Nothing about the year 2020 is usual. Uncertainty has been the term and COVID-19 a trigger. As we approach the end of the year 2020 and look forward to the year 2021, we become aware of endings and new beginnings. How overwhelmed we are by the myriads of endings and beginnings that crowd our daily lives. The Coronavirus brought dysfunctional situations into the global system – disrupting everything we thought we knew or controlled. It has sent millions to an early death while many sick are still struggling. We have never seen anything like this in our lifetime. COVID-19 has challenged the most powerful countries on earth and got the USA to vote out a sitting president.
During this unusual year, economic decline has brought back poverty to many lives of peoples that they had left behind several years ago. The damaging pains unleashed on families and businesses, especially on the most vulnerable are current. Unfathomable devastations to the progress made through globalisation and multi-lateral international cooperation remain and there are setbacks towards achieving the Sustainable Development Goals by 2030. Global travel is in limbo and forced lockdowns of towns, countries, within and between nations have become the new slogan. It has heightened political tensions and disarmed the powerful actors on the world stage, leaving them without answers to basic questions.
Undoubtedly, life will be different from now on. There are clamours that the post-COVID-19 era becomes an opportunity for a new dawn for all of humanity. Just as from the ashes of the Second World War a new birth of the United Nations and its many institutions (WHO, UNHRC, Marshall Plan) emerged, including the origins of the European Union, the decolonisation and independence of many African and Asian countries. It is hoped that the lessons from the unusual year of the COVID-19 pandemic will be translated into positive moments for the rebirth of a new global family founded on new forms of solidarity and mutual respect.
We need to ignite in ourselves and in others a future-directed mind-set. We need to reflect on life's priorities and indeed, on the essence and true meaning of life, often taken for granted. It is Christmas, and the message is not new. Jesus Christ lived some 2000 years ago, and this period reminds both believers and others of his name and birth. Christmas is celebrated by a large proportion of humanity, not only by Christians, listening to the message of Jesus for a new path of love over hatred, faith beyond doubt and hope in a future within and beyond us. It is time for more action, for solidarity and mutual respect amongst humans. Jesus' message remains essentially one message, a message of hope – that here on earth, we can choose our endings and avoid the endings chosen for us.
We need to recognise much more our interdependence and common human destiny and dignity; that we as humans are called to live in peace by giving others peace. We are invited to learn gratitude for the simple things of daily life and to appreciate one another. There is a new challenge to reflect on our work in ethics; to engage in activities that serve and promote others; to reduce unnecessary carbon footprints; to improve time spent in relationships within the family, the neighbourhood and community. Globethics.net is filling this space by inviting teachers, education institutions, professionals and students to integrate ethical reasoning in their moral compass; change attitudes and ways that negate the common good and think sustainability in their actions and lifestyles.
The Board, Management, and entire Team at Globethics.net in Geneva and friends in our global networks extend our best wishes for a Happy Christmas and a Blessed New Year to you all.