It is the New Year madness time once again. The bells have begun to jingle once more, neon-lit Christmas trees adorn the doorways of department stores and the middle-classes of the world are ready to shop, shop, shop till their creditors drop.
What does one do with an entire New Year on hand when the shambles of the last one are still all around us? Does the turning of a page in a paper calendar really change anything that the people of the world have endured since the last commerce-driven celebration?
Just think of what the year 2003 really represents to the future well-being of planet Earth? The US invasion and occupation of Iraq stands out as one of the most despicable acts of not just the passing year but also a lot of recent human history itself. The occupation together with the bogus US War on Terror have set the clocks of our world so far back in time that I am right now trying to catch up on medieval European history. And also looking up the profile of fellows like Attila the Hun and Genghis Khan, only to discover things looked much brighter then than in our times.
There are at least over 50,000 people or more who should have been around to usher in 2004 but who are not around only because the greed and inhumanity of the US establishment did not allow them to. And the tragedy being played out in the killing fields of Iraq has only just begun! God only knows how many more will die due to the continued occupation and, when it is finally ends, the legacy it leaves behind of unexploded ordnance, depleted uranium, disabled citizens and above all the deep mistrust and hatred between countries of the world.
And in the meanwhile the escalation of violence against the Palestinian people, the continued subjugation of the people of Kashmir, the perpetual tensions between India and Pakistan and the decimation of the people of sub-Saharan Africa due to poverty, conflict and disease continued all of last year. Fundamentalists of all hues- Christian, Muslim, Jewish and Hindu too carried on with their misuse of the Creator’s name and kill innocent people using modern devices to further their medieval goals.
Amidst all this doom and gloom there were glimmers of hope too- mostly in the form of people’s resistance against the injustices of our world. The glorious worldwide anti-war marches, the breakdown of the WTO talks in Cancun, the ousting of a neo-liberal President in Bolivia, among other struggles, all point to a future that is not just possible but very much within our reach too.
When the enemies of humanity are trying their best to put all of us to permanent sleep it becomes the duty of all decent human beings to stay awake. And in the absence of a true and powerful awakening even our dreams have to become an act of resistance. So, here is my list of the ten top dreams and wishes I have for the coming New Year. I am already sharpening my pen to tick them off one by one as the year progresses!
The 2004 Wish List:
1) Iraqi national resistance will kick out US occupation forces with least injury to themselves and also the young clueless soldiers of the invading army. The victorious Iraqi forces will then create a new Iraq that will respect the aspirations of all members of their society while returning US soldiers do the same in their country.
2) The US occupation forces will not kill more innocent Afghan and Iraqi men, women and children in their desperation to implement the foolish policies of their political masters. May the soldiers become smarter and their bombs dumber.
3) A tribunal for war crimes and crimes against humanity will prosecute George Bush Jr. and Tony Blair for their war of aggression on Iraq and for making our world a much more dangerous place than it was at the beginning of 2002. The two of them will be sentenced to occupy, together, the spider hole vacated recently by Saddam Hussein.
4) In the absence of such a tribunal- the US plans for a new mission to the moon will materialize soon and we can send Bush, Blair and Ariel Sharon on that trip into space. The remote controls will be given to the prisoners at Guantanamo Bay to compensate for all the misery, suffering and general absence of fun of the past many months.
5) All countries supporting the invasion of Iraq are made to pay for its reconstruction and their companies barred from bidding for the contracts. In particular, the East European regimes, which supported the war, will have to pay for all contracts bagged by the Russians.
6) Having sent Sharon to the moon, the Israelis and Palestinians will agree on a peace settlement that will form a unified Israelistine. The expenses for setting up the new nation will be underwritten by all Western and Eastern countries responsible in the past for persecuting the Jewish people and colonizing the Palestinians.
7) The Indian government will change its foolish policies on Kashmir, establish lasting peace with Pakistan and initiate nuclear disarmament on the subcontinent. Funds from the disbanded nuclear arms industry will be used to improve nutrition levels among children in both India and Pakistan.
8) The arms manufacturers of the world are forced to close down, their assets seized and the resources reused for delivering free healthcare to sub-Saharan Africa. The unemployed arms industry executives can help clear landmines in Angola, Congo, Sierra Leone, Liberia, Sudan —
9) The wealth of all oil companies and automobile manufacturers seized and used to build mass public transport systems. Unemployed executives of Haliburton in particular can be reassigned to plant trees in the Sahara for the next one year.
10) All intellectual property laws and patent right agreements are suspended till an international commission decides who was the first person in human history to invent the phrase ‘Momma, I love ya !’. For that is where all creative inspiration springs from -the unpatentable love between a Mother and her Child.
And with those dreams, here is wishing all of you a very New Year that could surely be Happy, depending on what all of us do to make it so!
Satya Sagar is a journalist based in Thailand. He can be reached at [email protected]