Three New Year Lists
A new year is upon us.
This time of year for me is always one of reflection, about learning from past mistakes and making resolutions to try better for next year. It is also a time of hope and possibility of all the things that can be.
And as I think back, there are things I want to remember in going forward to greet a new year. I've prepared three lists with these in mind.
A Wish List
- I want to remember the little Iraqi boy Ali who lost both his arms at the end of March 2003, during the Iraq war, when an American rocket exploded next to his home. Almost six years on Ali plays football for the two disabled teams of London's top clubs, Chelsea and Tottenham, and he has never lost the passion to live or to dream. None of us can fail to be inspired by such a perfect example of the human spirit, and I wish to instil that spirit into everything I do in 2009.
- I want to constantly be vigilant and not be complacent about my view of war, and even when I do celebrate past wars, that I am mindful not to glorify war, but respect the sacrifice made for peace. Moreover, in remembering those who died doing what they believed was their duty, I also want to honour conscientious objectors who were mistreated as traitors, because they thought serving their country would betray their pacifist conscience. Their fight, in some respects, requires more courage.
- I want to keep it a constant reminder in my mind that when we continue to kill each other in the name of God, no religion can claim the moral high ground. No Muslim, Jew or Christian has been given a VIP pass by their belief to kill indiscriminately. Abraham taught sacrifice, Moses taught righteousness, Jesus taught forgiveness and Mohammed taught love for all mankind through God. We are so far from the teachings of these great men that it is not surprising if we have begun to believe we live in a forsaken world.
- I want to remember how one man with a funny name had the courage and conviction to inspire change in a country that has the potential to be the greatest hope for our world, because it dares to dream. Barack Obama, showing us at the very least keeping a cool head wins the day when people are waging a hate campaign against you, is an example of when a man's character surpasses the colour of his skin he can inspire not just his own country, but the whole planet to change.
- But, I want to keep in mind that America in the same breath can break people's spirit, too. If the 2008 US Presidential Election brought change, in some of its states it brought a ban on same-sex marriages, and introduced us to the anti-Obama alternatives it could next impose on our world - and how the media may hide the improprieties of candidates during election time. And it must be remembered that not even Obama is above criticism.
- Finally, I want to remember that we all have the potential to be better than what we are, and that the need to better ourselves is stronger than the need to destroy. I want to keep the hope I was filled with to read that teachers in England will have to act as "role models" both in and out of school under a proposed new code of conduct in the new years ahead, something I have long advocated for, arguing that our children deserve the type of teachers that taught me when I was a child. Our children are not wild animals we should be frightened of; we must be their inspiration, not their lion tamers.
A Dream List
I have a few dreams I want to follow in 2009, which I want to share as they might impact on the blog. Great or small, they all share the need to know balance:
- Although the financial crisis of 2008 hasn't affected me as I have never followed a policy of accumulating economic wealth, it has made me realise how modern society has our minds so tied up in its complex workings, we rarely have time to take a breather or go greener.
I am considering, therefore, taking a short sabbatical from technology as much as possible. In effect I'd like to get back to my library books, writing letters, newspapers, my long walks and my yoga and abstain from the Net, TV and all the modern stuff that has us hooked up to stare at bright tubes of light everyday. I want to remember what it was like to word process with fingers and brain, and not have a computer do the thinking for me. Plus, I love libraries, and have really missed the feel and smell of them - and their atmosphere of busy silence.
But as much as going back to basics and meeting real, new people is a very exciting prospect, I know I have to be practical and have obligations to my friends on the Net, too. So, I haven't made my mind up yet, and may just try this for a month or two, or just see if I can strike a comfortable balance and reduce the impact of technology has on my life on a weekly basis.
- I am also taking the Tarkan section of my blog under consideration, and am in talks with my Tarkan team including Adelind Osmanli and Mark Mayhey, as I have concerns over the treatment of his fans, especially in the last part of 2008.
Despite official sources continuing to write in and tell us the opposite, I have been receiving what can only be described as nightmare emails from hundreds of fans over their mistreatment during the Belgian show fiasco and other concerts in his 2008 Tour, including from members of his fan community that have been supporting him for nearly a decade.
There are so many of mails, instead of publishing them publicly or responding to each one individually, I have decided that Tarkan Deluxe must take some action, instead, because Tarkan Deluxe has never been for Tarkan, but for Tarkan fans. There are plans for the blog's team to take the injured voice of the fans directly to Tarkan's offices, and to boycott Tarkan related news in protest until some acknowledgement is made to the importance of Tarkan fans outside of Turkey. We are planning our strategy carefully, as we don't want to have fans losing out even further, so we'll balance any just action with civility and calm and keep the boycott as a last resort. However, the unprofessional treatment of fans, especially at some of the German concerts, could eventually lead to a loss of life if something is not done.
- I am aiming to do an act of kindness every day for 2009, and to do more charity works, but to balance this with humility; simply to do charitable works for the doing of them, and not for the accumulation of them.
A Thank You List
With two of my three new year lists out of the way, I've saved the best 'til last. I need to offer up a thank you with humble gratitude to the great divinity that sent some good people my way just when I needed them in 2008:
- To all our faithful readers that continuously fact-check our Tarkan news posts and send us their feedback and criticisms, I want to send out a heartfelt thank you for keeping us honest throughout the year and helping us add to our credibility.
- This year Tarkan Deluxe's guest writer Li wrote a post which came as a great coincidence, but had perfect timing for me. So, thank you for that Li - I wish for the world peace you yearn for so much in both our lifetimes.
- I also want to thank three people who have become like distant family members more than anything else. To my good Polish friend Pawel, to Alison and to T in Texas: you have always made me feel that you have my back, and that I can achieve anything with you by my side. To me you are all separate and yet indivisible, for your humanity binds you all to me.
- To my friend B and her unconditional support, which always shows itself at exactly the right time: I have the complete, blind faith that you will one day become the first female president of Cyprus. If you don't, I'll want to know why!
- And to my parents, I am grateful to the serendipity which has brought your love into my life, and most importantly, every time I come away knowing that I might someday find that very possible magic in my life, too.
Hope to see you all sometime in 2009.