Let us usher in New Year 2010: A Year of Hope Expectation!

Let us usher in New Year 2010: A Year of Hope  Expectation!

In ancient days, there was no New Year. They used to say ‘in the tenth year of the reign of Emperor such and such’. When a new Emperor comes, the clock is reset: It is year one. On it goes until the Emperor dies and his reign ends. Then a new Emperor and a new calendar.

The Gregorian calendar year of 2010 is the most widely used calendar in the world today. .The Gregorian calendar year of 2009 closes on 31 December and a New Year dawns on 1st January 2010.

It was first decreed by Pope Gregory XIII, after whom it was named, on 24 February 1582. The Gregorian calendar modifies the Julian calendar’s regular four-year cycle of leap years.

The last day of the Julian calendar was Thursday, 4 October 1582 and this was followed by the first day of the Gregorian calendar, Friday, 15 October 1582.

The Gregorian solar calendar is an arithmetical calendar. It counts days as the basic unit of time, grouping them into years of 365 or 366 days; and repeats completely every 146,097 days, which fill 400 years.

New Year’s Resolutions:

The New Year is always a time out with the old and in with the new in mind. New Year is like a fresh, empty canvas. It is up to us what we “paint” on this canvas of the year 2010. A lot of people create New Year’s resolutions and declare to friends and family what they’d like to accomplish in the year ahead. In fact, most of New Year’s resolutions have lasted, on average, may be a week or two.

New Year’s resolutions can be very positive resources. They can provide an opportunity for us to evaluate our progress in life. They can invigorate our lives with inspiring challenges and wonderful experiences to look forward to.

Just because things haven’t worked out well in the past with respect to New Year resolutions are no reasons to assume they never will. New Year’s Resolutions are wonderful mechanisms for creating new and exciting time ahead.

Events in 2009

The Year 2009 saw war, grief, and achievement. The year saw worsening wars in Afghanistan, increased terrorists’ attacks in Pakistan together with the Supreme Court ruling that put the Zardari government in great political difficulties, derailed Indo-Pakistan peace process, unresolved Israeli-Palestinian conflict even under the Obama administration, Iran-US battle of words on nuclear programme, wide distrust between US- Latin American Left- governments among others. The death of Michael Jackson at a pre-mature age, the world’s greatest pop star shocked the world.

All hopes for a binding reduction of greenhouses gas agreement eluded at Copenhagen and world leaders insisted that the climate deal clinched at Copenhagen was the best that can be done.

The year saw repair of Russia-US relations, consolidation of Indo-Russian relations and award of Nobel Peace Prize for President Obama. G-20 forum took a central stage in global politics replacing G-8. The transition demonstrates how power evolves itself in the global order. The replacement of G-8 by G-20 is an epic development in global political architecture.

It was in June in Cairo, President Obama touched on several themes in the speech, namely, his administration’s attitude towards Islamic World, wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, democracy, religious freedom, women’s rights and economic development and opportunity. Obama has declared that America has a common cause with Islam and never will be at war with the faith — an overture intently watched by the Muslim world and welcomed by them.

“America and Islam are not exclusive,” he said, “and need not be in competition. Instead, they overlap, and share common principles of justice and progress, tolerance and the dignity of all human beings.”

It was a year Bangladesh people witnessed a new elected government. Some actions of the government are perceived as good and some are seen as controversial and the confrontational politics regrettably continues in the country.

The boycott of parliament by a major opposition party has continued and the government and the opposition blame each other for such stalemate. Public seem to be confused on their stances and their hope for a harmonious political environment has not been fulfilled.

Year 2010:

To predict the likely events in national, regional and international scenes for 2010 is difficult because it is basically a guess work. Events are going to happen whether one likes it or not. However one may conceive some of one’s wishes with a pragmatic attitude.

In 2010, Bangladesh stands at a crossroads because it all depends on how political parties conduct themselves during the coming year and whether all parties accept the environment, characterized by mutual tolerance and respect.

People are eagerly waiting for the War Crimes trial in Bangladesh and hope that extra-judicial killings will end.
People expect good governance from an elected government. Governance ordinarily means the process of how decisions are made and how decisions are implemented. Transparency is the hallmark of good governance.

People expect elected leaders must shun direct or indirect influence of relatives, friends and party followers and must not engage themselves in appointing individuals to positions responsibility regardless of merit.

The New Delhi visit by the Prime Minister on 10th January is viewed as crucial to Bangladesh-India relations and the recent announcements from Dhaka and New Delhi are a mix of aspirations, good intentions and in most cases the targets are politically plausible or doable.

The departing Indian High Commissioner reportedly is convinced that the Indian government will walk “miles” to restore the confidence and trust with the current Bangladesh government in areas of security, trade, water sharing, energy and roads and railways. Hopefully Bangladesh people will see the implementation of high expectations.

In South Asia, political situation remains uncertain in Nepal and Afghanistan. Sri Lanka will have an election between the incumbent President and the former Army Commander, supported by the opposition parties and the events in Sri Lanka including the fate of Tamils will depend on who wins the election.

The SAARC summit will be held in April in Bhutan and it is expected that some concrete action on connectivity on regional basis are likely to be adopted.

In the Middleast, the Israeli-Palestinians may find a mutually acceptable solution under pressure from the Obama administration. Iraq’s violence may continue until Shi’ia community accommodates the wishes of Sunnis in the country. The election in 2010 in Iraq will show how Iraqi people want to be governed in a country which has been split in sectarian lines. Iranian people continue to be split on the outcome of “rigged” Presidential election and it may continue in 2010.

In the northeast Asia, hopefully the new government of Japan led by Hatoyama would bring the spirit of cohesion and unity through the proposed formation of an East Asian Community. The East Asian Community may expand later to include ASEAN, South Asian countries and Australia as a new political cum economic architecture. US-North Korea may achieve a deal to their mutual interests on nuclear proliferation through dialogue.

In Africa, hopefully civil wars in Congo and Somalia will end. The New Partnership for Africa’s Development –a blue print for Africa, will be implemented, according to free market specialists, on the basis of “three” opens—open economy, open societies and open governments.

In Latin America, the new US President may take initiatives to restore friendly relations with them, especially lifting the trade embargo on Cuba.

The New Year 2010 hopefully will be much better for people across the world. Global stability, resurgence of global economy and an interactive global order will be hopefully in place and promote economic progress, prosperity and peace for all.

By Barrister Harun ur Rashid
Former Bangladesh Ambassador to the UN, Geneva.

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