I begin this “spirit of renewal” here in “outsiders” with this fervent wish as St. Patrick’s Day is celebrated, Easter is before us and the Catholics celebrate the election of a new Pope. This spirit of continued renewal and hope is also exemplified by the advent of Spring before us.
Over 100 Million People will celebrate this as the beginning of their new year. For many of us, it is a chance to begin anew yet again. As this new dawn of nature is before us, there is the need never to forget all who continue to suffer daily. We must not forget the writers and human rights activists whose only crime has been to stand up for human rights. Especially, in Iran, as Nouroz is at hand, I remember the valiant human rights campaigner and lawyer Nasrin Soutodeh who continues to languish in prison for no less than simply defending those who were defenseless. I remember all those nameless, faceless victims rape and abuse in India. I remember all who have suffered needlessly for lack of a job, lack of opportunity or the fact that they are simply sick and ill. I also remember and reflect upon the millions of refugees who have fled Syria to avoid the war and all those who continue to suffer as a result of the Iraq War as the 10th Anniversary of that War approaches.
I will be commenting throughout the week on the leadership transition in China, the transition in Zimbabwe and the continued political paralysis in the United States. But, one has to be hopeful. I see no other way as I leave you all with this Irish Blessing on this St. Patrick’s Day:
May flowers always line your path and sunshine light your day.
May songbirds serenade you every step along the way.
May a rainbow run beside you in a sky that’s always blue.
And may happiness fill your heart each day your whole life through.
May love and laughter light your days, and warm your heart and home.
May good and faithful friends be yours, wherever you may roam.
May peace and plenty bless your world with joy that long endures.
May all life’s passing seasons bring the best to you and yours.
May the road rise up to meet you, may the wind be ever at your back.
May the sun shine warm upon your face and the rain fall softly on your fields.
And until we meet again, May God hold you in the hollow of his hand.