It’s with a conflicted heart that I put to bed 2011. For me, on a personal level, it was a year of both great triumph and great tragedy. As many of you know, not long after moving across the country, far from my family, I lost my father. I must admit, it was both easier and harder being far away as he got sicker; it was also difficult at times to enjoy the wonderful opportunities that came my way. I spent several nights in hotel rooms in faraway places–Belgium, Israel, Tunisia–with no appetite for going out, something that those who know me might find hard to believe. And at the same time, my work, my new job has done nothing but excite me, provide me with new opportunities and ways of fighting for the cause I’ve made my life.
But forget the personal – 2011 was an incredible year, period. I watched from afar as my friends in Tunis and Cairo took part in the powerful revolutions that toppled governments. I also watched as friends in Damascus and Manama suffered the wrath of their regimes, and as friends in Casablanca experienced great disappointments. And I watched friends–four, in fact–get jailed, in Egypt, Syria, and Bahrain.
2012 already promises challenges: SOPA is still under consideration, American companies are still selling surveillance equipment to authoritarian governments, bloggers are still under threat, Egypt is still under military rule, Syria is still a mess…the list goes on. But–as luck would have it–these are the types of challenges I look forward to taking on.
Personally, I’m looking forward to more travel, more time with friends, and more accomplishments. I avoid resolutions–aside from a small one, this year, to eat more vegetables–but it never hurts to attempt more thoughtfulness.