Friday, December 12, 2014

The end (of the year) is nigh

It's that time of the year again, when one must reckon with the annual past ritualistically, in the fetishistic, aggrandizing, reconciliatory fashion that is our wont, lest the next year be as full of disappointment, anger and regret as this one has. We all want to believe that we do learn something about the world each year and will on ourselves a kind of heaped knowledge count that will accrue in some agglomerated measure of gratitude. Gratitude to whatever higher (or lower) power that life has indeed provided us with real progress, not just the delusional sense of it.
What if we reverse the trend... not so much go against the grain as invert it... and focus on all that we would have liked to have learnt but haven't... and more convolutedly, do all this while putting ourselves in the shoes of our brethren from around the world whose past year hasn't really afforded them any real opportunity for much to be grateful for?
What has the year taught us, the Palestinians? That life does not reward a sense of dignity, does not reckon with courage and honour, does not respect a righteous fight. That whatever one does and whatever one believes pales into insignificance in the face of power, wealth and national alliances that are so removed from a basic human sensitivity to our perspective as to render the wanton and regular killing of our children unworthy of too much fuss.
What has the year taught us, the Chinese citizens of Hong Kong? That progress does not go backward in time. That a hundred and fifty-seven years of submission to the rule of foreigners does not guarantee us a right to self-determination after a further fifteen years of rule by our own. That we must succumb to the same old jaded sense of resignation to the fact that those in power will never give it up, never mind the poetry of their tongues or the colour of their skins.
What has the year taught us, the Syrians? That we belong to a region of the world that the rest of the world has given up on, that regards as beyond redemption, beyond brotherhood, beyond help. That we are caught in a time-warp of our own making. That if we only could shed our names, our beliefs, our faith, our history, then we will have perhaps won the sympathy of the peoples of the world, but not their intercession to escape the daily horror of our lives.
What has the year taught us, the Mexicans, Ukrainians, Balochistanis, Somalis, Afghans, and Iraqis? That unless we open up our farms, divest our businesses, end our central banks' independence, receive unnecessary advice and even less meaningful instruction from wolves in expensive haircuts and drab suits, we will continue to be mired in this seemingly endless cycle of violence and intolerance from which our future generations will have a much harder time extricating themselves, after knowing only the despair and misery that comes from a lifetime of imminent expendability.

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