Another year to ponder over..

It hasn't been the greatest of years. The whole world has been spanked by the effects of one of the severest, financial crisis ever. Madoff, the ill-famed fraud, was bestowed with Christmas gifts of serious facial injuries, a few broken ribs and a punctured lung, but we are assured by the prison authorities that it was not due to any aggression. It was said that he fell out of bed..

To culminate the Italian Prime Minister's poor year he was hit by the fourth, largest Cathedral in the world. As such it could have been fatal, but he was saved by the grace of God and the art of miniaturisation.
Even the Pope himself wasn't spared from the aggressive effects of the various campaigns of hate that we have been blest with for most of 2009. Yet another excessive surprise for Christmas.

And sadly we lost Michael Jackson. But such is life- and death- for living legends, and more so for those who are determined to never age and live in Never, Never Land.

Rupert Murdoch made poor use of what once was one of the most reputable newspapers in Great Britain, to try to do as much damage as possible to Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi. He may even have fractionally succeeded, but perhaps he has done far more harm to the once reputable newspaper he unfortunately owns, along with several others. As he is one of the richest men in the world however, such trifles are unlikely to have marred his Christmas.
It's to Barack Obama's credit that, so far at least, he has resisted Murdoch's propositions. Whilst this remains to be the status quo, he is unlikely to fair well in Rupert's tabloids despite the temporary 'truce'. One of Fox News' sketches of him was ... 'just short of a terrorist'. Such is the influence of the press and it's illustrious magnates.

And with Internet of course the wealth of information is such that one can find virtually anything to support what one wants to believe. This is beginning to have an adverse effect, 'the boy who cried wolf phenomenon', when one starts to be wary of what one might wrongly believe to be false information or propaganda.
The effect of repetitive coverage of so many suicide attacks incredibly seems to make one virtually immune to them. If this is so, it would mean that their effect no longer has any real, political influence. Futile, blind and brainless assassinations of innocent people.

The crucial elections of Iran and Afghanistan had full coverage this year, both accused to be fraudulent by the losing oppositions. The West accept the results of the latter but not those of the former. A question of choice based on interests. Principle doesn't enter into it, even if that's what Nato is also  supposed to be defending in Afghanistan.
Yet it's probable that the Afghan fraud was far more massive than that of Iran. Both elected Presidents must assume the consequences. Those of Iran are irreversible, but surely this was part of the regime's program- to clear the stage in order to be able to set Ahmadinejad's 'earth shattering scenario'..
It remains to be seen how many more students and supporters of the opposition they will need to kill or imprison to clear the stage.

There was Climategate then the Copenhagen summit. At least a start which is important in itself, even if the results of the latter appear to be as deceiving as the discovery of the former.

In 2005 there was the Danish Cartoon controversy. Not offensive providing one reached the obvious conclusion that they consisted of a legitimate criticism of Islamic terrorism- or trying to justify the unjustifiable. The violence, hate and intolerance practised for so called 'religious motives'. For those who reason, the offenders weren't the critics, the offenders were, and are still, the subject of such criticism.
Four years later the Swiss voted against minarets in Switzerland. Again the Islamic authorities have taken offence. Perhaps it's easier to condemn the decision of a non Muslim, sovereign State exercising its democratic rights, than to condemn those same offenders who have given- and are still giving- Islam such a bad name.
It's not as though there's any lack of media access for the cleric authorities of Islam to establish once and for all- for the sake of the world's populations of Muslims and non Muslims- the difference between good and evil.

The Taliban want the Occident to believe that the war in Afghanistan is another Vietnam Pandora, more because they would like to believe it themselves. But 'once bitten twice shy'. Nato now knows what's at stake. It may have taken a few years, and a few International mass murders, but at last the authorities  seem to have cottoned on.
Obama however has confidently informed our enemies that the war will end in 2013. Nato will pack up then and go home. If one accepts that this war is international and that it's not necessarily for Afghanistan, which only represents the present epicentre of a deformed Jihad, one might question the wisdom of this confident declaration. Hard to imagine Roosevelt and Churchill making a public announcement in 1939 informing the world that the allies will stop fighting the Nazis and go home in 1942, but of course times change. In 2009 we are blest with leaders who have a much greater foresight capacity.
If the Taliban were intelligent however, (which fortunately- at least so far- doesn't seem to be the case) they would pack up, go home and make babies, then come back in 2013, retake Afghanistan, then take Pakistan. They would then have the whole world at their beck and call..
All food for thought for the slow and steady.

Text and image © Mirino (PW) December, 2009

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