As the world emerges from last year’s twilight, it has entered into darkness, a darkness that could engulf the whole world, if some get their way. The period between twilight and the breaking of a new dawn can seem forever.
For many, time is slow moving as they wait, struggle and hope for food or sustenance, or agonize as they watch death slowly take away loved ones, many of whom suffer tremendously.
For those living in war torn countries suffering from inhuman, even barbaric treatment by others, it always appears dark.
For parents and family members impacted by the current trend of terrorists who target women and children, either through abduction, brutal torture or mass killings, this darkness is pervasive.
It would appear that much of the world has entered another dark age where savagery, brutality and complete inhumanity prevail.
This year the world faced the threat of the Ebola disease, a current scourge, but only the tip of an iceberg of afflictions for many whom health care is only a dream.
There is the increasing plight of the poor and destitute and the more than 50 million displaced people (UN Statistics), for whom food is a luxury and comfort or freedom nonexistent.
This year witnessed a growing trend of barbaric extremism targeting those most vulnerable: woman and children.
In the most developed countries, economic turmoil and political imbalance has created increasing disparities fostering anger and the complete loss of hope.
While it is evident that a new world order is emerging, it has the potential to be a world of darkness or a world of enlightenment.
My role in The Gambia providing voluntary development support and business advice to a small enterprise ravaged by an economy in decline and pillaged by a number of employees resulted in many challenges that utilized all my skills and talents and most of my time.
The experience was full of insights and education about the vagaries of business and the challenges and hurdles faced in such developing countries.
This education included an introduction into many aspects of the country’s justice system, as there were many legal issues and actions needing my attention.
This year also took me to Ukraine on two occasions as an election observer for the presidential elections in June and the parliamentary elections in October. As most people know Ukraine is under attack by Russia.
But, as the year slips precariously to its demise, there are glimmers of light, which indicate that there is a new dawn beckoning for all of us personally and for the world at large.
Globally, Ebola appears mostly under control and potential cures and vaccinations are appearing. Sadly, this is not the result of human need, but mostly because of human greed.
Because this disease is now a threat to the developed world huge amounts of money have been committed and many previously hidden research efforts are being offered for testing. The current economic upheaval caused by collapsing oil prices has Russia reeling and has complicated its macho leader’s effort to destroy Ukraine and subsequently control the world.
The latest and most vicious and depraved terrorist group, ISIS, have spurred to action a coalition of countries to counter this real threat to humanity and civilization by such groups.
A sign of genuine humane leadership is emerging as Pope Francis sets an example with his simple approach and his humble demeanor. He is setting a tone of leadership that is rippling around the globe.
President Obama appears to have finally found his footing and his soul, after six years in the desert of American politics. He is finally doing what he promised when elected by demonstrating that hope can be reality.
There is still much to be done and many challenges to be faced in a world experiencing a night of darkness. It must be remembered that while the dark tends to encourage the demons, it also forces a search for light and enlightenment.
My fundamental belief is that it is only compassion and care that will lead humanity out of the darkness and into the light.It is only true sharing that will lead us to enlightenment and understanding. The joy of sharing brings rewards that one can’t even imagine.
May you have a warm and happy Christmas with care, compassion and sharing as your constant companion. May the light within each of you shine brightly so that the darkness that threatens our world is dispelled bringing hope to those less fortunate.
Written by William (Bill) Pardy
Published December 27th, 2014
The Western Star Newspaper