Sunday, October 02, 2005

the ties that bind

I missed this piece from my former human rights professor, Michael Ignatieff, in the New York Times Magazine last weekend. Good stuff about the "broken contract" between the government and its citizens in New Orleans -- and elsewhere in the Gulf Coast -- following Hurrican Katrina.

"Citizenship ties are not humanitarian, abstract or discretionary. They are not ties of charity. In America, a citizen has a claim of right on the resources of her government when she cannot -- simply cannot -- help herself."

There is more --

"Private benevolence cannot heal the wounds -- of humiliation and abandonment -- caused by government failure."

"These social distances between rich and poor, between black and white, are stubborn and are likely to endure, but the most basic duty of public leadership is always to know how the other half lives -- and dies."

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