Friday, December 30, 2011

Happy New Year!

No scotch review today!

Just a wish.

"Have a Happy New Year!"

Unfortunately, saying so, is much easier than doing so.

You may be on top of the world, with the stars lining up and all your troubles behind you.  A fat bank account, loving spouse, nice home and a satisfying career.  You are truly fortunate, and I wish you every success in the New Year.

However, many people have burdens in life.  Maybe the wife got up and left (that's supposed to be a bad thing guys!); or maybe you have been laid off, and now are doing the type of menial work that you last did when you were 16 while the mortgage slips into arrears; or maybe you have run out of money and have to leave college.  The problems people have can at times seem insurmountable and vary widely.  Some people though have it much worse.

Syrian women hold vigil for loved ones - December 2011

As New Year's Eve approaches, some people are under the heel of a regime that will not let go of power, and will not heed the demands of its citizens for change.

The United Nations reports more than  5,000 unarmed Syrians killed by their own government.  In the city of Homs, government snipers, enforce a curfew to prevent protests, by sitting on rooftops and shooting anyone on the streets between 4pm through 9 am the following morning.  That has meant a pregnant lady who ventured out one morning into the street during the 'curfew' to do some shopping was killed.  Her brothers had to wait some agonizing time before they could retrieve her body from the street while risking being shot too.  Don't believe me.  Click here for the story on CNN or go to Twitter, type in 'Homs' (major Syrian city) and see the horrific video uploads and first hand accounts from ordinary citizen's cellphones.

Those, my friend, are problems.

I am not trying to trivialize the problems of people elsewhere in the world.  Your problems that involve health, employment or loved ones are also very significant.  And guess what?  There is hope.  Good triumphs evil.  Eventually.  A better job will come one day.  Your health will improve or stabilize.  The economy will bounce back.  Bashar al-Assad's regime will fall.

At this time of year, you will hear on the radio Auld Lang Syne, in band halls and bars.  Not my favorite New Year's song.  Mine is different.  Redemption Song

The opening lines of this plaintive ballad sums up the hope of all people and the conviction that good always triumphs evil.

Old pirates, yes, they rob I
Sold I to the merchant ships
Minutes after they took I
From the bottomless pit
But my hand was made strong
By the hand of the almighty
We forward in this generation

Bob Marley was singing about the misery and the hopelessness of blacks in the slave trade.  He could have been writing about the Syrians protesting in the street in the face of troops firing at them.  He could have been writing about you and a crippling disease that is taking, each day, a little more of your breath away.  But, always remember:

But my hand was made strong
By the hand of the Almighty

I don't know your conception of God and I am not here to impose one.  Maybe God is justice, doing right, the triumph of good over evil.  For me, it is akin to Hindu version of karma.  If one does good, one reaps good.  If one does evil, one reaps evil.

Syrian protesters - December 2011

Just as one day, the hands of the slaves were made strong by the hand of the Almighty, the hands of the Syrian protesters, and yours, will be made strong, in whatever plight you and they face.  That's my New Year's wish for you.

Jason Debly

Photographs: Reuters
Copyright © Jason Debly, 2009-2011. All rights reserved except for lyrics and music of the song 'Redemption Song" by Bob Marley and released on Island Records.  Copyright and all other rights belong to the estate of Bob Marley and/or his music publisher.  The song is reproduced here for educational purposes only.


  1. Jason, I wanted you to know that your beautiful New Year's post moved me and gave me perspective as I stewed in misery today over a relative trifle.

    Thank you for the wisdom and the perspective.

    I also appreciate your excellent whiskey blog posts too!

  2. Sometimes my blog posts wander far and wide, from the subject of whisky reviews, and I am unsure of how readers are reacting to it.

    I appreciate your kind words.