We are in 2013 and let’s hope the New Year will be more bountiful and peaceful.
Every year is one of ups and downs, more ups for some countries and more downs for others. In the past few days, the global media, both print and electronic, have been busy dissecting the year which has just passed, chronicling the best and the worst which happened. And as usual, people all over the world welcomed 2013 with more celebrations, parities and a fervent hope that their lives will be better. Some will make New Year’s resolutions, but that is less of a fad nowadays because making a resolution on this day is no guarantee of our resoluteness to keep it.
The year 2012 was one of economic downtown for the West, and one of great pain and no gain for some European countries. In Asia, it was a year of political tension due to maritime and other disputes between China and its neighbours.
For almost the entire Middle East, it has been a year of upheavals and uncertainties. Countries where long-serving dictators were thrown out through a popular uprising will welcome New Year with a mix of hope and apprehension – hope at the fact that they are enjoying freedom and their future now lies in their hands, and apprehension at the fact that the transition to democracy has been rough and tough, and can continue to remain so if there is no unity and consensus on where they are headed. Especially for Syrians, 2012 was a year of suffering and the birth of 2013 might have gone unnoticed in the country. The rulers in other Arab countries where the winds of ‘Spring’ had blown through, but hadn’t uprooted the regimes, are likely to usher in the New Year with trepidation.
For Qatar, 2013 promises to be more exciting and a year of heightened economic activity. The building of infrastructure for 2022 World Cup will gather pace this year and Doha will continue to play, with more vigour and enthusiasm, the role of a mediator in regional and international affairs. The expected boom in economic growth, which could result in a surge in Qatar’s investments abroad with the acquisition of new high-profile brands and companies, and the growth in its diplomatic stature will further solidify Qatar’s position on the global stage. Also, the population of the country will witness an increase as more foreigners rush in to avail of the new opportunities being thrown up by the infrastructure developments.
But despite our best wishes and intense hopes, the events of this year will be influenced by past events and unforeseen developments will, as usual, can play havoc with human planning.
But let’s focus on hope.