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2008 Was A Turbulent Yet Historic Year

Surrey, Vancouver, Dec. 28, 2008
Balwant Sanghera

Another year has just gone by. In a sense, it has been a rather turbulent yet historic year in many ways. Events triggered during 2008 are likely to have a huge impact locally, nationally and internationally for a long time to come.
Barack Obama’s election to the highest elected office, in the only super power of the world, was naturally one of the biggest, if not the biggest, news across the globe. His election brought a sense of hope and optimism not only to Americans but people all over the world. It is amazing how a first term senator, unknown to more than half of Americans only two years ago, managed to accomplish so much in such a short period of time.
Obama had all of the odds stacked against him. Son of an African father and an American mother, he has surprised a lot of political pundits. His message of change and hope proved to be a hit with the voters who were getting tired of the Bush administration.
People’s expectations from Obama have been raised very high. It is going to be a huge challenge for the incoming president. Let’s see if he will be able to deliver.

The worldwide economic meltdown has been the other major development to hit everyone. This again, is a great challenge to the world leadership including Canada. Loss of hundreds of thousands of jobs is a scary possibility. In times like these, every country needs a stable government at the helm. However, if the events of the last few weeks in Ottawa are any indication we are in for some extremely turbulent times. Our politicians need to rise above petty partisanship and focus their energy on addressing the economy rather than playing politics. The economic problems coupled with worldwide threats of terrorism are some of the crucial issues facing mankind in the New Year.

Terrorism has reared its ugly head again. This time, these fanatics struck at the commercial capital of India –Mumbai. For 60 hours, this beautiful city was under siege. Two luxurious hotels, couple of hospitals, a famous railway station and a few other landmarks were the targets of these twisted minds. The events of November 26,2008 have been dubbed as India’s 9/11. To their credit, the citizens of this great city have bounced back and the things are getting back to normal. Around 200 innocent lives been lost and a few hundred more have been seriously injured. The whole world has condemned this cowardly act in the strongest possible terms. Our heartfelt sympathies go out to the victims of this senseless carnage. Unfortunately, this tragedy has again brought two neighbours –India and Pakistan- to the brink of war.

For the past several years, relations between India and Pakistan were getting better. However, this heinous act of terrorism has caused a lot of tension between these two nuclear powers. It is easy to understand India’s anger and frustration. Reports indicate that the plot to inflict so much damage to one of India’s major commercial centers was hatched and launched from Pakistani territory. Pakistani officials deny this. Only time will tell as to how this whole scenario unfolded. Rather than saber rattling, now is the time for cooler heads to prevail.

It is rather unfortunate that a number of terrorist organizations have created such a scare around the globe. No country or city appears to be safe any more.

Terrorism has spread like a cancer. It is not one country or one region’s problem any more. It is every law-abiding citizen’s problem now. Those who perpetrate terrorism must be dealt with severely.
Their training camps and related infrastructure must be put out of commission. Also, the people who promote terrorism and poison young minds must be dealt with firmly and effectively. The whole world community must fight against terrorism with all of the resources at its disposal.

This unfortunate tragedy offers India, Pakistan and other countries an excellent opportunity to work to-gether in rooting out this evil. Let’s hope and pray that tragedies like this will never happen again.
Hopefully, the New Year will usher an era of peace, harmony and goodwill throughout the world.



Balwant Sanghera

Balwant Sanghera
President, Punjabi Language Education Association . He is a retired School Psychologist and Community Activist in British Columbia ,Canada.