patten157_ANTHONY WALLACEAFP via Getty Images_jimmylai Anthony Wallace/AFP via Getty Images

A Smidgen of Hope

With the war in Ukraine still raging, US Republicans in thrall to Donald Trump’s lies, and climate change wreaking havoc worldwide, news headlines provide little cause for optimism. But the unwavering democratic spirit of Hong Kong dissident Jimmy Lai serves as a reminder of the indomitable nature of the human spirit.

TOULOUSE – The days between Christmas and the New Year often prompt many of us to reflect on the problems facing the world and to consider what we can do to improve our own lives. But I typically find myself in this contemplative state at the end of my summer holiday, during the dog days of August.

After several weeks of relaxation – reading books, taking leisurely walks, and drifting in a swimming pool – I am more open to contemplating the significant challenges that will likely dominate discussions over the coming months and pondering how I can gain a better understanding of the issues at stake. Recent developments, however, offer little cause for optimism.

Over the past few weeks, images of forest fires and floods have dominated our screens. As wildfires raged in Hawaii, Canada, and the eastern Mediterranean, much of the world has experienced record temperatures. Meanwhile, northern China and parts of Europe, the United States, and Latin America have been hit by severe storms and devastating floods. Given these extreme weather events, one would expect climate change to be at the forefront of political debates worldwide.

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