Below is 2012’s first communique from CIVICUS.
Dear friends, partners and supporters,
What a year 2011 was!
Often I found myself quoting Lenin: ‘Sometimes decades pass and nothing happens, then weeks pass and decades happen.’ Disasters, natural and man-made wrestled for attention with economies on the brink. Young people around the world defied incredibly daunting odds to seize control over their futures. Activism, citizen action and political engagement surged and found new, compelling forms on every continent. Authorities of every stripe were challenged and found lacking in accountability, legitimacy and imagination. Transparency was radically re-defined. Too many friends passed on. Many more were subjected to incarceration, intimidation and worse. But Aung San Suu Kyi walked free, living testament to the power of non-violent resistance. And a new nation was born in Africa. Freedom and control seemed locked in mortal combat like irresistible force and immovable obstacle.
Yet amidst the tumult, gloom, destruction and uncertainty, I could not help feeling that the balance tipped in favourite of freedom and justice. Especially when I heard young Arabs and North Africans reiterate in the face of lethal force that things would never be the same again simply because they were no longer afraid. Or saw the protest sign in Zucotti Park that read: We’re here. We’re unclear. Deal with it. We start 2012 with all the pieces still in play and with everything to play for.
I wish you and yours a wonderful year, a year of dreaming dangerously and outrageously, in which you’ll make something that didn’t exist before you made it, that you will be loved and that you will be liked, and that you will have people to love and to like in return. That you will experience victory and joy in unprecedented measure. And, most importantly (because I think there should be both, more wisdom and more silliness in the world right now), that you will, when you need to be, be wise, but that you will also make time for silliness.
Warm New Year greetings,
Secretary General, CIVICUS