I’ve started the year 2023 listening a lot, reading almost as much and writing a little less. But publishing nothing. Because the outlook was not right for it. So much to talk about, so much to listen to, so much to say and not knowing how or why.

By Iñaki Chaves

Almost everything that is happening seems to be meaningless nonsense that we pursue without a destination. Because our objective does not depend on how or where we sail, but on the storms that accompany us on the voyage until we reach port.

We are hit by news that takes our breath away, or should take it away; events that shatter the few schemes we had left; policies that rob us of hard-won freedoms, and economies that ruin the rights we have won in a thousand struggles.

In between, however, there are some pleasant surprises that not only make us happy for what they mean but also because they show us that we still have the capacity to surprise ourselves.

Life goes on, the world turns and reality keeps hitting us. But there we are, unperturbed by the screens that dazzle us and sell what we can’t buy; impassive in front of the news that exhausts us because we no longer know if they are what they say they are, and indifferent at the end of a story, the story of all of us, which is being written with everything we tell and are told, but which counts less and less on us.

This new year is teaching us, in its few days, that living is still the most difficult thing in life, especially if we want to live it with dignity and in peace. That the death toll should at least scare us to death. But not only those of war, which seems to be the only one that hides the others, but also the other deaths: those that covid-19 continues to cause, along with the lives cut short by the lack of personnel and resources in health care; the people that hunger continues to kill; those that our fellow human beings cause us for thinking or acting differently, or those that are close ones cause us through jealousy, envy, hatred or indifference.

To all of these, we must add those that can be caused by a lack of attention and investment in education or culture. Yes, because the absence of these makes us more vulnerable to the scythe of unpunished criminal capitalism, ‘legal’ fascism, labour exploitation, forced and illusory migrations, ultra-religious beliefs, repressed freedoms and curtailed rights.

We are just beginning, but I feel that in the face of so much nonsense, this 2023 is going to need a lot of attention, with all senses. Because it seems that we don’t know how to listen, or look, or touch, or speak, or taste… let alone feel. Life, which is a continuous learning process, is leaving us without knowing what we have learned or what we have experienced.

What months ago was applause has now become whistles and dismissals.

What days ago, was confidence, this week will be suspicion.

Yesterday was peace, today is another war.

So, in the face of what awaits us, let us not lose our wits or our will to live. And above all, let us keep the most important of our senses, which is not common sense, but a sense of humour.