Christmas always brings with it hope. Hope for a better year ahead. A better tomorrow. So here’s to a better Christmas for you, your family and the whole nation.
We’ve had a bumpy year, punctuated with scandals, anger and costly faux-pas. Here’s to a smoother and happier Christmas. Let’s hope for a Christmas when the homeless can wake up to new and decent housing; when the sick can get good treatment in humane conditions whatever they are suffering from; when the unemployed can have access to jobs commensurate with their abilities and qualifications, irrespective of whether they are politically connected or not, in a truly meritorious society; when the old can finish their days on earth in comfort and dignity.
Let the year leading to next Christmas be the year when citizens start insisting on accountability from their institutions; when police officers can demand an end to punitive transfers and the beginning of promotions based on performance rather than on kotowing to power; Let this period of hope bring with it the confidence required for our national broadcaster to cease being a thin doormat that politicians use and abuse; where the institution meant to fight corruption no longer looks the other way when those in power are filling their pockets in a shameless way, with a total disregard for the interests of the country.
Let this Christmas presage a year when incompetent, unqualified political appointees do not earn five times the salaries of professionals; when public money wasted by those who rose from nothing to still nothing is no longer a state secret; when citizens are allowed to know how and by whom their money is spent; when ministers and MPs are not bribed from the public purse to avoid their resignation that would trigger a by-election; when those we have elected are truly committed to fighting the biggest scourges of our society rather than helping to propagate them; when their self-esteem becomes bigger than their ego.
Here’s to a year when politicians fight the elections on a manifesto they truly want to implement and not on one they forget about as soon as they have been elected; when power is not transmitted like a crown from father to son in a monarchical way, without going through an election; when propaganda is subdued by the right to information; when repressive laws make way for individual freedoms; when public funds are not squandered on the few but rather judiciously spent on the many;
We’ve had a year when we sat and looked on helplessly as we were being served day in and day out with exactly the opposite of what we were promised. When we felt that justice was neither done nor seen to be done; when the faith we had in many institutions vanished into thin air; when the men and women heading our hitherto independent institutions have been picked, not on the basis of their competence and track record, but rather because of their proximity to power and their willingness to bend backwards to be partners – often in the most hideous practices – with those who appointed them.
We have been through a year where our ability to feel righteous indignation has sadly risked being replaced by lethargy and helplessness.
Let this Christmas bring the hope that we start digging deep into ourselves to discover that determination that will bring a just and fair society; here’s to a year when we take an upright position, remember how to stand up for our rights and learn to hold our leaders to account.
Let this be the year when we no longer accept to be taken for granted and give our strong support for the right causes to help build the better society that we deserve.
Merry Christmas to you and your family!
For more views and in-depth analysis of current issues, Weekly magazine (Price: Rs 25) or subscribe to Weekly for Rs110 a month. (Free delivery to your doorstep). Email us on: [email protected]