PEACE ON EARTH GOODWILL TOWARDS MEN
By Vincent Lyn
December 2022 will soon end and we will enter into the new year of 2023. For the Chinese it will be the 'Year of the Rabbit.' Rabbits symbolize prosperity, abundance, good luck, and fertility. Unlike many other animals, its symbolism is consistent. If we extrapolate the symbolism of the rabbit onto a global scale, should we be optimistic for a better world or should we resign ourselves as ultimate pessimists living in a brutal beautiful world in 2023 where things are but such things better for. bad? At this time of the year, we hail out to each other with greetings and pleasures such as 'Seasons Greetings! 'Happy Holidays!' and 'Merry Christmas'!
But with all the merriment and jollification that characterizes the Christmas season, there is that persistent but somber hallmark greeting, 'Peace on Earth and Goodwill Towards Men.' Added to that clarion call, are the words in that melancholic carol that reminds each and every one of us that notwithstanding, 'We Live In This World of Sin.' '...The Hopes and Fears of all the Years are Met in You Tonite.' meaning Christmas night. True, 'the hopes and fears of all the years ' do weigh heavily on the shoulders of men and women all over the world. The coronavirus pandemic dealt a devastating blow to rich and poor, people and country. Poverty reduction globally has been thrown into a tailspin.
United Nations statistics show that 'the number of people living in extreme poverty has 'increased for the first time in a generation and an additional 100 million people are living in extreme poverty in 2022, compared with pre-pandemic projections.' Tens of millions of refugees, homeless, abused and trafficked women, starving and displaced people including children sleep either on sidewalks or under bridges, while others are on the move knocking on the doors of countries marked 'NO ENTRY' demanding admission with the hope for a better life. The impact of the pandemic, coupled with the Russia-Ukraine war has wreaked havoc in the global economy bringing in its wake rising inflation, a log jam in international sea transportation and a disruption in the supply chain in goods and services. Cumulatively,they have added to humanity's suffering.
As for 'Peace on Earth, Goodwill Towards Men' political and social upheavals in countries around the world are an everyday occurrence. The struggle for political power manifests itself in the conduct or attempts at fraudulent elections, the rise of authoritarianism, the rise of authoritarianism, the and ethnic tensions, attempts to dismantle the guardrails of democracy, legal warfare, undermining the rule of law, coups and counter coups, festering corruption, parliamentary maneuvers, jailing of political opponents and the assassination of indigenous our activists red harbolist all… encouraged by mankind. And as though 'The Hopes and Fears' are not enough for mankind to bear, according to the US-based, Council on Foreign Relations, 'Global Conflict Tracker;' there are currently 27 ongoing conflicts worldwide.
The tracker categorizes conflict into three groups: “worsening,” “unchanging,” and “improving.” Right now, there's not a single conflict described as “improving.” Of those worsening, are the Russia/Ukraine war, political instability in Lebanon and Syria, the Rohingya crisis in Myanmar, violence and brutality in the Occupied West Bank in Palestine, Afghanistan and Somalia, the Democratic Republic of Congo and the Central African Republic and Mali. According to the Stockholm Peace Research Institute in 2021, 2.2% or US $2,113 trillion of the world's GDP was spent in the military sector. Only a small portion of this global military spending would be enough to eliminate hunger, provide clean water and remove curable diseases from the world.
The reasons for the outbreak of conflict range from territorial disputes and regional tensions, to corruption and dwindling resources due to climate change. A number of world leaders and their relatives have either been extradited, jailed, under house arrest or awaiting trials of corcharge and/or embezzlement of state funds. On the flip side, governments perceived to be undemocratic and opposed to western values as in Cuba, China, Iran, Nicaragua, Peru, North Korea and Russia are targeted and subjected to persistent embargoes, externally supported upprisings, as well as sanctions or plots aimed at regime change. The old adage that 'No News is Good News' has been turned upside down. Nowadays, there is rarely any good news.
The international TV networks provides us on a daily basis with 'breaking news' that conflicts are on the rise around the world. As the years go by, there have been instances where International law is constantly disregarded with impunity, criminal and terrorist networks, as was unearthed in Germany recently, continue to hatch and plot nefarious activities aimed at subverting established democracies and the wanton destruction of human lives. There are some who hold the view that it is better to view reality with open eyes and order our priorities based on a clear assessment of what we hear and what we see. Yes, the world is full of suffering, marked by death, rent by entropy; but it is also filled with beauty, wonder and opportunities for love and compassion not only at Christmas time but all year round.
The point is we should not close our eyes to the world’s flaws, at the same time, we should give reality its due. As the author, Annie Dillard, observes in “Pilgrim at Tinker Creek” (1974): ‘Cruelty is a mystery, and the waste of pain. But if we describe a world to compass these things, a world that is a long, brute game, then we bump up against another mystery: the inrush of power and light, the canary that sings on the skull … “In the end, both the optimist and the pessimist have it wrong, because each is looking at only part of the evidence.”’ Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year to all at home and abroad!
CEO/Founder at We Can Save Children
Deputy Ambassador of International Human Rights Commission (IHRC)
Director of Creative Development at African Views Organization
Economic & Social Council at United Nations
Editor in Chief at Wall Street News Agency
Rescue & Recovery Specialist at International Confederation of Police & Security Experts