I can see clearly now

4 March, 2011


Richard Burge, Chief Executive, writes:

Do you remember the song?  Johnny Nash in 1972 (before 68% of the population of the Middle East were born).

I can see clearly now, the rain is gone,
I can see all obstacles in my way
Gone are the dark clouds that had me blind
It’s gonna be a bright, bright,
Sun-Shiny day

Its a great song.  It came into my head while watching those joyous scenes in Tahrir Square and a few days later, sounded very distant and lost as we watched unfolding events in Libya.  We saw it mirrored in the faces of people leaving the polling booths in South Sudan, and echoing forlornly the scene of the assassination of a brave Pakistani politician standing up for the liberty of his people.

The danger is that cynicism (an attitude to be wholly despised and not be confused with the scepticism) starts to dominate as the optimism of success falters in the face of oppression.

But this is not a song of naivety and over-optimism.  It is the song of the courageous realist, it is the anthem of determination.

And I think I hear it as I look around the Wilton Park table at those fighting HIV/AIDS in Nigeria, leading peacekeepers in Somalia, running a civil society organisation in Afghanistan or a womens group in the frontier provinces of Pakistan, diplomats wrestling with the complexities of international agreements on weapons of mass destruction, or engineers finding ways of giving millions of Africans access to sustainable electricity.

Oh brave new world, that has such people in it.


Richard Burge

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