I celebrated the end of the decade by falling asleep at 11pm watching a movie and my wife woke me up at midnight… Makes me wonder how I am going to finish this decade - if I am still around then…
I have to say that the past decade started pretty well since I was on the Washington Mall near the Lincoln Memorial all jazzed up about the fireworks and the new Millennium (where did the collective excitement go by the way?). And then came September 11 and the burst of the internet bubble and in an interesting symmetry, those ten years ended with a global financial crisis that put our whole system on the edge of the precipice and with a failed terrorism attempt on a flight bound to the US from Amsterdam last Christmas Day.
I have certainly no psychic talents, so why should I be any good at foreseeing what History has in store for us? But yes, strangely enough, every decade I am just surprised by what happens – stuff that seems to come from left field… In the 70s there was that terrorism in Europe (I lived in Paris as a kid) - but friends and readers, I am not that old, I was not pondering in December 1969 about what might happen in the 70s… Rather I did not want to go to school and I was puking every day, but that’s another story.
If I had been told at the end of the 70s that the Soviet Giant would crumble and collapse and the Berlin Wall would fall, I would have laughed. If ten years later someone had told me that there would be two massive genocides in the 90s, in Rwanda and former Yugoslavia and the international community would be sitting idle (including myself) doing nothing, I would not have laughed but probably banged my head against the wall, wondering how that could be possible after the Holocaust in WWII – my generation grew up with this “Never Again” thing in mind. Did not have much of an effect, did it?
Same tune – end of the 90s, I probably would have disagreed with the assertion that Islamic fundamentalism was going to become the major threat to the Western world – probably out of idealism and naïveté and also because I did not share the political agenda of those who were saying so at the time (because there were some). As to the global crisis, there had been those big systemic crises in Southeast Asia, Russia, and Mexico in the 90s but Western countries seemed far from those excesses – we believed we knew better I guess. Yeah right!!
So, what now? Don’t ask me, I have no idea. But let’s all try to have fun, be happy, and continue whatever little things we all do to make this world a better place.