What an awful year! Earthquakes, floods, volcanic irruptions, epidemics, yet more revelations of priestly pedophelia, and finally such a white Christmas that too many who planned to go anywhere were grounded or snowed in. God must be getting angry.
Even Iran finished up having trouble making ends meet, and earlier on in 2010 we were all beginning to think that the one whose name almost everyone now knows how to spell, would begin to carry out his ungodly plans in 'His' name. Nature, by it's own laws, always has the final word. This then must include human nature, therefore it has to apply to money. After all, war is a costly business. The war against the Taliban will therefore be as endless as the unlimited, financial support they obviously benefit from. That Obama finally decided to stretch things a bit more regarding when, in his modest opinion, the war will end, (at least for the USA, which would logically include Nato) won't unfortunately alter the truth of this basic equation.
It seems incredible that civilisation now casts a yearning glance back to the 1930s, when Muslims such as Atatürk had it all sorted out so reasonably, responsibly, maturely and in an up to date way, even then. When Lebanon was a multicultural jewel, the fine example of what can be achieved in the Middle-East.
How is it possible that 75 years or so later, so much of the Muslim world seems to have regressed beyond all hope and reason? Where are the Atatürks of our epoch? The only Muslim authorities who seem to have the most clout, are mad, radical clerics.
While in Europe we still seem to be sadly reduced to counting our euros. The ECB certainly can't be eligible for the first prize for prevision. By not appreciating the real difficulties their strong-euro 'bundesbank policy' would eventually create for southern European countries and 'out on a limb' Ireland, Monsieur Trichet and company seem to have fallen, with the euro, into their own trap. The only positive outcome is that in spite of the belatedly, lowered interest rates still being higher than those in the USA and the UK, the euro, ironically- and sadly too late for too many- has fallen to a more correct exchange value. As dismally, the european stock exchanges have finished the year more or less at the same level they were at the end of 2009 if not 2008.
In France the opposition, if any, has spent the year shuffling about without much conviction. Mme. Royal has tried hard to persuade herself that her time has come once more to figure as the opposition's number one star on their political stage. The only real hope for the party- that appears to be as dated as it's clumsy logo- would be Mr. Stauss Kahn. But he seems to believe that his post with the IMF is more prestigious than representing the Socialists for the next presidential elections. Considering that, plus the precious time needed for his more private pursuits referred to in a book by 'Cassandre', also published in 2010, he might be right.
Assange's assailments also began this year to harass our heads of States. Many of the more important leaks, regarding Afghanistan, for example, should already have been common knowledge. Other, even more important information in this regard, has been openly published in book form, even alluded to on Viewfinder, but as far as I know, although such facts must have been classified, they have never been divulged by WikiLeaks.
Taking on such a weighty engagement of exposing State secrets should require careful and responsible choice-determining consideration. But by all accounts, being careful and responsible doesn't seem to figure among Julian Assange's priorities.
The year is also ending sadly for the Ivory Coast. Laurent Gbagbo refuses to pack bags and go, insisting that the election results were rigged and that he is the victim of an 'international' plot led by the former colonial power France, to oust him. Mr. Ouattara, however, has been recognised internationally as the legitimate victor. The difference is there.
We all know, for example, that the elections in Afghanistan were massively fraudulent, but Karzai is recognised internationally as the legitimate victor. If that creates a problem for the first concerned, the Afghanis, made up of various ethnics, (unfortunate enough not all to be Pachtoun, thus neither adequately represented nor adequately protected) perhaps they will get over it. At least Karzai's opponent, Doctor Abdullah is a gentleman. As the right hand man of Massoud, it could hardly be otherwise. Hopefully his time will time, before it's too late.
Berlusconi has again proved to the world that he, (money and the media) are immortal. This whilst everyone, all political tendencies combined, was hoping that the Italian page would at last be voltata. But even 'incoherent reason' must prevail if there's still no one to replace him or willing to do so. In Italy the year ends on the same, smelly note corresponding with that of the beginning of Berlusconi's PM reign after Prodi's exit. 3,600 tons of Naples' rubbish (recorded in November of 2010) were left in the streets to rot and cause serious health risks again. 1400 tons still remain to add their fetore to the festivities of Naples' New Year's Eve.
But to return to the Ivory Coast. Considering the religious upheaval in the world, it seems curious that Mr. Gbagbo of the Christian south has less International support (which means that of the USA) than Mr. Ouattara of the Muslim North. And this, even without going into what could be a legitimate, constitutional argument on Gbagbo's part. But perhaps it's another sign of our times, or maybe we return to the final word dictated by the laws of Nature, which must include human nature, therefore it has to apply to money..
Might this also suggest yet another case of- l'homme propose, l'Occident dispose..?
In spite of such merciless, malodorous and mercenary notes, let this end with sincere good wishes to everyone for a far more positive, peaceful, prosperous and more pleasantly perfumed New Year!
Text by Mirino. Image by kind permission of artist, David McKee, with thanks. © December, 2010