It is near the end of an incredibly fast year and as I contemplate the year that has been and the year that is coming, I realise that it has been a year of highs but also a year of lows both personally and at a global level.
This year we have lost a great pool of talent ranging from the incredible Prince, David Bowie, Muhammad Ali, Jon English, Leonard Cohen, Natalie Cole, Gene Wilder, Nancy Reagan and very recently George Michael. As I contemplated the many people who have passed, I realised that I am also mourning my own father who is still with us but in many ways, as ill health ravages his body and dementia slowly but surely eats away at what made my father the person I love, I can’t help but feel that he too is gone. Every time I see my Dad, I leave with an incredible pain in my heart knowing that the father I love, is no longer really there. The little girl in me cries for my father but as the roles have been reversed and I have become one of my Dad’s carers, I know that my father is no longer really here. Sure, there is a man who looks like him but the humour and love that made up my Dad went a long time ago. As a family, we have paid a very heavy price though not as much as my father who is but a mere shadow of the man he once was. My father’s medical care has been disgraceful where he has simply been prescribed medication after medication over the last thirty years rather than getting to the root cause of his declining health. I can’t help but feel that if my father had had a better doctor who had actually addressed my father’s poor diet and lifestyle, that his health wouldn’t have declined so dramatically. This is why I am so passionate about nutrition and the role of food as medicine.
At an international level, we have seen the atrocities that make up the Syrian crisis played out daily in the media. The shocking human cost that is the daily story of the besieged Aleppo surely can not fail to move even the hardest of hearts? Even now as the Syrian President, Bashar al-Assad claims victory in recapturing Aleppo, the devastation that has wrecked havoc on this once prosperous city that was so full of history is a long way away from being fixed. This war that has dragged on for almost 5 years, has had a huge human toll that has caused between 320 000 to 470 000 deaths (figures vary depending upon the source). It doesn’t matter who is right and who is wrong – what matters is that this modern holocaust has been allowed to continue for so long. Who is talking for the innocent women, men and children of Syria? I am ashamed as a human being that the world has looked on and does so little to help. Albert Einstein once said:
“The world will not be destroyed by those who do evil, but by those who watch them without doing anything.”
But it is not just the people who have died but also those who have been displaced.
The last time we saw displacement of this magnitude was in the Second World War. I believe we had a more compassionate response back then. I’m not sure if it is because of social media, but there is a real fear of refugees in many western countries. I find it incredible that it is often third world countries that have had a more humane response to the refugee crisis than many western countries. I am ashamed of Australia’s hardline stance on zero tolerance for illegal refugees. I understand that people worry about jobs and national security, but to assume that refugees are potential terrorists is ridiculous. One only needs to turn on the news to see what horrors these people are fleeing.
Next month we see The Donald take over as President of the most powerful nation in the world. I can’t help but feel he won because people are angry and fed up about various issues and it was that dissatisfaction that brought about the election results rather than a belief that Trump would be a better choice. I admit to knowing that if I had had to vote in the American elections, it would have been difficult because I didn’t believe that Hillary Clinton would have been a good President but I certainly wouldn’t have voted for Trump. The people of America voted loudly that they were fed up and now we must all watch and pray that Trump won’t keep all the promises he made during the election campaign as many of them were divisive and will only make the world an angrier place to be.
Australians are equally dissatisfied with their leaders and we have had an embarrassing rollercoaster ride of six different Prime Ministers since 2007. How did this once great nation sink to a playground of bickering children who rather than strive to make Australia strong again, simply move out the current Prime Minister for new blood in the hope that will resolve things? Let’s all stop complaining about the things that annoy us and instead get actively involved in BEING the change. If you don’t like something, find a way of making a proactive choice that will lead to things being better. For example, it has been heartening to see the overwhelming support to stamp out domestic violence. Likewise, we are seeing more people speak up about child abuse and it is my fervent prayer that one day, this damming reality of modern society, is wiped out. But for that to happen, the government needs to allocate a lot more resources towards the support agencies that have the responsibility of overseeing this.
So as we say goodbye to 2016 and celebrate the bright beginning of a new year, let us all remember that each of us has a responsibility to make the world a better place. Be it within your own immediate family, neighbourhood, workplace or on a bigger scale at a national or international level, stand up and have your voice heard. Be the Director, Producer and Actor in your own life and shape the world that you want to live in by being an active participant of life.