Thu. Jan 27th, 2022

There is much to mourn, much to loathe, and more to fear in these difficult and uncertain times. And yet, given the choice between fear and despair, I choose hope – hope for the extraordinary.

It’s hard to be optimistic about future prospects when the pandemic rages, kills millions and wreaks havoc in the lives and livelihoods of numerous people everywhere; when global warming threatens our existence on this earth; and when poor government’s approach of the first does not bode well to address the second.

But even though it’s hard to see the bigger picture during difficult times, the world is actually better off than it has ever been in the past. Thanks to the efforts and sacrifices of so many, people are generally better nourished, clothed, educated, sheltered, and connected. As a human civilization we are healthier, richer and safer.

And yet, as a Palestinian, I certainly understand why it may sound hollow to the many who have suffered terribly under the pandemic, of war, displacement, poverty and more. I see why many will disagree when there is talk of a new Cold War, of Russia and China invading their neighbors, of Israel launching another war in the Middle East, of dictatorships conspiring and consolidating. But Palestine is not only a tortured homeland living all these horrors, it is also a symbol of relentless struggle for freedom, peace and justice everywhere.

What other choice do we have? Leading a life of fear and trembling is not a life worth living. Pessimism is lazy, indifference is inhuman, and cynicism is just cowardly. Fatalism is a self-fulfilling stupidity and escape to a reimagined past is futile. The answer to our current problems does not lie in the past, but in the future.

And so I think we need to do better; we can do better; we need to do better.

Indeed, my hope lies in our ability to shape our own destiny, in our unprecedented ability to change things for the better for all, if we only call upon the will and courage to do so. Never before in the history of mankind have people anywhere near the expertise, ability and means to deal with social evils and natural disasters, as we do today.

Today’s scientists can predict natural disasters long in advance like never before. Some may downplay, ignore or deny climate change, but they can no longer claim ignorance. Indeed, thanks to science and technology, governments and corporations are obliged to do more to reduce carbon emissions now that it is popular, even fashionable and profitable to invest in a green economy.

Regarding the pandemic, scientists are optimistic that the toll of the coronavirus on world health will “facilitate” this year. They produced a vaccine for COVID-19 in the fraction of the time it took to produce samples for other infectious diseases. The fact that vaccines have not reached everyone who needs them is a political problem, not a scientific one. In 2022, we can work to resolve this as well.

Politics can and should be the pursuit of common will in other ways: the management of power towards better goals.

Many of our problems do not come from a lack of resources, but rather from their mismanagement and redistribution. Why then act helplessly or reluctantly if we can, in fact, tackle inequality, end oppression, prevent war or deal with its consequences?

We can also be better towards each other, if we just shake off indifference and overcome differences, genuine and imaginative, as we have done for the past few years. If the COVID-19 pandemic or climate change has taught us anything, it is that despite the differences, our fate is intertwined.

Above all, life is a personal struggle and a shared journey. Life is meaningless without a meaningful struggle, especially one that is fueled with empathy and passion in the pursuit of, well, happiness. It is now a future worth fighting for; a good fight worthwhile.

Last year ended with a lot of noise about oppression, disruption, stagnation, inflation and so on. But as we embark on a new year, it’s worth remembering that hate and violence have a solid price, while the most valuable assets in life do not have a price tag: love, friendship, family and community are from priceless value, literally and figuratively.

Our civilization has created so much beauty, poetry, music and color. There is so much more to see, feel, embrace, enjoy and achieve.

As the Turkish poet Nâzım Hikmet put it all too eloquently:

The most beautiful sea:
has not yet been crossed.
The most beautiful child:
has not yet grown up.
Our most beautiful days:
we have not seen yet.
And the most beautiful words I wanted to tell you
I did not say yet …

If it’s all a dream, let’s big dream. If we have to open our eyes, let’s look up, look ahead and let it count.

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By admin

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