Essays and discussions

Review of 1998

I'm writing this on the last day of one thousand nine hundred and ninety eighth year after the (supposed) birth of Jesus Christ. I'm hoping to make this article a sort of "review" of 1998, of whatever comes into my head when I think of this year just past.

1998 has been a mixed year for me, and for my native province of Northern Ireland. On Good Friday, the Northern Ireland Agreement was signed by all participants of the peace talks, symbolising the dawn of a new era of hope for all of us, only to be shattered in the Omagh bombing, not to mention the Drumcree standoff. Since then, the peace process has been almost in a state of stasis, with no major developments. All details of this can be found in what I write on my peace page.

Unfortunately, 1998 has seen increased violence in other parts of the world - the Middle East comes immediately to mind. So much of this violence seems so unwarranted, motivated by greed, religion or is simply senseless.
Something to put our own Omagh bombing into perspective were the bombings of the American embassies in Africa in which over 100 people died.
It's also been a year when we've seen Sadman Insane (aka Saddam Hussein) posing more of a threat to world peace and security. I seriously believe that this man is a real danger to all of us and should be taken out immediately. It's just a pity that neither the British nor the Americans seem to be willing or able to do so. The thoughts of weapons of mass destruction being in the hands of people like the Americans is bad enough, but the thought that Sadman Insane has these weapons really scares the pants off me! I mean, nuclear weapons are bad enough, but they don't scare me half as much as chemical and biological weapons – which is what this man (apparently) has. Here's hoping that 1999 is the year that we finally see the back of this madman.

On a more personal note, 1998 was the first year that I have ever received straight As in my degree examinations after my first year at the University of GlasgowLink. I have found university life in Glasgow extremely different from that at home but after the culture shock have really enjoyed myself and experienced a fantastic culture, a beautiful city and a very friendly people.

Overall, I think that 1998 has been a good year. Although there have been civil and national wars, many of these have been or are in the process of being resolved and although Africa still remains a very volatile area, I think that 1998 has been a year when we have started to climb out of the pond, finally to start to reach towards world peace. May 1999 be the year that we end the hatred and finally achieve this goal.

– 1 January 1999

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