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The good, the bad, and the downright uglies of 2023

By Janet Karim

19 O Lord, to You I cry out; For fire has devoured the open pastures, And a flame has burned all the trees of the field. 20 The beasts of the field also cry out to You, For the water brooks are dried up, And fire has devoured the open pastures. – Joel 1: 19-20

When the enemy shall come in like a flood, the Spirit of the Lord shall lift up a standard against him. – Isaiah 59b:19

O Lord 2023 has all the reminders of 2020! There was the good, the bad, and the downright ugly as usual. Thankfully we ended up standing, maybe not so tall, but nonetheless, we are still standing. That is a good thing – we are still Malawi! The country, of course, started the year with a bang of the effects of Cyclone Freddie, suffering the worst of this multi-country devastation, ended with a flourish of the distaste of the global economic machine-forced 44% currency devaluation, in the face of the European Union blackmail to vote in favor of the ACP-EU post-Cotonou agreement. These are the uglies of 2023! The bad of 2023 was of course the loss of many lives, many known, many more not known, and those that were the very dearly beloved ones amongst us.

The Good – With the ugly of uglies, the painful bad of loss, was a good mixture of some good. Amongst these was the crowning finally of the 73-year old King Charles (who’s been waiting in the wings for 70 years). On the continent of Africa, the people are speaking louder than ever of the pain of the abuse to the point of inhumanity of the so-called champions of human rights by the non-black people, many of the voices are from the leaders and academics from Uganda, Rwanda, Nigeria, Kenya, South Africa. Ringing louder through youthful voices like Malema and other youths using YouTube they are calling for One Africa, the French were kicked out of its former colonies.

In Malawi, it is heartwarming to see, amidst all the gloom and doom and prophets of doom, the diaspora all around the world, are gathering and amassing the ways in which they can send the anchor of help. In mid-year, a group of US-based Malawian dentists landed in Malawi and helped Malawian dentists perform operations on patients. As this article is being penned, consignments of equipment and supplies for survivors of Cyclone Freddie and other ongoing relief work are being loaded destined for Malawi from the US, UK, Canada, everywhere that Malawians are residing.

This in part is also due to the Malawi Government reaching out to its diaspora and introduction of the dual citizenship laws, paving the way for Malawians to operate with less restrictions in their own land. With this open door, between the Government and its people in the global sphere, both sides are hopeful our beautiful Malawi will climb onto the world economic development map with pride and joy.

The Bad – As with 2020, Malawians woke up to a rude awakening when the natural disaster known as Cyclone Freddie struck the country claiming the lives of 1,424 people; many more left homeless in 14 districts where Freddie hit the hardest. In other in-country deaths, the biggest blow was the death of Malawi Congress Party strongman Honorable John Tembo. The list also includes Mrs. Emelia Kotokwa, Uncle Francis Sazuze, Jonathan Kaunda, followed a few months later by his Mother, Gogo Chiundira, Thomas Chibade, Tote Maje, Isaac Chilam, Nyekanyeka Jr., Jessie Chimalizeni…..

On the international side, there were also many shocks; for space, the list is limited to 21.  The year 2023 took from the world stage Word Alive former Elder Felix Sakyi, rock and roll legend Tina Turner (of Proud Mary  and River Deep Mountain High, Nutbush City Limits, fame), Harry Belafonte, former Temptations member Barrett Strong, former US First Lady Laura Carter, US Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O’Connor, Ryan O’Neal, Gordon Lightfoot, Matthew Perry, Jerry Springer, Raquel Welch, Lisa Marie Presley, David McCullum (Ilya Kuryakin in Man from U.N.C.L.E TV series), Burt Bacharach, Tony Bennett, Law and Order’s Richard Belzer, Bob Barker, David Crosby (of Crosby, Stills, and Nash band), Al Jaffee, Ray Stevens, Olympic gold medalist Tori Bowie, and Fiddler on the Roof famous “If I was a rich man!” dad Chaim Topol.

May the souls of the departed loved ones near and far rest in Jehovah God’s eternal loving peace, till we meet again.

For the end of the year December 29, 2023, The Ugly of the year will be explored.

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