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Let’s be positive
The gift exchanging is now mostly over, bar for the odd friend or relatively yet to be visited. Some of the excesses will continue into Boxing Day but we will soon be back to a degree of normality and begin to look forward to the new year. This is when our search for a better world must be stronger than ever, helping turn into reality all the wishes for a merrier and better life.
The truth is that, despite our negativity, our lives are better than the ones previous generations lived. This doesn’t mean we should be complacent with the appalling injustices we still see, the unacceptable crime levels we are currently witnessing and the high number of people who are left without the most basic humanitarian needs.
However, if some of those who lived on these islands in previous centuries were to come back today, they would be impressed by the freedom lived by most and our ability to choose who should govern us.
Lives are saved
They would also be amazed by how many lives are saved everyday by the science that allowed us to have vaccines and medicines to save us from previously crippling or fatal diseases.
They would be equally impressed by the fact that every child is entitled to and given a place at school, all the way to secondary school—once a preserve of the elite.
They would also be hopeful that humankind was becoming better at controlling its greed and violence by considerably reducing the number of people killed in conflicts. Or through persecution (religious or otherwise). Or through its desire to destroy enemy tribes or clans. They would be even more surprised that, nowadays, murderous dictators may be sent to international courts to be tried for genocide.
The people of these islands know all too well what our previous generations have gone through. Slavery, indentured labour, discrimination, neglect, world wars (felt here even if they took place far away), religious persecution (also the reason so many came to these shores) and much more. Our predecessors would be impressed by the progress made so far through sheer human ingenuity and optimism.
We cannot let them down and must carry the same determination and optimism they displayed in even more challenging times. As we rest and think this Boxing Day, let’s remember what they have done for us and consider what we can do to handover an even better place to the next generation.
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