A Brief Review of 2010
"Another year has gone," said Hogwarts headmaster Albus Dumbledore at the end of Harry Potter's first adventure, The Sorcerer's Stone.
For many people 2010 was great, filled with prosperity, good fortune, and most importantly health.
For way too many folks, however, I'm positive that 2010 was not such a good year - not in the least.
It wasn't such a good year for Haiti and its citizens, as that long beleaguered country in the Caribbean was devastated by a massive earthquake, reducing the majority of their structures to rubble and killing over 200,000 of their people.
Those who were lucky to survive were relegated to living in tents and dealing with various illnesses such as cholera. It's been a year since that disaster, and many of those survivors remain in those tents. Despite massive relief efforts there hasn't been any true rebuilding, and there seems to be no end in sight to the Haitians' suffering.
It wasn't such a good year for Mexico, as the drug cartel gangs continue to rage a brutal war that affects many of their civilians. So many people from our southern neighbor have been kidnapped and killed, in broad daylight in many cases, and like the situation in Haiti, there seems to be no end in sight.
This war over control of the Mexican drug trade to the U.S. has reached the point where one can't even take a trip into Mexico, particularly border cities like Juarez, without their life being at risk; face it, that is a scary place to go right now.
It wasn't such a good year on the Korean peninsula as Communist North Korea, the most restrictive and oppressive among all countries - which is really a totalitarian dictatorship rather than a true socialist state - has skirmished with Democratic South Korea over war exercises on a disputed island over the North's coast. One missile killed roughly a handful of South Koreans about a month ago, and only an intense intervention from the United Nations and the United States prevented an all-out war.
Being that North and South Korea technically remain at war due to the fact that their 1950-53 conflict resulted in a cease fire rather than a peace treaty, like in Mexico and Haiti there seems to be no end in sight to these latest animosities.
Most of all, 2010 was not such a good year for the millions of Americans who lost their jobs to ruthless, uncaring cutbacks and their homes to foreclosure.
Entire neighborhoods have become ghost towns as mortgages skyrocketed to inoperable amounts. CEO's of big conglomerates have been heartless in shipping jobs overseas - or cutting them altogether - unnecessarily robbing good folks of their livelihoods while increasing their already large profits, getting richer while the poor grow desperately poorer.
"Profits Over People" was certainly the rule of the day in 2010.
That the homeless population has increased among families, in addition to the increase of people taking advantage of the free holiday meals recently served in the shelters and missions, is no coincidence.
And let's not forget the thousands of young men and women who continue to die in Afghanistan as America is seemingly no closer to finding Osama Bin Laden than when George W. Bush started hostilities in Iraq in 2003.
I find it very difficult, with all of this going on, to consider 2010 as having been a banner year for far too many people in America and the world.
There is one positive about all of this depressing negativity that 2010 was full of, and that can be summed up in one word: Hope.
As 2011 begins, hope is the one thing left to be clinged to; hope that foreclosures decrease while employment increases.
Hope that no catastrophic disasters happen.
And hope that peace prevails in those places that have had no peace, like Korea's north-south border, Afghanistan and various parts of Africa.
I certainly hope such is the case as this new year gets underway.
The well being of this planet may well depend on it.