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Happy New Year 2012



Once again it is that time of year when it is customary to reflect on the events of the year gone by, listing key moments of disaster; fantasy, heroism; triumph and accomplishment. However, the narrative of 2011 cannot be contained in a list. On the contrary, it has developed, over the last twelve months, into a multi-volume, multi-layered, global blockbuster of unimaginable proportion. Innumerable dramas encompassed the entire world and the information highway transformed us all into ringside spectators, rendering us as participants in every global episode. This phenomenon continues to re-enforce the notion that, while a staggering seven billion individuals now inhabit the earth (another 2011 milestone), the human family has never been more closely entwined.

In reviewing our New Year’s Greeting from last year, it struck me that the optimism expressed therein supporting the philosophy that every individual has the power to effect change, has actually become the pivotal force propelling most of the dynamic events of 2011:

“So, let’s open the door wide to greet 2012 with great enthusiasm, positive expectations and an abundant supply of dreams, never underestimating the power that we all have as individuals to influence the hearts and minds of those whom we encounter. The past is a valuable reminder of our triumphs and folly, but it is the future that captivates and unites us all in humanity’s search for the promise of unlimited human potential.”

Indeed, the single act of protest by a Tunisian fruit seller, Mohamed Bouazizi, whose moment of intolerable frustration and self destruction, provided incentive and overwhelming courage to millions throughout the region to rise up against the status quo of repression, abuse and hopelessness.

The year was overflowing with individual acts of heroism and ultimate sacrifice by thousands; and the power of one to unite the voices of many was clearly established, demonstrating repeatedly the unlimited human potential within us all.

Yemen has once again figured prominently on the world stage, joining other protesting nations in seeking change and genuine democracy, while showing its people to be strong, determined and resilient. Recognition came in the form of the Nobel Peace Prize for activist Tawakkul Karman, whose spirit of non-violent protest garnered her international recognition. In accepting this prestigious honour she dedicated it to the people of Yemen.

While cautious optimism stirs in our country, it is important to realize that, while there will be bumps along the road, the potential for real change is within our grasp. We must all continue to believe in ourselves, our potential and our ability to make a difference in our own lives and the lives of others.

Khaled Bahah

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