A planet without volcanoes, without earthquakes, is a dead piece of rock with nothing but perhaps fossils or stones for the collectors to examine at their leisure. A planet with volcanoes, with earthquakes, with moving plates is alive, even though those phenomena kill and inflict such terrible loss and pain on those it strikes. Chaos is a very much needed part of life, and without it, Order would simply entomb us in stillness. Entropy, beyond being the focus point of the famous second law of thermodynamics, is the one force that sparked life to everything we know: to the stars we see in the night sky, to this fantastic, ever-developing universe we’re such a tiny, tiny bit of, minuscule ants that we are, and who often delude ourselves into thinking we’re the center of everything--helped in this by the monotheistic religions, which in this aspect as in many others, do nothing other than flatter us and mirror back what we want to hear.
But enough with philosophy.
So 2007 was, like any other year, a year of change. However, looking back I can’t help wondering if the changes that took place aren’t mostly in a direction I’d rather avoid. Of course I’m biased, and I’m sure a great many people would disagree with me, but still.
Let’s start with the bad stuff.
In Iraq, the population has drowned deeper into chaos and terror, all consequences that had been detailed and exposed to the US, and to Mr W Bush, who still decided to go and “liberate” Iraq, a decision among the worst and most ill-advised of these last centuries. Never has the US had a worse president, a president who was reelected nevertheless, by a part of the population who’s either deaf, or blind, or perhaps simply too self-centered and uneducated to see what’s happening beyond the borders of what no longer is a land of hope and dreams. Every single step along
In Belgium, the June 10th election gave birth to a six months-long crisis, which showed how obsessed with themselves and their greed for power some politicians are, chief among them Mr Leterme and Mr Reynders, who’d sell every single citizen of Wallonia to the Flemish interests if it could give him the dubious “throne” of Prime Minister. It served as a revelation of the way Flemish media and extremists maneuver by the nose the “mainstream” parties, who are now little more than pawns in a dirty nationalist extremist game. It showed the Walloons that they should perhaps envision the day when there will no longer be a country named
It also showed, as it has in
And, last but not least, the brighter stuff.
As for me, 2007 allowed me to discover a land of wonders, on the other side of the equator, a land of beauty called
A potential for hope.
The world, when you look at it, is a place of beauty and wonders. When there’s ugliness, you always find people at the source. We are, all of us, hope and despair, light and dark, stillness and movement, order and chaos. We can move. We can think. We can choose. We only need to decide to do so. We only need to take a step back, to take off our blindfolds, to look at ourselves, to look at our world, at our society, and ask this question: is this the way we want to live? Is this the way we want to be? The answer doesn’t have to be “yes”. The answer is what we decide, nothing more and nothing less. There is no foreordained course. No Fate written that we blindly follow. No bearded old man watching from above the clouds. No economical divine law dictating that our lives should be this or that.
We are what we choose to be.
We are strong, much stronger than often we know, or even suspect, but not alone. We are strong when we gather, around ideas, around ideals. All along our history, we have toppled tyrants, unmade monarchs of divine right, brought down castes which oppressed us. How many times have simple people risen against powerful oppressors? Too many to count. Time and again, we’ve done this.
We can do it again.