Lessons learned: A divided world will continue to struggle in 2022


Bu Habib Toumi

BAHRAIN: Although 2021 cannot be really described as “annus mirabilis” compared with 2020, a dramatic “annus horribilis”, I will always recall it as the year of renewed hope even though new tragedies have struck a world that has lamentably remained divided and lacking in general care.

No matter how many books and articles are written about 2020 with all kinds of personal, family and community tragedies, there is always room for more.

In 2021, the situation has improved. Slightly. At least, there was some light at the end of the long tunnel. But the world continued to be divided over a wide spectrum of vital issues, from vaccination needs in poorer countries to climate change effects, border conflicts and power struggles.

On a personal note, in 2021, I again lost members of my family, friends and colleagues who passed away because of COVID-19.

They have left empty seats around the dinner table at happy family gatherings, empty chairs at cafés where we sat together talking, arguing and laughing, empty desks at the office … They have left empty space in my heart and in the hearts of their families and close friends that will never be filled.

I have learned to accept fate and to live with it, I keep praying for them and for me and their families and friends and we have to continue living without their elated smiles, cheerful jokes and jovial comments.

Fortunately, there was also so much to be thankful for in 2021. The heavy impact of the pandemic has eased considerably and we were able to see a sense of normalcy in our lives. People were able to go more often and to travel abroad to meet with families and friends or to enjoy pleasant times. Many countries opened up although a bit cautiously, but it was enough to boost tourism, to allow people to watch football games and other sporting events. Children went back to school and colleagues could meet in person at work. The Olympic Games in Tokyo were finally held and athletes were able to compete and not to wait for another four years. Some countries took steps to make peace, to reconcile with their people …

Technology continued to make miracles and helped the world overcome numerous formidable challenges.  Zoom has enabled AJA to keep holding meetings regularly even though we were thousands of kilometers away from one another, separated by the world’s highest mountains and some of the world’s most arid deserts.

The commitment of the AJA members to our association has kept us together even when there were challenges. We were able to weather them and to keep moving forward towards a brighter future.

Unfortunately, the world beyond our AJA aspirations and hopes is not so auspicious or as optimistic.

In 2021, wars, conflicts, calamities and climate change continued to plague the world and to subject entire populations to dramatic personal, regional and national catastrophes.

Too many people were killed, injured or impoverished because of political recklessness and misgovernments. Too many people lost their lives or livelihoods because there was no genuine interest in their fate nor compassion with their conditions.

Too many promises were made, but too little was achieved.

Yet, we must not give up. Even when so many things seem wrong, we need to stay optimistic.

From me to you and to your loved ones: Have a healthy 2022

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