Ten things we hope for in the New Year
Welcome to 2011. The New Year is always a time of hope, a new beginning. In keeping with that time-honoured tradition, these are our 10 hopes for the coming year.
Firstly, we hope that Palestine will become a viable, independent state in a just peace settlement; where its people are treated as full citizens, able to live in justice, dignity and unfettered by Israeli whims.
Secondly, we hope the UAE will continue to prosper and advance as a dynamic economy and a progressive society.
Thirdly, we hope that the people of Iraq may at last enjoy the benefits of a free and democratic government, able to live in peace and prosperity; where ethnic and religious divisions are replaced by a spirit of unity in a land unblemished by the histrionics of history.
Fourthly, we hope that the people of Afghanistan shall move from an era of division and rancour, violence and crime, to one of tolerance; where its people enjoy the fruits of schools and a health care structure that can meet the basic needs of all; where stability reigns instead of the international stabilisation forces.
Fifthly, we hope that the people of the flood-affected regions of Pakistan will receive the help, shelter and food necessary to enable them to survive the long and dark winter days in a land ravaged by floodwaters; that they soon can return to their homes, rebuild their villages and plan on a future; where the government of Islamabad can meet their needs, free of political interference and corruption.
Sixthly, we hope that stability in the Arabian Gulf and that it is safe and secure; where international forces and the government of Iran negotiate in good faith Tehran's nuclear programme; where stability is maintained through mutual respect and communication.
Seventhly, we hope for a Eurozone stable and growing; where its member states are able to act in a responsible and careful manner to curtail ballooning deficit levels, cut public spending, and where the word "bailout" is cast to the annals of 2010.
Eighthly, we hope for an end to conflict and tensions on the Korean peninsula.
Ninthly, we hope for an end to the trials and tribulations facing the people of Haiti after its devastating earthquake.
Tenthly, we hope for good health, good fortune, peace and prosperity to you all in the days, weeks and months ahead.
Happy New Year!