Editorial-The Year 2014: Ours to make it the best yet

2013-12-31 18:30:00

In a sense today is another day.  Just another day.  The sun came up like it did yesterday and as it will tomorrow.  So too will it set.  And yet, the first day of January is special and treated as such; a fresh page on a new diary, a new leaf marking a new chapter.  
It’s not the real aluth avurudda of course, for that particular day in April is celebrated in ways that puts January first to shame and embedded with meaning that is unmatched by any other day in the calendar.  And yet, again, it is special.  There is kiribath at home and work place, furious texting of wishes to everyone on one’s contact lists, Facebook greetings etc.   

Social processes pause but are not trumped by ‘special days’ so demarcated by human beings who ascribe meaning to the movement of the stars.  The issues of yesterday will inevitable nudge us all at some point in the manner of observing, ‘hey, sorry if we are interrupting the party, but there’s stuff you have to deal with, y’know?’  
Look back at the world, the nation, neighbourhood and family and you will find, like always, things to be happy about and things to regret.  This world and this life after all are made of praise and blame, fame and notoriety, profit and loss, joy and sorrow.  The skies are not always blue.  There are clouds, often, some pretty and some foreboding.  

But January 1st is a pivot, if we want it to be one.  It is a vantage point from where we can look back without anger and look ahead with hope.  We can list the good and bad of the year that has passed and come up with a balance sheet.  It’s good to do that.  

Review makes for assessment of decisions made and the acknowledgment of error.  On the other side lies the future.  We could drag the gloom of days gone by and cast it all over the days, weeks and months that are to follow.  We could on the other hand pick up those random pieces of blue sky conceded unwillingly by a rainy afternoon and work at spreading the good news or rather expanding the goodness.  

"This country has plenty of history to draw from, has the capacity to learn from the examples of others, and the will to do better"

It is easy to be Doom’s Day Prophets.  Nations and communities do not reach civilizational peak and remain there forever.  Neither do they languish in quicksand for all time and an extra day. People and collectives are of course products of circumstances.  They are located in structures that permit and forbid.  At the same time they are endowed with a thing called agency.  They can re-shape those circumstances.  

It is about making the best of what one has.  It is about learning from error, being humble to acknowledge frailty, having the courage to change and the wisdom to choose from multiple options those which have the better chances of delivering what is desired.  

This country has seen gloomy days.  The year 2013 was not the worst we’ve known in remembered and lived history.  Indeed, one would be hard pressed to think of better years.  That of course doesn’t mean we’ve peaked; it may just be that we are floundering in some less-than-average place.  We don’t need to remain their forever.  
This country has plenty of history to draw from, has the capacity to learn from the examples of others, and the will to do better.  
The year 2014 can be the best yet.  If we decide to make it the best, that is.  Either way it is up to all of us, each citizen, each political party, every social category, every state institution, every NGO, every religious fraternity, every collective in fact to decide what we want and work hard.

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