The first issue of the year is always a hopeful one, for we feel that we have a fresh new beginning, a new chance to set things right. For one thing, Canada is in the midst of an election campaign, which sometimes brings out an attractive idealism in citizens and politicians alike. And the Iraqi citizens also are electing a new government; they tell pollsters that they are far more hopeful about the future than we suppose on the basis of watching their tragic country on television. Good luck to them and us!
Looking over the content of this issue, one is struck by the faithfulness revealed in the stories. We are anxiously waiting to know the fate of the hostages in Iraq, but whatever it is, the whole world will have come to recognize the demonstration of their faith. Read the inspiring article that one of them, Tom Fox, wrote just before he was captured. Just reading it makes one a better person.
Wherever they may be, people can find ways of contributing. Kelly Dougherty, for example, is an American veteran of the Iraq War who is organizing other veterans to take a stand against it. Jean Dreze is a Belgian-born economist working on development in India. Ken Saro-Wiwa was a writer and environmental organizer in Nigeria who paid the ultimate price for standing up for his cause -- and his example still reminds others to be courageous in their own way. Daisaku Ikeda was a boy in Japan during World War II, and the loss of his brother prompted him to devote his life to peace. Michelle Singerman is a journalism student in London, Ontario who wants to stop the genocide in Darfur. She serves by writing and urging us to act in our own ways. Another journalist, Paul William Roberts, has had long experience in Iraq, and he tells us here what he makes of it all.
Are these faithful people "winning"? Are we getting any closer to peace? Yes, actually. Democracy is still increasing in the world and reducing the number of wars. We may not be always see the changes, but peace researchers who keep statistics tell us that's happening. We have these faithful peaceniks to thank. So thank you!