Dear 2022, here is my wish list

Hello 2022, you look fresh and fantastic. And I love the way you arrived, waking up in the sparkling dawn of Kiev with fireworks and live music. Do you mind if I ask you for some favors? Don’t worry, I’ll start small.

Please free us from the confusion of Covid. I mean, what gives? First there is no need for masks, then you have to mask yourself. Close all businesses, reopen now – oh sorry, close again. The same with children and schools. The vaccines are there to save the day. Except a lot of people prefer horse dewormers, and anyway, here’s an explosion of revolutionary cases.

The new numbers of cases are the best measure to assess the pandemic. In fact, they are dead. No, hospitalizations. More recently, Omicron is either the harbinger of the apocalypse or the dove of Noah, heralding a new dawn. So, could you please help someone stand up and explain what’s going on in the world? Thank you.

Plus, it would be fantastic if this is the year we in the media are able to find our rhythm again. No story in my life has been as complex, layered, and ever-changing as Covid-19. It is public health and safety, it is politics, society and culture, travel and business and the global and local economies. Every week he develops a new appendix, and every week some top media seems to miss the boat. They say you can never enter the same river twice because it is always moving and evolving – this has been the case with journalists and Covid-19.

Assuming we can’t stop it, grant us the will to better mitigate climate change. In particular, I would like a strong reduction in the negative impact of the drought that lasted for years in the former Fertile Crescent, which devastated a significant part of the Middle East. In northern Syria, drought and political inaction have crushed agriculture and impoverished millions of people, prompting many to join ISIS just to put food on the table.

Likewise in Turkey, the number of farmers has fallen by a third and the debt of farmers has increased nearly 100 times since 2003. In Iraq, countless farmers have given up as lakes and rivers have receded. dried up. “The land we had was our gold. Now look at us: no wages, nothing,” a farmer in Diyala province told the Los Angeles Times.

Please prevent Russia and Ukraine from going to war with each other. More death, danger and destruction seems unlikely to resolve the differences between Moscow and Kiev, or our global problems more generally.

Continuing on foreign policy, it would be great if Turkey’s rapprochement with a host of former regional rivals continues. Hopefully by the end of the year we’ll see a regional drilling operation in the Eastern Mediterranean involving Turkey, Egypt, Israel, Greece, Cyprus and France.

While staying in the neighborhood, please help Lebanon, a country that has offered me countless delicacies and some of my best works, to stop its fall into the abyss. If you’re Lebanese these days, there’s a good chance you’ve recently moved to a more stable place, like nearby Cyprus, or bought a gun to protect your family as chaos has set in. takes over the neighborhood. The parallels with pre-civil war Lebanon in the early 1970s are significant and disturbing, but the economic free fall continues against a backdrop of rampant corruption and inflation.

Which reminds me, could you maybe take a minute to curb the inflation that is plaguing the world? The United States is struggling with its highest inflation in almost 40 years. The British would face a “cost of living catastrophe”. Dizzying inflation sparks further protests in Tunisia. Even countries experiencing economic growth are feeling the bite: India’s headline inflation hit a record high in November; while Turkish bakers – the world’s largest per capita bread consumer – can barely afford to bake their daily bread. Fortunately, we’ve already started to see signs of a recovery, so you’re off to a good start, 2022.

In the meantime, please allow wider and faster delivery of vaccines to the world’s poor. It has been over a year since rich countries started immunizations and eight months since countries like the United States had huge stocks. Yet while more than three in four citizens of high-income countries have been vaccinated, less than 9% of people in the poorest countries have received their first vaccine. The world has produced 12 billion doses, but nearly half of the world’s population (3.4 billion people) is still unvaccinated. It must be remedied.

Speaking of which, let’s make this the year the year we can achieve something that looks like the end of the pandemic. This could mean that it is becoming an endemic and permanent feature of our health landscape, like the flu, or that it is somehow entirely stifled by a brilliant new vaccine. Either way, it’s time to start finding ways to move forward. Humans are social creatures and we must be able to move around our cities, towns, countries and continents with relative freedom or our sense of civilization begins to crumble.

In fact, it’s probably already started. Please, in 2022 remind us how to discuss, debate and even argue, rather than assuming, insulting and rejecting. Pick a country, pretty much any country – maybe outside of the relative stability of the Gulf. India, Turkey, United States and United Kingdom. France, Poland, Australia, Indonesia, the list goes on and on.

All of them face widespread political polarization, a yawning gulf between supposedly conservative voices on the one hand and supposedly progressive views on the other. They no longer get along because they no longer listen to each other. And they don’t listen anymore because each side now sees the other as capable of little more than distortion and hyperbole. Efforts to bridge the gap tend to be disgusting or condescending. A good example is the recent Kurdish art exhibition in Turkey, which generated too much heat and was prematurely closed by the government, just as the debates were starting to heat up.

So let’s get into the discussion. Talking to an enemy rather than rejecting them is a sign of respect, a sign that you take their opinion seriously enough to take them sincerely. Tolerating those with whom we do not agree is good, but it is far from up to par. It is through engaged, mature and even passionate debate that we will likely be able to cross very real and meaningful differences and find a path to understanding, even connection. This is how we will start to overcome some of the obstacles that I have detailed above.

Show us the way, 2022.

Posted: Jan 3, 2022, 4:00 AM

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