2009 Wishes

These past few days, I have been wishing everyone “A Very Happy New Year” and receiving similar wishes. I do hope that the coming year is a happy one for my friends and colleagues, but having just put down the New York Times and The Guardian, the “Happy” part of my usual New Year wish sounds so insensitive to me! Am I saying that I hope you and I will be “happy” while the world around us is in tears – witnessing death, illness, rape, violence and war? No, this wish doesn’t sound right. And to say I wish 2009 would be happy for the whole world is again, unrealistic and insensitive.
How can those who are being plummeted by rockets in Gaza, facing guns in Somalia or Sudan, being raped in the Congo, burying their malnourished children in Zimbabwe, displaced from their homes in northern Sri Lanka or living in the fear and under the threat of a random attack from one group or another in almost every country of the world, suddenly find 2009 a happy year?
While we are at it, let’s not forget the crumbling economy – those who have lost their businesses, their jobs, their homes, all their savings and some even their lives…the world today, is indeed more bleak than it has ever been. So, my plea to all is, let’s try not to seek that “happiness” in 2009 or even wish each other that “happiness.”
Let us wish that we get anxious, restless and even angry. Let us seek that discomfort for ourselves. It will help us wake up, develop the ability to feel the pain of another, speak up, take some action – however small, and prevent us from drowning in our personal greed and selfishness. May we become more sensitized, more aware and more energetic. Maybe then, we can start thinking of our own happiness and happiness for all.
Let us allow all those living in war, violence, poverty and through every kind of suffering, to feel pain, to grieve and to mourn. Let us not ask them to forget and move on. Let us try to feel their pain. And, when they are ready to move on, let us walk with them.
This, my dear friends and family, is my wish for you and me for the New Year.

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