lars per sea­son, are protest­ing in­jus­tice. The rea­son is sim­ple: ac­tive cit­i­zen­ship means stand­ing up – or kneel­ing down – for what we be­lieve in, whether it be a gov­ern­ment free of cor­rup­tion or law en­force­ment free of racism.

An ethos of per­sonal in­tegrity and au­then­tic­ity may seem pow­er­less in the face of un­bri­dled greed and nar­cis­sism. And yet the dif­fi­cult and try­ing times in which we find our­selves re­flect the need to place more em­pha­sis, not less, on the val­ues we claim to up­hold, and on de­vis­ing ways to re­alise those val­ues in our com­mu­ni­ties and coun­tries.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Cyprus

© PressReader. All rights reserved.