As 2004 fades and a New Year starts we have an opportunity to reflect on what has happened over the last 12 months. A period where W has been returned to power, the Olympics have taken place and many a new song has arrived that we can hum to for an instance.
Ws election result suggested a 50:50 divide on opinion and approach to US and world stage policies and direction. The 2004 Olympics did yield a sense of worldly togetherness although their backdrop and departing legacies have become increasingly commercialised.
Let us also not forget those unfortunates that have spent yet more time in places such as Guantanamo Bay and Belmarsh. They are unfortunates because today laws are being interpreted and adapted to restrain public or formal hearings. We need an opportunity to reveal the truth behind these cases.
Survivors of human rights abuses in Darfur are being denied justice while perpetrators remain free. Unfair emergency laws, which oppress the victims, must end and a system of justice rebuilt to establish peace in Sudan. This requires trust and partnership between supporting agencies and the Sudanese government. The United Nations must demonstrate the power to facilitate a solution.
As the violence in Iraq continues, there is hope for elections in early Jan05. However, child mortality is still an issue of concern. Even before the current conflict began, many children were malnourished and one in eight died before the age of five.
Twenty years on, the Bhopal plant continues to ruin the lives of the surrounding communities. The effects of the leak and the contaminated environment continue seriously to affect people’s basic human rights.
Twenty years on, there is still no justice for the Sikhs that were murdered in Delhi and throughout India, due to instigated communal violence. Instead known suspects have been promoted!
Despite the near universal embrace of standards for protecting childhood, a new UNICEF report shows that more than half the worlds children are suffering extreme deprivations from poverty, war and HIV/AIDS, conditions that are effectively denying children a childhood and holding back the development of nations. Richer nations can help by reducing crucifying debt situations.
There are many negatives but every year we start with optimism. This optimism is usually self-centred around New Years resolutions. What we forget is that what we have left behind will still be with us in the future unless we unite and in choose a cause. A cause that allows each of us to make a difference. This can be done by selecting a charity or working with your own locally based voluntary organisation.
It starts from our own attitude to life, to give selflessly and in our own way.
Only then can we build a future that we can look back on and be proud of. Its not too late to make the 21st century a generation where we all work together to make a difference.
Best Wishes for 2005 and beyond!