22nd December 2021
2021 is drawing to a close and it is Christmas once again. As we celebrate, many of the fundamental questions for humanity remain. What is the purpose of it all? Why are we here? Why are things getting worse, with poverty increasing in a world that could satisfy the needs of all people? Is humanity incurably wicked and prone to brutality? Who can save the world? What can one person do to make it a better place? Where do we start?
At the first Christmas over 2000 years ago, answers to these questions were offered. A better world is possible when it is built on principles that promote life and love. These are stronger than hatred and divisions. Seeking the common good rather than seeking individual profit. Truth and lies are different and integrity is possible. Freedom is more than a word and needs responsibility anchored to it. Without virtue and character, knowledge is deprived. Inclusion, diversity and mutual respect are key principles that guide humankind. But it all starts with education.
After another year of the COVID-19 pandemic and geopolitical, economic, and environmental events, more lives have been lost and citizens of every nation traumatised. The hurried withdrawal of US allied forces from Afghanistan, handing power back to the Taliban government and leaving many behind. Scenes of earthquakes, volcanoes and thousands of migrants drowning in the Mediterranean Sea without help inundating the pages of newspapers.
Rising authoritarian regimes in Belarus, Myanmar, Sudan and elsewhere undermining democracy and clamping down on human rights while the United Nations watch helplessly. Fratricidal wars in countries such as Ethiopia and terror unleashed on innocent people by bandits and fanatics. New cold wars showcasing global powers’ misplaced focus on ego and dominance. The devastating impact of irreversible climate change. These challenges invite us all to a season of reflection and engagement.
There is hope beyond this despair. This Christmas, we send a message of peace to all of you. One planet, one community, one word: ETHICS. There lies the solution to our problems. An ethical world is possible.
Wishing you a merry Christmas and a happy New Year!
Prof. Dr Obiora Francis Ike