Friday, December 31, 2010

Farewell 2010

The sky which was heavily overcast for the last two days and the clouds that were continuously raining, graciously gave way for the sun to shine and provide a glimpse of the much wanted last sunset of the year 2010. Like many photographers and sky-gazers, I also went out to preserve the red glowing star going down in the horizon, taking with along many laughter and tears forever.

Sandwiched between the two solar eclipses, the year 2010 finally bid farewell to us with its last sunset of the year. The first lunar eclipse right on the first day of the 2010 did not prove as a good omen as soon afterwards, a deadly and devastating calamity hit Haiti that claimed more than 100,000 lives and left 300,000 wounded. It was with this sad news that 2010 dawned. But as if this was not enough.

The Iceland’s volcanic eruptions that started somewhere in April, finally came to a halt in October, though not causing major casualties. The Gulf of Mexico oil spill threatened marine life and ecology and is considered as largest oil spills of all times.

The flash floods that hit Pakistan in third week of July, continued to wreak havouc throughout the length of Pakistan from Swat and Nowshera in the north, DG Khan and Multan in the central Punjab, Dadu, Larkana in Sind before dumping its muddy waters into the Arabian Sea somewhere in August. The onslaught continued its devastations for almost a month, displacing and affecting some 20 million people. Although the death toll was less than 2000, there was a large scale devastation of houses, infrastructure, electric poles, bridges and roads. Even after four months, many areas are still inundated and remain impassable for the displaced people to go back and rebuild from the start.

Wikileaks made headlines when it leaked some 250,000 confidential and secret documents which embarrassed not only the US government, but many other governments and important personalities which stood naked having been exposed of their crimes and misdeeds.

The government of Pakistan continues to ride on a very bumpy road, both economically and politically. The war on terror continues to be drain on Pakistan’s meager financial resources to sustain the war and the losses due to suicide bombers. The done attacks from across the border continue to inflict fatal casualties on innocent people as a collateral damage beside marginal success. The political scene is extremely pathetic as government seems to be unable to take along all other major political parties in confidence on matters of national interest and concerns. In the last few months, there have been breakaways and cracks in the collation formed by the government and the threat to quit by another major political party leaves the government in a pretty bad shape as the year 2010 departs.

A few good people on international and national scene sadly left for the heavenly abode, like Eric Segal (author of Love Story and co-writer of the Beatles’ Yellow Submarine), Dennis Hopper (actor of Speed fame), Gloria Stuart (actress who appeared in Titanic and the Invisible Man), Leslie Nelson (everyone’s favourite actor) and Richard Holbrooke (American diplomat for Afghanistan and Pakistan). Pakistan also lost its ex President Farooq Leghari after prolonged illness.

On the positive note, amid the noisy and mind-blowing Vuvuzelas, Spain lifted its first ever World Cup Football trophy at South Africa. Paul, the legendary octopus, kept monitoring and predicting the outcome of the championship and was so happy to have predicted accurately Spain’s victory, that he soon died afterwards.

For Pakistan, Aisam ul Haq took Pakistan’s national flag to the US Open Tennis when he played the men’s double and mixed double final along with his Indian and Czech partners. This was the first time in the history of Pakistan that any tennis player has participated in the final of a Grand Slam event. His “Stop War-Start Tennis” slogan won over hearts of millions.

Naseem Hameed and Sara Nasir of Pakistan bagged gold medals in the SAARC games, making women earning this pride for the country. Naseem’s 100 meters dash made her the fastest women in South East Asia. In the Asian Games held in China, Pakistani women cricket team bagged gold in their very first appearance in the games. And the Indian tennis star Sania Mirza wedded Pakistani cricketer Shoaib Malik which made headlines especially in Pakistan and India.

The year 2010 ends a few hours from today and some ten days after the total lunar eclipse that took place on 21st December. All is set for the fireworks to erupt into the cold December night tonight to welcome 2011. Let us all pray that the New Year 2011 dawns with a happy sun tomorrow and let the recent lunar eclipse cast no shadows over us in next year and years after. Ameen.

Photo Sunset by Jala lHB