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Happy New Year

Entry 109, on 2005-01-03 at 20:28:07 (Rating 1, Comments)

Well, here we are at the start of another new year and everyone is rushing around wishing each other a happy new year. We tend to look back at the year that has just ended and summarise it as good or bad. I seem to remember doing this for a few years now and deciding that the previous year wasn't too good but the new year was looking a lot better. I'm always the optimist, I suppose.

I can never remember getting to the end of a year and thinking, "well that was a really good year, I hope the new year is just as good". Maybe I just have too high expectations - or maybe I tend to concentrate on the negatives - but it seems to me that, looking at the big picture, things aren't really getting any better.

National politics (here in New Zealand) are looking fairly good. We have a center-left government which is more center than left, but at least they are orders of magnitude better than the alternatives. Unfortunately, the same can't be said for the international scene. The governments of Australia, the UK, and (especially) the US leave a lot of room for improvement.

The two highest profile events of the year are both very negative: the war in Iraq (an unmitigated disaster accounting for over 100,000 deaths of innocent people) and the recent Indian Ocean tsunami (another disaster accounting for over 100,000 deaths). Unfortunately, the tsunami at the end of the year made 2004 look bleaker than it might have otherwise.

Other significant negative events include the, now regular, crises in Africa bought about by climatic conditions, and (more importantly) abysmal management of the country involved. The positives of the year seem trivial in comparison: a very successful Olympic games, the first orbital flight by a private spacecraft, and a few others.

Something needs to change. None of the major problems of the year needed to be as bad as they were. The Iraq war should never have started in the first place. I've discussed it so many times in my blog I won't do so again now. The effect of the tsunami could have been much less than it was. Warning and civil defence systems should have saved most of the victims. The famines and civil wars in Africa are largely preventable. I don't know what the answer is and I don't think things will change much, so I unfortunately expect to be writing another fairly negative blog entry for new year 2006!

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