Like every year before , and perhaps at a slightly higher level, 2014 has brought blessings and bereavement to many and joy and sorrow to some.
I grieve for the thousands and their families who have died in combat, no matter on which side of a war they were in: In Israel and Palestine, in Crimea and Ukraine, and in many other places too.
My heart goes out most of all to the countless men and women and children who, for no fault of theirs, became victims of ruthless terror, indiscriminate killings, belligerent bombings, unexpected diseases and sudden accidents on land, on sea and in the air.
I shed silent tears for their families, in Pakistan and Assam, in Nigeria and Somalia, in planes and in cruise ships and elsewhere too. I sob in secret for all the refugees and victims in Iraq and Syria and elsewhere too.
I shudder at the growing power and determination of the dreamers of a new Caliphate: not because their longing not legitimate, but because of the means they are adopting to actualize that dream: barbaric beheadings, mass massacres and the exploitation and the suppression of woman.
I am saddened by the failure in attempts at compromise between the West and Iran on the nuclear issue, by the deterioration of relations between Russia and the NATO counties, and by the needless provocation of North Korea.
But I am also happy that there are sections of humanity that participate in sports, such as the Olympics in Sochi and the FIFA World Cup in Brazil, in the Meistersinger at the MET, in various musical events, plays, and book-clubs all over the world, in traditional feasts and religious festivals.
I share in the jubilation of the majority when the candidates on their choice won the elections in democratic countries. I rejoice with the people of India in the successful Mars Mission of her scientists, and I am happy for the majority in India who overwhelmingly chose a new Prime Minister (Mr. Narendra Modi) under whose leadership, they hope, there will be many positive changes in the country: changes which are certainly possible without destroying the nation’s democratic, inclusive, and secular framework.
I am thrilled by the scientific-technological achievement of the European Space Agency whose spacecraft Rosetta successfully deposited the probe Philae on the comet 67P at a distance of some 310 million miles.
With all that 2014 has not been a happy year for humanity as a whole. The growing gap between the rich and the poor within and among nations is showing all the malaise that had brewed for a few decades in France before the bloody bath unleashed in 1789. Aside from this there are indications that more economic turmoil, political dangers, and ecological disasters are lurking everywhere.
All I can do is to pray for sanity, peace, and humanity’s well being in the year that is breaking out all over the globe even as I write these lines.
December 31, 2014: 10: 40 P.M.