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A year some may want to forget

A year some may want to forget

Every new year is welcomed with great expectations.  Personal resolutions are made, companies and nations globally set targets, all aimed at achieving better results than the previous year's. Expectations for 2014 were not different and now that it is part of history, it is normal we take a mental stock and applaud ourselves where we think we have achieved set targets and resolve to make amends where we have failed.

When it comes to natural disasters, conflicts and the loss of dear ones, 2014 is a year many would want to forget. In Ghana, we escaped the natural disasters, ethnic, religious and socio-political conflicts that befell other countries and geographical regions.

We were, however, not spared some of the painful realities of life. Barely one month into 2014, the nation was gripped with news of the death of Komla Dumor, undoubtedly an icon in broadcasting, which sad event occurred on January 18, 2014.  The nation lost other illustrious sons and daughters to death including Mr Paul Victor Obeng, a giant in our contemporary political history, and Kofi Ansah, a renowned designer. 

Other families also suffered the loss of their dear ones and no amount of sweet words could console them.  We, therefore, wish the souls of the departed to rest in peace. One person who is listed missing and we hope that is the case, and sooner than later he would surface, is ace musician Castro.  The man has not been seen since he went skiing on the Volta at Ada on July 6, 2014.

The energy crisis which brought industrial, commercial and domestic activities to a near halt in the country is something we should all pray against this year. This and many of our national problems could be minimised and even eliminated if only our leaders could be proactive and think beyond today in their planning.

We registered our worst performance since we made our first appearance at the World Cup in Germany in 2006 at Brazil 2014. The expectations were very high so when player revolt over appearance fees and poor leadership spelt our exit in the first round, the nation's heart was broken.

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At the sub-regional level, the outbreak of Ebola disease in March, first in Guinea and then Liberia, Sierra Leone and to a lesser degree Nigeria, brought the already least developed part of the poorest continent to its knees.  Containing the scourge is still a big challenge and we pray with the support of the international community, a cure would be found soonest.

The activities of Boko Haram in northern Nigeria are a serious threat to the security of the sub-region. The group gained international notoriety when it abducted 270 schoolgirls in April who have not been seen since then.

On the global stage, the aviation industry suffered some of its greatest setbacks within one year.  On March 8, 2014, a Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370, travelling from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing, disappeared from radar in airspace with 379 people on board.  Nearly one year after that, the whereabouts of the aircraft is still a mystery. 

On July 17, 2014, another Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 crashed over Ukraine, killing all 298 people aboard.  On July 24, 2014, an Air Algeria Flight 5017 crashed in Mali, killing 116 people.

Just three days to the end of the year, on December 28, 2014, Air Asia Flight QZ 8501 disappeared while flying from Surabaya in Indonesia to Singapore. Parts of the aircraft were found after a search mission but all the 162 people aboard were confirmed dead.

Another major disaster was the sinking of a South Korean ferry — Sewol — killing about 294 people, mostly high school students on a field trip.

The world's hotbeds, including the Middle East, Pakistan and Afghanistan, continued to attract headlines because of the never-ending Israeli-Palestinian conflict and the upsurge in the activities of Al-Qaeda and its numerous wings and  the Taleban.  The emergence of Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) in the year muddied the already murky waters.

One good thing that happened at the diplomatic front was the US and Cuba’s  decision to normalise diplomatic relations which remained frozen since the 1960s. President Barack Obama announced in a televised statement made simultaneously as another by President Raul Castro that "the rigid and outdated policy" of isolating Cuba since then had clearly failed and that it was time for a new approach.

As we enter a new year, it is natural that as individuals and groups we make resolutions to change for the better. But it would not be enough if we do not strive to seek solutions to problems that have always been with us and that of those we may encounter in the new year. 

May all our wishes come true as we prepare for a fruitful and bountiful 2015.

 

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