The Artist Abroad

Hope, That Winged Thing

/ 09:00 AM January 04, 2015

New YorkMy resolution this year? To have no resolution. To be, in short, irresolute, though not, hopefully, dissolute.

Instead, what I have done is draw up resolutions for public figures in the off-chance they may need one or two more for this new year. I happily offer these up. I realize the chances of any of these resolutions being actually adopted are practically nil. But the whole point of every beginning, of every new year, is to start off with hope, that winged thing, no matter how hopeless things may seem.


Noynoy Aquino: Have the Ampatuan case resolved this year, so the victims of that horrible massacre in 2009 will have some closure. Justice delayed is justice denied. Back the passage of the Freedom of Information bill. The public as taxpayers has the right to know what government does in its name. Act decisively to end the killing of journalists, especially in provincial areas. Improve infrastructure, particularly mass transit, and start expanding rail service. Simply building more roads without considering mass transit means more cars, more trucks, more traffic, more pollution. Besides, public works will translate into more jobs.

Imelda Romualdez Marcos: Put her money where her mouth is. Be the catalyst for her hometown, Tacloban, and province, Leyte, to recover from the devastation of Yolanda. She may think that being a congresswoman representing Ilocos Norte will prevent her from acting in that capacity. All she needs to do is to make clear she is acting as a private individual in releasing some of that fabulous wealth she has.


Pope Francis: Keep the pressure on the Curia to be more transparent and the officials at the Vatican and other princes of the Church to acknowledge that their power and authority come from those that they often and arrogantly look down upon. Rock the church with gender equality, by removing the barriers that prevent women from becoming priests. Broker a deal between North Korea, the United States, and South Korea.

Barack Obama: Say No, to everything the Republicans propose. He can play this game, too. Now that they control both houses of Congress, let them taste their own medicine. They’ll find that the tea they have been brewing is bitter, poisonous, and to be thrown out. As Barry put it, it’s the fourth quarter and interesting things happen in the fourth quarter. Now is not the time to play it safe. End drone strikes. The loss of innocent civilian life as collateral damage is simply unacceptable.

Vladimir Putin: Join the front lines of the separatist movement in eastern Ukraine, to demonstrate he isn’t afraid of Western sanctions, and to show off, Rambo-style, his fine physique when he poses, bare-chested, with an AK 47.

Kim Jong Un: Get a better haircut, and hipper clothes. Create a pro basketball league and recruit foreign players and have Dennis Rodman be its head. Screen “The Interview” and attend its premiere with Seth Rogen, James Franco, and perhaps even the CEO of Sony as guests.

Chief Executive of Hong Kong: Treat foreign workers with dignity as befits their humanity, especially those who work as nannies and caregivers. Allow them permanent resident status after a certain number of years.

Najib Razak of Malaysia: Recall the mindless, idiotic, legislation that would criminalize the mere act by a non-Muslim of uttering the word Allah. To demonstrate his common sense, which the Malaysian judicial system seems to lack, invite non-Muslims to assemble in a government building and say Allah, Allah, as many times as they can.

Xi Jinping of China: Resolve to better study geography and see how the claim of a country over an entire ocean is simply absurd. The South China Sea wasn’t named for China but for its position vis a vis the country, in the same way that, being west of the Philippines, the same vast body of water can also be called West Philippine Sea.


Prime Minister Abe of Japan: Issue a comprehensive apology for the country’s destructive role in starting the Pacific stage of World War II. Acknowledge that women were enslaved as part of military policy to serve the sexual needs of Japanese soldiers. Do continue to appoint more women as members of your Cabinet.

Former Vice-President Dick Cheney: Challenge the head of ISIS to a mano a mano, to atone for his avoiding the draft during the Vietnam War not once but six times. Man up and be waterboarded on reality television and declare how invigorating the process is and completely misunderstood as a process of truth-telling.

Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel: Resolve to stop building in the occupied territories, dismantle the structures there, and work seriously for a two-state solution to the Israel-Palestine dilemma.

Hamas: Stop with the rockets already, and recognize the right of Israel to exist.

Yoko Ono: Keep on imagining peace. Now more than ever we need it.

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