Are you lonely tonight? New Year message, 2018
Are you lonely tonight? Nobody to hold you and tell you that they love you? Has your next-of-kin passed away and no-one else is left, or cares? Nobody to share your meal this year-end and to share your dreams? No grandchildren to play with because they are somewhere else, the children with their in-laws? Where's all that loving gone?
Are you frightened tonight because you have a nightmare neighbor or because the drug addicts down the street come and kick your door at three in the morning? Are you hungry tonight because you could not get out to the shop and you have run out of food? Are you thirsty tonight since your water has been cut off because you could not pay the bill?
Are you cold tonight, shivering in a blanket trying to keep warm, your electricity supply was discontinued after you ran up that massive bill which you could not afford? Are you homeless tonight, lying on a cardboard platform or under a bridge because you could not pay the last rent and were evicted?
Are you crying tonight, reliving the dreams of yesteryear, wondering where it has all gone to, wondering how those years of great hope when the kids were young and you had it all to look forward to, have turned into this sea of despair and nothingness? Are you desperate tonight, questioning how you will ever relive one moment of happiness again?
Are you in pain tonight, waiting for a doctor's appointment that never comes, waiting for a delivery of medicine that never arrives, hoping for a cure that refuses to appear? Are you anxious tonight, expecting an operation in the new year, expecting to be thrown out of your apartment because of unpaid bills, expecting to be arrested for some crime you are only half-guilty of?
Are you helpless tonight, as everyone around you celebrates, setting off fireworks, drinking to excess, cheering in the New Year, oblivious to you and your worries and fears and tears? Are you in need tonight of a cuddle that will never come, and you know that? Do you wish you were dead tonight but do not have the courage to take the last step?
Do you relive the past tonight, blanketed in the happiness of your family home so many years ago but knowing it is gone forever and will never appear again? Are you threatened tonight, too afraid to tell those around you of the dangers which encircle you and promise to engulf you?
Are you unhappy tonight, alone and cold and frightened and old and helpless and poor, your tears already cried and dried, and confused at how the door between you and the street is getting so thin and where are the people you loved so much and spent so much time rearing and cooking for?
Where has all that loving gone? Are you confused tonight, thinking that just yesterday happiness was seeing the kids graduate or get their first jobs and start their families, or leaving the home with great plans and high ideals, like what happened to the young ones, where did it all go wrong?
And so where did it all go wrong? Where has all the loving gone?
My New Year message to those who read my writings is to remember those mentioned in this opinion-editorial article, for sure there is one in every family. Indifference and notions of the right to comfort are excuses to ignore those who need just a few minutes of our time, especially on festive occasions. It does make a difference. If in 2018 we can all make an effort to get engaged in social organizations and charities and try to help those in need, whether in our own families or communities or regions or countries or overseas, we can make a difference and turn these tears of sadness into tears of joy.
Personally, I can think of nothing more beautiful.
So God Bless. A Happy New Year to all, whoever and wherever you are, and sincerely hoping that 2018 brings us all mutual respect, peace and love. Life is so short. Let's focus on what matters? And do something about it?
*Timothy Bancroft-Hinchey has worked as a correspondent, journalist, deputy editor, editor, chief editor, director, project manager, executive director, partner and owner of printed and online daily, weekly, monthly and yearly publications, TV stations and media groups printed, aired and distributed in Angola, Brazil, Cape Verde, East Timor, Guinea-Bissau, Portugal, Mozambique and São Tomé and Principe Isles; the Russian Foreign Ministry publication Dialog and the Cuban Foreign Ministry Official Publications. He has spent the last two decades in humanitarian projects, connecting communities, working to document and catalog disappearing languages, cultures, traditions, working to network with the LGBT communities helping to set up shelters for abused or frightened victims and as Media Partner with UN Women, working to foster the UN Women project to fight against gender violence and to strive for an end to sexism, racism and homophobia. A Vegan, he is also a Media Partner of Humane Society International, fighting for animal rights. He is Director and Chief Editor of the Portuguese version of Pravda.Ru.
The choice of the city of Helsinki is not incidental as the capital of Finland had hosted US-Soviet negotiations on the limitation of nuclear stockpiles in 1969