Thank You To Our Readers, and Merry Christmas!
Perhaps one statistic describes the year just gone more than any – assuming one is not under siege in Aleppo or trying to make it across the Med in a leaky, overcrowded vessel.
At the beginning of this year if one had the counter-intuitive foresight to place a modest £1 bet on Leicester City to top the Premiership, the UK to vote for Brexit and Donald Trump to be elected US President that hundred pennies would be worth £4.5 million. That, more than anything, is testament to what a topsy-turvy year it has been.
Ironically, in this year of celebrations of the 1916 Rising, which ultimately led to Irish independence, we saw a rise of a different kind of nationalism in this country – one which has generated political and economic uncertainty in both Britain and Ireland. It may even ultimately undermine the entire EU, that noble post-war project which has largely succeeded in its aims of preventing war between neighbours and bringing democracy to former Communist countries.
But you’d be hard pressed to know that from the media and political comment in this country. This past year has been salutary, seeing lies, untruths, distortions and hate-mongering prevail in two of the most important political contests – and all we could do was watch in impotent astonishment as the likes of Nigel Farage, Vladimir Putin, Marine Le Pen and Bashar Assad preen.
So in the spirit of 1916 we must look to ourselves – not for armed rebellion but to bring about a better and more just society by our own actions on a modest scale and within our own families and communities through small deeds of kindness or understanding.
One of the lessons of the past year must be that it would be foolhardy to predict even the immediate future with any certainty but if we do try to set a tone of fellowship and kindness within our own community we at least shouldn’t have cause to apprehend what that future holds.
Thank you for continuing to be regular readers of the Irish World and may all of us here wish you, your families and friends good health and fortune and every happiness in the forthcoming year.