There have been many changes in the Tampa Bay area this year, but they are nothing compared to events that have taken place around the globe.
Only five days into the 2011 New Year, the Republicans took control of the House of Representatives, and as if this were a sign of what was to come, it all went downhill after that. Many political changes occurred after months of unrest in different regions of the world, such as the Egyptian protests and the removal of President Hosni Mubarak; the escalating protests in Syrian; the Libyan rebellion and the slaying of Colonel Moammar Gadhafi; the death of Osama Bin Laden in a compound north of Islamabad, Pakistan; the assassination attempt of Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords; and the collapse of Tunisia when President Zine El Abidine Ben Ali fled the country.
The sluggish economy nearly came to a standstill in some parts of the world, causing Greeks to protest due to their failing economical system; London riots to escalate during the summer; Spanish citizens to take to the streets in Spain due to unemployment; and Americans tired of supporting the rich while they receive the short end of the stick began a fast growing movement called Occupy Wall Street. Plus, the U.S. currency faltered under the strain of overspending, and for the first time the United States’ credit rating was cut.
Natural disasters were heavy this year. This was witnessed globally when devastating tornados tore up huge areas in the south of the United States; flash flooding in Queensland, Australia was experienced; a 6.3-magnitude earthquake shook the region near Christchurch, New Zealand; mudslides and floods in Brazil caused homelessness; massive flooding in Thailand put most of the country underwater for several months; a 9.0-magnitude earthquake caused a Tsunami and nuclear reactor disaster in Japan; and an earthquake in eastern Turkey brought destitution to many. These natural occurrences killed thousands of people and displaced hundreds of thousands more throughout the past twelve months.
The deaths of several popular individuals affected millions during 2011. The co-founder of Apple, Inc., Steve Jobs, died from cancer. The avatar, Sai Baba died in India. Vaclav Havel, the President of Czech Republic died at age 75. Kim Jong II, the leader of North Korea died at the age of 69. Also, the former heavyweight boxer, Joe Frazier died of cancer; the Emmy Award winning commentator on 60 minutes, Andy Rooney passed away three days after recording his last show; and the racecar driver Dan Wheldon died in Las Vegas during a 15-car wreck to the regret of many fans.
Random violence appeared when two religious shrines were blown up during the Shiite holy day of Ashura, and a suicide bomber blew himself up at the Domodedovo International Airport in Moscow. Not to mention the ongoing widespread chaos and violence in the border drug towns of Mexico that continues to kill hundreds of people.
Sadly, 2011 marked the end of the American space shuttle program. It also brought attention to irresponsible Web sites like WikiLeaks , which released American diplomatic cables that could endanger lives.
With all this bad news you have to ask, “Did anything good happen in 2011?”
Yes, there was some good news. The British royal family had a splendid wedding, but that is a far cry from the painful reality of the millions dying of starvation in southern Somalia due to famine this year.
Many people are worried about what may happen in 2012, but after following a year filled with unemployment, hardship, economical failures, violence, starvation, and an enormous amount of natural disasters, things have got to get better next year.
Don’t look at 2012 like a continuation of last year. Instead, see it as a new beginning. It can be like a new dawn after the darkest of nights, or the brilliant, colorful sky that brightens the world after a frightening storm.
It could manifest in bringing all of our troops home with a positive change in political policy that will avoid war in the future. It could be a wonderful opportunity for countries such as, Egypt, Libya, Syria, North Korea, Tunisia, Iraq, and Iran to make humanistic changes with the designation of new civil rights. It may be the beginning of a unified, harmonious Europe, in which each nation accepts the responsibility for themselves to bolster the good of the whole. Perhaps, with the millions starving in Somalia, world leaders will spend more time and effort on preventing this needless loss of life, by removing the dark shadows of war, famine, and disease throughout the world, and lighting a roaring flame of hope for all.
We must remember that the solutions for even the largest problems on this planet start with each individual creating value at home. Each person’s innovative, visionary ideas will filter out into their community and spread to neighboring cities, making a better life and unifying the people of the earth so they can achieve balance and personal prosperity.
Move forward with a song of hope in your heart this coming year. Take positive action and get involved. Your attitude will be contagious to those around you.