Irrespective which calendar is used, what is the difference between the last day of the ending year and the first day of the beginning year? Is there anything different between the birthday and the day after, other than getting a day older? Yet it is a humane act to wish and hope to have a new chance; to be able to make a fresh start; to leave behind the odds of life, to be discharged from an arbitrary detention at the Silivri concentration camp or from the intensive care unit of a hospital. Naturally, some hope to wake up to a new day when this country is being carried to a real democracy with no one aspiring to become the absolute ruler, collecting the executive, legislative and judicial powers in his hands, forgetting that even Süleyman the Magnificent could not rule forever.
The end of any period of time obviously provides the possibility of making an assessment of achievements and failures of that particular time as well and talk of prospects about the period ahead. In that regard it is not at all possible to have some bright talk. That famous photograph of the foreign minister and the father of a wounded Palestinian girl, weeping together in Gaza, was splashed once again on Dec. 30 on the front pages of some newspapers. Even the tragedy of that Palestinian girl and scores of other Palestinian girls and boys (and of course the Israeli kids traumatized by the Hamas rockets as well) demonstrate in all bitterness that 2012 was not an easy year at all.
But, compared to other tragedies of the Middle East, the suffering of the Palestinians might become secondary. The 2011 barbaric murder of dictator Moammar Gadhafi and takeover of government in Libya by a pro-West coalition of “mild Muslim” brothers and the Salafists could not manage to bring peace and stability to the North African country. The Salafists and the Muslim Brotherhood have nothing in common with the “new year” concept; still let’s hope 2013 starts for Libya with fresh hopes.
Iraq has been in tatters ever since it was liberated from brutal Saddam Hussein’s dictatorship by democracy and peace-loving Americans and allies. It has become a routine of life to read of 20 to 50 people killed every day in Baghdad or elsewhere in sectarian fighting. The Shiite-Sunni as well as Arab-Kurd animosities appear as if they will not die but further escalate in 2013. In Bahrain and elsewhere the forces of advanced democracy would help the sheikhs guard the precious interests of democratic Saudis, Americans and Western partners.
In Syria, unfortunately, there appears to be no limit to violence. Barbarians killing barbarians and the prospect of Turkey, Saudi, Qatar and West-supported opposition barbarians eventually winning over ruling barbarians – who have been receiving frequent pats on the back from Russia, China
– would just mean more violence. Who and how would the Christians, Nusayris and other non-Salafist or non-Sunni people be protected in that “democratic” and new Syria? Turkey’s most-lectured foreign minister, who has been championing together with Saudis and Qataris a pan-Sunni support for Syrian rebels, perhaps has an idea to avoid tomorrow another foreign minister visiting Damascus and weeping in front of mass graves of slaughtered minorities. Such a calamity unfortunately might become unavoidable should his “good terrorists” succeed in Syria.
Anyhow, at least for friends in intensive care units of hospitals or in Turkish prisons, let us hope 2013 brings salvation. Our prayers will be with them as well as with the victims of the so-called spring that turned into a dark winter.