2023: it was the best of times, it was the worst of times

Published December 30, 2023
A view shows houses and buildings destroyed in Israeli aggression in Jabalia in the northern Gaza Strip, October 11, 2023. Photo: Reuters
A view shows houses and buildings destroyed in Israeli aggression in Jabalia in the northern Gaza Strip, October 11, 2023. Photo: Reuters

“It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of Light, it was the season of Darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair.”

These words from the famous Charles Dicken’s novel ‘A Tale of Two Cities’ perfectly define the year 2023. Rather, the extract explains every passing year in the post-truth era.

The year 2023 ended with a number of unusual, shocking, and unprecedented events that will influence many forthcoming years.

This year, we saw many women playing bigger role than men, while the world also witnessed horrific scenes of war from Ukraine to Gaza.

Israel pounds Gaza after US vetoes rare UN ceasefire bid

Pakistan’s economy, as usual, remained in search of lifelines, and the assemblies were deprived of elected members. Caretakers, however, cherished the extended time as they came up with stunning five- or 10-year plans.

Dozens of journalists got killed, while a few continued to stooping new lows.

The truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth. But isn’t truth different from reality? This remained unanswered for another year.

Researchers say we are living in the post-truth era, a term that refers to the 21st century widespread documentation of and concern about disputes over public truth claims, according to unreliable Wikipedia.

‘Post-truth era’: Istanbul Declaration stresses need for mechanisms to fight disinformation

Social media bears the brunt of propagandas, misinformation, disinformation, etc. However, traditional media, dependent on one-way communication, still feeds what it considers moral, though losing its value every year.

The world had almost succeeded to passing another year with the same order where moral authority was with the US and Western countries and Russia was a threat to the world’s peace. However, October 7 changed that world order, making 2023 a year of great calamity.

Hamas from Gaza stunned Israel in what the Jewish professor, Norman Finkelstein, called “a slave revolt” from the world’s largest open-air prison.

Hamas attacks in Israel, which killed 1,200 Israelis according to Israeli figures, provided Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu a golden opportunity to save his political image at a time when he was facing corruption charges and to make his long-delayed wish to destroy the Gaza Strip come true.

Iran slams UN ‘inefficacy’ to stop Gaza war

As the world prepares to celebrate New Year’s Eve, Israel has already killed over 21,000 Palestinians, mostly children, and pushed the whole population of Gaza to the South to count their days.

The US, Western countries have been reluctant to condemn Israeli aggression, yet they believe Ukraine still has a chance to win its years-long war with Russia.

This all has led to a sharp criticism on the US and Western countries over their morality thoughts related to Russia’s aggression on Ukraine, not from their rivals but from the allies as well.

US allies reluctant on Red Sea task force

The Gaza situation can turn into a regional conflict anytime in the year 2024 with Hezbollah increasing attacks on northern Israel and Yemen’s Houthis remain a threat to the ships passing through the crucial Suez Canal.

Taking out the global lens, we saw women in Pakistan shine in many areas in 2023.

Lawyer Sabahat Rizvi became the first woman Secretary of the Lahore High Court Bar Association (LHCBA) in 130 years.

Mountaineer Naila Kiani became the first Pakistani woman climber to summit 10 peaks above 8,000 metres.

Singer and composer Arooj Aftab was the first Pakistani artist to perform at the Grammy Awards 2023 in Los Angeles.

Justice Musarrat Hilali was sworn in as the first woman chief justice of the Peshawar High Court. She then went on to become the Supreme Court’s second woman judge.

The country also saw women taking strong positions in protests by Baloch people against “forced disappearances” and protests by the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) after the arrest of former prime minister Imran Khan.

Amid all this, Pakistan also went through unprecedented political and economic uncertainty in 2023, which the upcoming 2024 is going to inherit.

The rupee reaching record lows and lack of foreign inflows kept the import-based economy under pressure throughout the year. Meanwhile, exorbitant power bills caused countrywide protests and strikes.

Politics is all about perception and political parties struggled in Pakistan to present a clear and positive political and economic outlook. Other stakeholders have also collectively disappointed the masses.

In that case, holding free, fair, and timely elections in the country can be the best New Year gift to the nation!

The article does not necessarily reflect the opinion of Business Recorder or its owners

Rehan Ayub

The writer is a Senior Sub Editor at Business Recorder (Digital)


Comments are closed.

TimetoMoVVeOn Jan 01, 2024 07:39pm
Just came from India, say what you may about Modi this and that. Pakistan only has the ability to see India through a very very narrow prisim of "not-so-good." There are lots of problems to solve here, but gotta give it to the Indian Govt for attempting to solve them. Every where there is investment development hope and pride. People are optimistic and are hopeful about the future. Sure, as many win, some will lose out. And those are often highlighted in the Pakistan news papers. But a large large swathe i.e. a majority of people are happy and looking forward to becoming the third largest economy in the world. Pride galore everywhere.
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KU Jan 02, 2024 06:04pm
The article is about the best and worst of times. It does not mention India or Modi, having a guilt feeling or a bad dream?
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