The first day of 2012: to whom shall I send best wishes for a happy and peaceful New Year? First of all of course to my nearest and dearest, to family, and then to good friends far and near. To those who were once friends but who for some reason or other best known to themselves have dropped out of our lives but who we still remember with affection. To the poor people of Iraq and Afghanistan, Somalia, and any country living under the threat of militant Islam. May their lives be made easier and less frightening. To the mad Mullahs and brainwashed Jihadists themselves, may they find peace and discover that truth does not exist in murder and mayhem, bombs and bullets and that they are as far away from the prophet as it is possible to be. To the Christian fundamentalists who evince such unchristian hatred, ditto. To the Iranian people and the Zimbabweans and any others living in the shadow of a malevolent dictatorship. To those living under regimes that allow torture. To the gays of Ghana, Nigeria, and other African nations reverting to the perceived morality of ancient tribal Israel and the unforgiving religion of the Middle Ages who are liable to lengthy prison sentences, torture, and in some countries even death, simply for being themselves.. To druggies everywhere in the vain hope they may be cured of their addiction and to those who feast and grow rich on their pain. To the sufferers of cancer and HIV and in hopes that a positive cure might at last be found. For the homeless, the destitute, and the starving. For the corrupt politicians of any nation in the hope that this year might possibly see them turn honest and put their country’s and ordinary citizen’s interests first. For the fabulously wealthy both individual and institutional. May they find it in themselves to use some of that wealth to succour those less favoured. To the bankers without conscience who helped create the state the world of finance is in and are still paying themselves millions in bonuses. To the Jewish community in Israel where ultra-orthodox Jews are evidently trying to force their beliefs on those of a more secular frame of mind. You would have thought, thinking of Jewish history, that they would be able to get along without friction in their own land but evidently when it comes to religion such is not the case. For the priests of the Orthodox and Armenian churches who have recently disgraced themselves at Christmas by brawling with broomsticks like hooligans in the Church of The Holy Sepulchre. To oppressed and abused women everywhere.
Love, peace, and a happy New Year to one and all.