Well, it doesn't take much to show why we should be glad to see the back of 2011. We know it all already: the godawful financial situation which has devastated our economies, the Euro crisis, the summer riots, the cuts in public spending and the upward creep of the unemployment figures.Anyone who has followed this blog through the past year will see that there has been ample comment on all these issues, by myself and others.Summing it all up has challenged experienced media pundits. For me, perhaps the best summation of 2011 comes in this phrase I found in a Latin phrase dictionary:
"Forsan et haec olim meminisse iuvabit"
I won't translate that, as Google does a better job. However, I truly believe that there were signs of hope in all the last year's deluge of misfortunes. There was the marvellous "Arab Spring" in Tunisia and Egypt and, albeit with NATO help, the end of "The Mad Colonel" in Libya. During, and after, the dark days of the summer riots, ordinary people stood up against the tide of criminality: the Kurdish Community of east London who rallied to defend their businesses; the Sikh community of Southall, who mobilised to defend their Gurudwaras and neighbourhoods (no rioters came anywhere near), and the "clean-up" army of citizens who turned out to clean up their riot-hit neighbourhoods. There was also the great Trade Union march against the public spending cuts back in the spring. I took part in it, and sensed how powerful the people united can be. "dum vita est spes est" ( I won't translate that either).
So, for my New Year's message (Let all take notice!), I'd like to wish everyone what I wished for you last year, which is a massive slice of good luck. We needed it a year ago, and we need it now. And let's not forget that, while we may be weak separately, who knows what we can achieve if we act together - "viribus unitis"?
BTW - My New year's resolution is to put my Latin phrase dictionary back on the shelf. "Consummatum est!"