Prue Hyman gives some random end of year thoughts —
Looking back at my 2018 columns, I’ve written with approval of the work of social justice pressure groups and of the wonderful resources of BrainPickings.
I’ve supported Peace Movement Aotaroa’s call for more social spending at the expense of defence industries, remembered the lives and work of Ursula Le Guin. Elinor Ostrom and Katherine Mansfield, supported pay equity and suffrage events, and appealed for positive improvements to the welfare system.
And I’ve given tentative support to the broadening of Treasury’s work to encompass living standards while doubting whether it will be implemented to improve the lot of the less well off in Aotearoa. Ah well, one has to live in hope.
And now my list of random thoughts
- Here are some random end of year thoughts. How can one possibly be optimistic about the international situation? With Brexit and Theresa May’s government’s future in the balance, I worry about the future of my country of birth and its citizens.
- Then the USA madness, tub thumping in the Middle East, the situation in Russia/Ukraine, and threats to fair world trade and the climate make one almost despair of the future of the planet under current appalling governments. I guess we simply have to gird our loins yet again to do what we can in 2019 to support those working on the right side of these issues.
- Then there’s the awful murder of a woman tourist in New Zealand – followed by many posts rightly pointing out how many NZ women are killed by supposed loved ones and more rarely by strangers. These murders and the associated male violence generate far less publicity. I am cynical enough to believe that part of the anguish over the death of Grace Millane is to try to prevent tourism being negatively affected.
- Let’s agonise as much over the real extent of male violence and find ways to reduce it – some efforts have been made this year but there is a very long way to go.
A ‘Christmas agnostic’
As a Jewish agnostic, I’m a bit of a Christmas avoider but not this year – I will be celebrating it with the family of a new friend and trying not to be a Grinch!
Not that my Jewish agnostic status stopped me singing Messiah with the Kapiti Chorale – a beautiful piece of music for which I thank and marvel at Handel whenever I get to sing it. But Channukah is my real celebration at this time of year and Channukah in the Park was a lovely event at Wellington’s Botanic Gardens. The story of the oil that miraculously lasted for 8 days is one of the most pleasant nonsense miracle stories.
And the day raised money for the Holocaust Centre (I did my bit selling raffle tickets) which does sterling work with educating future generations about the holocaust.
Equally important is its messages about the need to stamp out racism in all its forms and be upstanders, not bystanders. That seems to me a suitable affirmation for 2019.
Have a good New Year, whatever you celebrate.