On the Fringes with Elizabeth Stewart
At the start of 2015 we saw in the Year of the Goat and the Chinese sages told us this would mean a “year of compromise”. So here at Embassy magazine we wondered whether this would herald a good year for diplomacy.
Faced with shocking terrorist incidents, the conflict in Syria, tensions between Russia and Europe, angry disputes over the refugee crisis in Europe and real differences between the developed and developing world in the climate change talks, our response to the Chinese Year of the Goat prediction was: don’t kid yourself.
But it turns out the Chinese sages were right. Despite the very real problems the world faces, it has, in fact, been a good year for diplomacy with a Nuclear Deal, some progress in the Vienna Process on Syria and a workable Climate Change deal.
Of course there is always a gap between public declarations and actions, and in 2016 those good words need to be turned into good deeds.
But there was one area where perhaps we could have conducted ourselves better. That was the handling of the refugee crisis. Worries over security and lack of resources to accommodate the many thousands of needy people are understandable, but at this time of year, as Christians all over the world celebrate Christmas, it’s worth remembering that Christ himself was born into a world of terrible violence and his family was forced to flee their homeland to escape tyranny and death.
Those fleeing conflict zones are in the same unseaworthy boat. And those of all faiths – and none – should extend every human kindness to these vulnerable people.
Finally, a thank you to all in the Embassy Network for your support in 2015 and for your kind messages. All of us on the team wish you all a peaceful and restful festive break. You deserve it.