Where are we heading next?

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Where are we heading next?

By Fr. Dr. Rif'at Bader

It is painful to view the pictorial report published by the New York Times on its website titled, “A Decade in Pictures” which is a documentation of some of the major events that took place in the period 2010 to 2020. Whoever looks back to the past events would question how the newspaper managed to sum up these past years with a few photos. Wasn’t it as bloody as one of the most difficult years in the Arab world and the global levels?

This was definitely the case as it included the bloody Arab Spring, the collapse of al-Qaeda, the emergence of ISIS and its concomitant tragedies, the floods, the political and geographical quakes, the collapse of regimes in a number of countries, the apparent increase in poverty and unemployment rates in the world, and the emergence of new diseases overnight that spread globally.. O God, all these events and others took place in one decade and are summed up is some photos! These years included suffering of children and their families as they were proceeding on the path of forcible displacement, and heading to various airports and shores of the world, with some of them dying away while waiting to reach a port of safety.

Following the conclusion of the second decade of the 21st century of the third millennium, we say: Praise the Lord, the cup was half full, and despite the prevailing pain there are still hopes, aspirations, and success stories by those who made their way with determination and positive stubbornness while looking forward towards to the final destination.

Here I refer to two important speeches delivered early this year. The first one is by His Majesty King Abdullah II before the European Parliament “on the defining feature of the past decade as have been people finding their voices. They expressed their desires and the “destination’’, yet, as His Majesty said, “They look for us to guide them on the means to achieve this.” As for the second word, it is by His Holiness Pope Francis before the envoys accredited to the Holy See which is called “State of the World”. In his address he called for adherence to hope which requires awareness of the several issues that many influence our time with challenges looming on the horizon.’’

We need to re-examine the New York Times photos in light of the address by His Majesty the King as we have great responsibilities related to helping people reach the train of life on their way to their final destinations and to achieving their sublime goals. Furthermore, in light of the address by Pope Francis, this calls for preferring bridges of reconciliation and solidarity over the hate barriers. It was definitely a complex decade, but it was not devoid of qualified guides who set a model for others in managing political, religious and intellectual affairs as well as led humanity with wisdom and dedication to the right "destination" that many dream to reach as many fail to attain or get late. There is nothing that stops us from continuing our paths of goodness and development for all.

abouna.org@gmail.com

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