Happy New Year. First and foremost, the Editorial Committee of Songsoptok wishes its authors, supporters and above all readers a very Happy New Year. Let the New Year fulfill your wishes and dreams and bring health, wealth, happiness and success to you and yours. Like billions of other people all over the world, I suppose you too made resolutions at the stroke of midnight, publicly or privately. We wish you every success in achieving the goals and the targets you set for yourself.

It is customary to review the year that has just ended – I think we all do it, consciously or unconsciously. We think about the wonderful moments, about friends and family who left us and how we miss them. We bask in the warm glow of success, our own and that of our offspring or other family members, we regret once more the opportunities we had lost. At a more impersonal level, we also review what happened during the year throughout the world.

In that respect 2016 would remain a memorable year for international politics – topping the list, probably, is the victory of Donald Trump in the US Presidential elections, followed closely by Brexit. The world watched shell shocked as Europe paused on the brink of implosion and the citizens of USA chose their next President to prove that they had had enough of Democrats and their social approach. We wait with bated breath to see that wall erected on the Mexican border, the dismantling of Obama Care and the other exemplary campaign promises while Kremlin threatens to reveal the true face of the new American President.

2016 will also be remembered, I think, for the heinous acts of terrorism perpetrated on innocent civilians – in Nice, Belgium, Istanbul, Pakistan, Orlando, Munich and elsewhere – killing hundreds of innocent people whose only crime was to be in the wrong place at the wrong time. Extreme right political parties are gaining in strength all over the world with xenophobia and islamophobia as their main arms. At the same time, Colombia took a farm step towards enduring peace by signing the historic peace treaty with the FARC under the determined leadership of Juan Santos who became the recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize. Brazil and South Korea impeached their Presidents on charges of corruption, fiscal peddling and influence-peddling scandals, We lost a lot of our musical icons last year – David Bowie, Prince, George Michel, Leonard Cohen, George Martin nicknamed the Fifth Beatle amongst others, leaving admirers sad and somewhat bereft. Umberto Eco, Harper Lee, Alvin Toffler, Mahasweta Devi, Edward Albee – all great and prolific writers shall write no more. Ettore Scola and Abbas Kiarostami shall make no new films. Political and intellectual giants Elie Wiesel, Shimon Peres and Fidel Castro made their final bow. Film buffs will miss Alan Rickman, and Star Wars fans are mourning the death of Carrie Fisher. The list of those we lost is too long but each one of us shall remember some of them with fondness and admiration.

And now the old year has gone, and the New Year has entered, welcomed by ringing bells and sparkling fireworks and the transient enthusiasm of New Year’s Eve. I have made no New Year’s resolutions but I do have a wish list. I care little if it sounds trite or pompous or both. I wish peace in Syria, in Israel, in Palestine and in all other war torn zones in the world. I wish that our donations will help feed children and provide clean drinking water Sub-Saharan Africa or educate girl children in India or Pakistan. I hope for a more just, equal and equitable world. Because  “The blossoms of the New Year's crown / Bloom from the ashes of the dead.”

Aparajita Sen


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