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Listen for this New Year
by Thanos Kalamidas
2010-01-01 10:07:48
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Usually every first of January, New Year’s Day we all start with wishes. Peace on earth, that’s basic, very ecumenical, very …wishful! The end of poverty! That’s a good wish but we used it the last …lets see … five thousand years at least and it is still a wish! I suppose in the same category fall wishes like the end of illnesses, the end of poorness, the end of violence, the end of torture, the end of racism, the end of prejudice …and this is a very long list of unfulfilled wishes. Lately we also added some new, environmental wishes but the UN Copenhagen Summit took care of them.

But then again humans are very …hopeful creatures. They say that hope dies last and they are absolutely right and despite all my unveiled cynicism I will wish tonight all the above and I will really hope that this year something might change. Not big, I’m not that greedy; just a little bit. Just a little bit less war, just a little bit less poverty, just a little bit dead, tortured and harassed children, just a little bit less pollution, just a little bit less distraction; just a little bit and the year after it can be a bit more. You see, that’s hope and hope is part of human nature.

And while thinking peace on earth I have to remember something personal that can be …ecumenical. The last few years I got a very good lesson myself. You see having lived a life full of travels and adventures, been lucky to make my hobby work I felt that I was superman. I felt that nothing could stop me and nothing, absolutely nothing could change my wants and my wills. Then I discover that there is an element that can change everything. Health! For three years I have seen this superman melting and of course the same time age caught me – something natural – to remind me that even though my temporary problems are leading to an end I’m getting older and I cannot walk kilometres anymore, I cannot climb mountains and I cannot cross deserts. It is not the case I cannot as I used to, the case is I cannot at all.

Walking in a desert and riding a sleigh kilometres from the pole is very exiting and unique but having a very young daughter – I’m one of those who discovered fatherhood not in my prime – became important. And along with those other things, small things became more important. My inner peace became more important, little wishes became more important, my friends became more important. Odd but now the first thing I wish to everybody is to be strong, to have good health and take care of the love ones and I do believe that if we all do that then we might get a bit of peace on earth, we might do a bit for the end of poverty starting from the ones who are near us. And we might start listening. Listen ourselves and the others.

Living in a hyper-consuming and cynic environment we have forgotten how it is to listen. We don’t even listen the people, who stand next to us. And if we do listen then somewhere far we will hear the voices of the ones who suffer. Torture, violence, poverty, illness live next to us, we just have to listen carefully. These are the little things that happen next to us and we often ignore. When we say that 30,000 kids die every day somewhere on this earth we forget that some of them, five ten might live next to us.

So …my wishes, I wish to everybody good health and strength to give love, strength to listen and act for their love ones. Strength to stand and hold for the unfulfilled wishes that are going to come and strength to hope! I wish you all to continue hope because without hope there is no life and you never know, miracles happen! 


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Emanuel Paparella2010-01-01 12:40:11
Indeed Thanos, between wishful thinking and hope there is the sea in between. Wishful thinking is passive: one waits for good things to happen to oneself and significant others as one waits for Santa to come down the chimney. Hope on the other hand is active, it rolls up its sleeves and gets to work to bring about needed changes. Hope is not satisfied with the status quo. It examines things as they are and then asks the question: is this the way they ought to be even if they have been this way from time immemorial? But the examination or the theory, which goes to the root of a problem, comes before a mindless activism and praxis. The examination by itself is sterile; the activism by itself is mindless and often ends up doing more harm than good. Both are needed.

In some Christmas I have received from my friends it reads “peace and good will to men.” That is the wrong translation; Holy Scriptures says “peace to men of good will.” Peace comes as a result of good will and active, not passive hope. There is a huge difference: the former, peace and good will to men, is passive wishful thinking, the latter, peace to men of good will, is active hope; it is not the peace of the cemetery but the peace that comes about because of hope and good will. I wish you and family the genuine gift of hope. There are two others, faith and charity, and the greatest of those is charity, but any one of them will do to inoculate oneself against the virulent cynicism alive and well in our sad modern world that says that things have always been that way and strong men accept it stoically. That attitude spells despair in the end. Long live the conspiracy of hope for 2010.

Emanuel Paparella2010-01-01 12:43:06
Errata: Christmas cards.

Thanos2010-01-01 13:35:03
Actually that's a good lesson I got during my health adventure, determination, motivation and even stubbornness to succeed started from hope, I let the wishes ...for the others!!! :)

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