The Woes of ´12

It’s the day after the night before. Time to wonder whether this new year really can be a year of hope,  revival and positive developments. Or is despair much more likely ?

To be factual one has to admit that though the year 2012 has hardly started the 2011 heritage has spoiled it already.

There of course is this burden of economic and financial gloom and doom. But that’s not all.

Last Friday the Wahid Institute reported religious freedom in Indonesia  is at an all-time low. Ahmadiyah, Christian, Shiite, actually any religious minority faced  cases of intimidation, arson and even killings last year. Almost 200. That’s not the kind of Pancasila I’ve been told about.

On New Year’s Eve President Obama  signed ( though reluctantly) a Defense Bill implicating arresting and holding suspected terrorists if necessary indefinitely without trial.  Which is not the kind of Western state of law I’ve been told about.

Hungary’s Prime minister Viktor Orbán, has provided the country with  a new constitution limiting the freedom of the press and the independence of the national bank as off today. And only last Friday, December the 30th, Hungary’s parliament reduced the number of officially recognized religions. Buddhism, Hinduism and Islam are  not included.  Which is not the kind of European Union I’ve been told about.

What can we do?

Reread Hessel´s thirty page pamflet “Indignez-vous”? Followed by Tony Judd’s testament  “Ill fares the land“? And then take to the  streets, raise our voices and join the  “Occupy movement”?

Or shall I follow the  Biblical advice  “Go, eat your food with gladness, and drink your wine with a joyful heart…enjoy life with your wife” (Ecclesiastes 9)?

Well,  as for me I will now make a slow start by going to the cinema and watch that  much commended movie “The Artist“. And perhaps afterwards I will cry out and become a wrinkled, balding, overweight, very senior but angry activist the rest of my life >:\.


10 thoughts on “The Woes of ´12”

  1. wow hungary, one step dumber than indonesian government. I guess einstein was right, stupidity and universe are similar and ever-expanding.

  2. All this pessimism when the year still has to lift off properly. That for sure is not going to change the world.

    If you’re not a happy camper, fetch the tent and Mrs. Colson. Enjoy life with the wife and Occupy Zeist in one go! I’ll bring you some hot coffee and moral support.

  3. I think it was Hubble, not Einstein, who proved that the universe is expanding. Whether it is ever-expanding is still an open question.

  4. @ calvin: Perhaps the zero-sum assumption goes for intelligence too: the smarter people get elsewhere, the dumber the ass-holes around here.

    @ Gerwin: I’m happy with your token of life as well as with your kind offer.

    So Babes and I are waiting for your coffee in our tent in our garden. But in advance I would like to know more concrete what your moral support consists of.

    @Mauricio: Though I think Universe and everything else is expanding, the question to me is “WHY???”.

  5. and the economic downturn in US and Europe are also not the good news.
    Interesting post!
    Happy New Year to you & family, and also to all reader here.

  6. @tikno:
    Thank you and I have a similar wish for you and your family :).

    The sovereign debts and financial crises are bad for us ( my retirement pay for instance will probably be cut by about 10% in ‘`14), for the Eurozone and for the European Union, for a lost generation of youngsters that will be out of work for years and have no hope for the future, especially in the Mediterranean countries, and for the world at large ( especially for Africa).

    The talk is about the failing politicians, but the real culprits are the banks, the hedgefunds and financial and economical pundits. Their casino-neo-liberal, their greedy ways made the CEOs and their courts as well as the traders rich and the moment their gambling met with trouble, taxpayers had to bail them out. Once in ’08 and now once more. They were irresponsible lenders to countries that couldn’t afford it, helped them swindle (Goldman Sachs helped Greece !) and the common people have to help them out without real sanctions for them.

    Well, we’ll overcome as we did overcome on previous occasions.

  7. I always get exasperated when secular, mundate bodies of knowledge are equated with religious, spiritual bodies of belief. As soon as Obama signed the bill into law, the American Civil Liberties Union were busy preparing legal challenges. Other groups, including this blog, are decrying these new rules. There is no question that laws, government and economics are human creations, imperfect and not fully known or understood. Constrast this with the belief in the infallability, perfection and morality that religion demands. It is considered rude in polite company to question religion. Unlike economic research organizations, I am not aware of active, well funded organizations whose job is to seek the fallacies and errors of religion.

    So, render unto Ceasar what is Ceasar’s, and render unto god(s) (if they indeed exist and care about this one world among trillions in the known and unknown universes). Please don’t equate mundate bodies of knowledge with religious bodies of faith. Don’t insult my human dignity.

  8. That’s right. Two domains. Any discussion between believers and non-believers on faith itself is doomed. For our ratio faith ultimately is out of reach. It by definition is irrational.

    Though morals and organized religions can be discussed. They in principle are open for critical approach. Actually I think – in Europe at least- that has been practised from Nietzsche to Hawking. With some result. Though nominally most Europeans are still Christians, Christianity as an organized moral and cultural power has been pretty much marginalized in the public domain.

    Unfortunately some of my creed (non believers) who happily got rid of the yoke of the Christian Churches, now sometimes react in a frustrated, irrational way to the influx of significant numbers North African genuine believers of a different religion. Muslims who, I admit, not always are very willing to discuss their religious system with kafir either.

  9. That’s why this religion thing strikes many as an anachronism or atavism, the response being a sort of collective historical consciousness, “haven’t we been here before?”

    The whole concept of kafir is a tribal chauvinism. No body of belief and morality that purports to be universal and ethical would countenance such jingoist arrogance and ghetto mentality.

  10. @ Mauricio: I will not argue that :). Yet I sincerely hope our societies get priorities right. Religions are not the issue ( in my perception), tolerance, social policies, justice and economics are.

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