Observer Editorial-January 2009

The New in the Year

Even as we welcome the blessings of the New Year, we remember the shape and substance of hope for the future.

This hope rests on the recognition that the old year was good, true, but has left us with so many scars, with so many wounds, with so many painful traces in the memory even as we try to make sense of the redeeming stories we can and should remember.

One story is the unforgiving economic meltdown that has affected many of us.

And this story is global--or has become global--as it was a whole scale failure of the globalized economy based on speculation and not, in gist, on our capacity to produce what we need.

Some lessons can be learned from this, and these lessons have something to do with the meaning of "new" in the "New Year".

This sense of newness invites us to do a lot of soul-searching, even as we try to parry all those predictions about what comes to us in the coming year, about which color is going to give us some luck, about which number is going to make us hit something golden, and all other soothsaying this-and-that from some experts about the future life of men and nations and communities.

No, we cannot be held hostage by all these statements that assault us in the morning that we wake up from a good dream about 2010 revealing to us a better revelation about life.

No, we cannot be shanghaied by beliefs that tell us that the positions of the stars and the moon and the sun and the earth will determine when the good luck and the good life will finally come to us.

For the "new" in 2010 is all about substance, meaning, resolve, and faith.

It is the substance of our life ahead: what we can have and what we can become in an ever-renewing sense of what life is all about.

It is about meaning: this constancy of coming to terms with what, indeed, is our life for even as we continually strive to make sense of what was, what is, and what will life be for us in the years ahead.

Certainly, many of us have been tried by 2009.

But certainly, many continue to hang on to the belief that nothing happens that will not give us some sense of who we are if only we tried harder to understand even that which is not easy to understand, and if only we tried harder to accept that which is not easy to accept.

It is about resolve: this inner strength that we need to cultivate in the face of the confusing and the conflicting even as the events come in confusion and in conflict.

By not losing sight of what is--of that which needs to be done in goodness and in fairness--that resolve should remain and should be always there for the summoning when the need arises.

And 2010 is about faith: the faith this year will not come in a silver platter; that it will not offer us all the panacea for all that which ills the world, our lives, and our communities; that it will not come as a manna from the heavens; that it will not be the answer to all our questions; and that it will try us as well.

Rather, the sense of 2010 as our sense of belief is that despite the challenges, we hold onto the renewing power of life, the renewing power of time, the renewing power of people helping each other, the renewing power of communities helping each other, and the renewing power of a world that will come to a fuller understanding of a sense of itself.

A S Agcaoili/FAO, Jan 2010

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