There have been worse years in recent history than 2004, but not many. The Bam earthquake came just before the beginning of the year, and the tsunami disaster at the end. But man-made catastrophes were probably equally devastating in terms of lives lost, and much worse in terms of the behavior they’ve involved. Just thinking of names like Abu Ghraib, Beslan, Darfur and Fallujah is a reminder of how terrible a year it was.
The standards supposedly upheld by the civilised world have been comprehensively betrayed at places like Abu Ghraib. And whatever evil has been done in our names, our terrorist enemies have shown, in Beslan and in the kidnappings and horrible beheadings that have now become routine, that they can and will do far worse. A few of those directly involved in these crimes have paid, a price, but the leaders who ordered them have not.
The news hasn’t all been bad, and I’ll try to do a post soon pointing to some more hopeful events. But not just now.