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A year in history

Joseph FX Zahra  -  02/02/2017 09:31

History is continuously in the making, but never has history been dictated so boldly from the very first days of a calendar year. Trumpism and Brexit will have a lasting impact on the shape of the world to come. Economies and society are bound to be grossly and badly affected. 

What are we expecting from these two phenomena?  Isms are never created out of thin air.  Both are the result of a popular vote taken in functioning democracies. The citizens are king. 

Both have opened the way to the extremes of populism. Not only the sort of the Marine Le Pen, Geert Wilders, and Matteo Salvini, but also otherwise moderate politicians like Theresa May and Francois Fillon taking stronger populist views to win over support. 

We will see more economic policies heading towards isolationism, nationalism, protectionism. More walls being built, not only literally but also metaphorically.

We will be bound to accept more authoritarian streaks in political leadership, even when knowing that politicians are now lying more than ever before, and that they are bound to close an eye to sleaze and fraud when measuring progress is narrowly defined by measuring economic growth.  Expect therefore more bullying, more sad stories of corruption, and a collapse of moral standards as politicians already tainted by incorrectness in behaviour are elected or re-elected to lead nations. 

This will also be the year when we return to exclusiveness, where colour, creed and gender will resurface, this time to deprive minorities and the marginalized from their dignity and rights. 

This could also be the year which will get us dangerously closer to open conflict, even on a worldwide level as nationalism breeds fear and anxiety and defence budgets are again boosted in preparation for war. 

The main perpetrators of the state of affairs we are in today are human greed and a general deterioration in moral principles, as we lost the sense of family and community.  But perhaps the main underlying and probably most dangerous cause is that of indifference, and that of being immune to moral impropriety. Presenting a blind eye towards the usurpation of political choice and human dignity, as we go on with our narrow life in our small world when others that have been elected are abusing their authority.   

During the recent Davos meeting Pope Francis was mentioned during the various debates as the only world leader that can instil hope in this dangerous period that we are living in. Civic society and the Church need to wake us up from our indifference and indicate in no half ways what is right and what is wrong; demonstrate the value of truth and the consequences of reckless action or inaction that take us far away from virtual leadership. By our indifference, we are committing the sin of omission.