Bold Action Needed on Some Not-so-bold 2010 Predictions
Brandon Sun “Small World” Column, Thursday, December 31 / 09
This column has focused on next year’s predictions in its end-of-year edition a
number of times in the past. The Internet is filled with sites dedicated to prophesies, the “can’t miss” prognostications of world-famous psychics, and end-of-world astrological pontifications from doomsday “theologians.”
However, when you look at what is predicted, especially for the global newsmaker portion of these sites, there really are no surprises. One sees that the challenge is not guessing correctly what will happen, but coming up with ways to deal with the inevitable.
The Psychic & Mediums Network 2010 Predictions tells us that Osama bin Laden will die in the coming year, that Iran will give up its quest for nuclear weapons and that a famous British politician will be caught in an indecent attack in a public toilet. That must be the good news!
On the other side of the ledger, North Korea will continue to develop its nuclear weapon, oil prices will shoot through the roof due to price fixing between OPEC and Russia and the U.S. will be struck by numerous storms and earthquakes.
Ultimately, any of us could put together our own list of 2010 predictions. Like the folks above, we might have a 50-50 chance of getting them right.
The psychics who say that Barack Obama will broker an historic deal between Israel and the Palestinians next year are the same people who once predicted that he’d lose the U.S. election to John McCain in 2008.
However, some things don’t need predicting — we know that they are going to happen and will keep happening until bold action is taken. And this leads us not so much to 2010 predictions as to 2010 new year’s resolutions.
For instance, we know that 26,000 people per day are going to die around the world of poverty-related causes in 2010.
We know that millions of people will die of HIV/AIDS and that millions more children will be caught up in child labour, sexual slavery and child soldiering in 2010.
We know that low-level wars will take place in Africa, the world’s most impoverished continent, as armies backed by governments and corporations, fight over rich resources while innocent people around them lose their homes and are confined to refugee camps.
We know that sharper wars will continue in Western Asia, in Iraq and in Afghanistan, again over resources, geopolitics and religion.
To harp on the obvious, what we haven’t shown ourselves capable of doing is to go beyond predictions and heal these wounds in our planet — poverty, disease, illiteracy, human exploitation, environmental degradation and war.
Will we make progress on these issues in 2010?
We’ve just come out of a major United Nations climate change conference in Copenhagen. Will that result in anything substantial?
We have a good chance of a federal election in Canada in 2010. Will that affect current Canadian policy on world issues?
After all the excitement about the incoming Obama administration in the U.S. and his receipt of the Nobel Peace Prize, will 2010 yield real results in the role the U.S. plays in the world?
John Hogue, on his website hogueprophecy.com, apparently accurately predicted the Mumbai terrorist attack that took place in November 2008. Now, for 2010, he is predicting another global economic crisis, renewed Afghan hostilities (as if they had slowed down at all), and outbreaks of homegrown terrorism in the U.S.
Most highlighted is his prediction of a Third World War starting in 2010, “when Mother Nature declares war on human beings.” To read more on his site, you have to pay …!
When you think of it, none of these predictions is surprising or new. The world is beset by natural and manmade disasters. Happily, there are also many good things happening in communities around the world, and we shouldn’t lose sight of that.
Also not new or surprising are the solutions to our world problems. We need cooperation from a world leadership that understands our planet as one entity. We need plans that nation-states and their citizens can buy into to deal with our central issues.
We need an end to fear and greed. We need ordinary people to take an interest beyond their farm or yard gate.
Until that day comes, we can predict continued struggle for our environment and for the majority of humankind.
Our new year’s resolution should be to learn, to change and to take action.
Zack Gross works for the Manitoba Council for International Co-operation (MCIC), a coalition of more than 40 international development organizations.
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