Novel NewMORE OF THE SAME IN 2017

And as 2016 ground to a screeching halt there was a resounding sigh of relief around the world by that international constituency that still cares about how the world is revolving.
It was because of all the wanton violence, especially in those regional pockets of the globe where images of people walking, running for their lives with sounds of explosions, raging fires, billowing smoke and mounds of rubble entombing the dead and dying – sometimes the mangled bodies were visible or covered with blankets – an almost daily news staple.
Especially those tens of thousands of people, refugees, running for their lives from places where conflict (terrorism, human mayhem…) had become the norm.
We saw it all playing out, and all those of us on this side of the madness could do was wish it all would just go away… stop.
It was a tumultuous year of mostly man-made madness which preoccupied that constituency (of the human family) that still cares, and as it ground to a halt in those global crises areas, I watched Pope Francis celebrate the annual Christmas Eve Mass at St. Peter’s Basilica and urged Christians to “celebrate the birth of Jesus by thinking about the plight of today’s children, bemoaning how some must escape bombs or flee in migrant boats…”
The Pope never strays from his message. As he has done each year of his papacy (much like his predecessors), he denounced “Islamic extremist violence that has driven Christians from Mideast communities that date to the time of Christ. He also demanded Europe in particular do more to welcome refugees, saying Jesus himself was a migrant who deserved more than being born in a manger. And he called out the wasteful ways of the wealthy when children and the poor die of hunger every day.”
He especially appealed to international leaders, particularly those engaged in fuelling (and sustaining) regional crises to find solutions, which will invariably end the human suffering we have become accustomed to seeing…
I hear the papal message at specific periods throughout the year, but from my vantage point no politician is listening. Year in year out it’s more of the same.
Pope Francis urged his flock – essentially those with the power to make a difference – “to reflect on how children today aren’t always allowed to lie peacefully in a cot, loved by their parents as Jesus was, but rather “suffer the squalid mangers that devour dignity… are suffering indignities such as “hiding underground to escape bombardment, on the pavements of a large city, at the bottom of a boat over-laden with immigrants… Let us allow ourselves to be challenged by the children who are not allowed to be born, by those who cry because no one satiates their hunger, by those who do have not toys in their hands, but rather weapons…”
In keeping with the prevailing spirit of the [joyful] period, Francis asked the overflowing throng to pray for peace and goodwill… something that has been in short supply for many years.
The primary international political forces and players with the capacity and power to make a difference have been hearing Pope Francis, as well as his predecessors, beseeching the faithful to pray… The truly faithful are doing their part by “praying hard” as I once heard someone say. It’s just that the players couldn’t be bothered. They have more Earthly geopolitical preoccupations to contend with.
With that in mind, look for a 2017 replete with more of the international we witnessed in that tumultuous twelve months known as last year 2016.
In surveying the national, international and geopolitical landscape, one thing is certain, the coterie of powerful international political players and their actions will continue to supply ample grist for the electronic and literary media mill.