Thursday, December 27, 2007

A very twisted end of the year 2007

This year is coming to an end. It couldn't be closing in a more dramatic, bizarre and twisted fashion. The brutal assassination of Benazir Bhutto, former Prime Minister of Pakistan and leader of the opposition to Pervez Musharraf's rule, is certainly a catastrophic incident that will bring nothing more than instability to Pakistan, its neighbors, foes and allies. Bhutto's assassination was not only a very coward demonstration against democracy in a country where most citizens have struggled for years to establish a government that truly works for the interest of the people (instead of the ambitions of small groups), but it was also a very effective way to boycott the elections that were scheduled for early January in Pakistan. It looks that Musharraf's rule will stay in place, at least until the peace is somehow restored in the country.

This year is closing in a very shaken way. But the way in which 2007 is coming to an end is, unfortunately, not very different than the fashion in which recent years have ended as well. Let's do a bit of retrospective:
  • During the final days of December of 2006, the world had split opinions regarding the imminent execution of Saddam Hussein. The situation was tense, and people (especially in the Arab nations) were expecting a big turmoil were Saddam executed. In addition to Saddam's case, a terrorist attack to the Barajas International Airport in Madrid, Spain, left two casualties, a severe material damage in some of the airport's buildings, and panic among the Spanish population. This combination of incidents made the closing of 2006 a very negative one.
  • During the final days of December of 2004, a deadly tsunami hit several countries in the Indian Ocean, killing hundreds of thousands of people (some sources estimate the toll to be as high as 300,000 victims). Needless to say, the tsunami left several people homeless, provoked a shortage in food supplies, severed families, drove out tourists from a zone that typically survives from its income on tourism, and caused critical damages to the infrastructure of the places it hit. Such tsunami, nicknamed by some people "the Boxing Day tsunami" (because it happened exactly on Boxing Day - December 26), is the deadliest catastrophe in the recent history
  • Also on December 26, but of 2003, an intense earthquake devastated the city of Bam, in Iran. The death toll for this incident was estimated to be as high as 80,000 victims, plus many more injured. Additionally, the damages to the city's infrastructure and landscape (considered a World Heritage site by the UNESCO) were severe, to the extent that the Iranian authorities are still working to date in order to restore the site.
Let's hope that the year 2008 brings more fortunate events than the ones exposed above. However, I extend by now my most sincere sympathy to the people of Pakistan.

Photo by AP


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