It has been our way. We like to measure, to weigh and count in order to make sense of it.
We also gave names to the animals from the beginning. So we not only try to make sense of it but also seek to control it, whatever “it” may be.
Following that tradition of ours, we will be calling yesterday the closing day of the first decade of this Millennium.
I like many others am tempted to gather the lasting images of this decade that was. Undoubtedly there are a cascade of pictures, sounds, sights and other impressions now jostling in my mind and it is messy.
I remember my flight from Paris to Copenhagen paving the way for my encounter with this Viking land that now is mine.
There are also the images of Milosevic getting dragged to The Hague, when we were promised a world where law and justice would reign supreme. He would be followed up years later by another , who too would be brought down from his pedestal. The two had one thing in common: they were both weak despite all the evidence to the contrary. And the weak have never written History: for good or for bad.
The images of Concorde in flames crashing down and bringing to memory the myth of Icarus in mind; Concorde had over three decades symbolized the illusive supremacy of Humans over the forces of nature thanks to technology. Happening early into this decade it looks in hindsight as the first indication of a gradual downing of the symbols of our recent History.
September 11th would in its own tragic way bring down some other symbols while unveiling a crisis of purpose for human kind, as we struggle to find a reason to struggle each and every one on their own way.
In between the unraveling of the Enron crisis told us this decade would also be known as that where the destruction of illusions happen; illusion in our trust of banks, political leader, religious leaders and any other kind of leaders.
There were other moments of tragedy that caught of the breath of many of us planted in front of our TV and seeing disaster unfold on distant shores. We came to emotionally and in our various ways to realize that History has for real ceased to being local.
We all have been Americans for a day or too, we have been Georgians, crying with the mothers of Beslan. We have spoken out on behalf of the people of Gaza and mourned with the neighbors of Sderot.
Many of us felt compelled when holiday makers along with vulnerable locals were washed away by the furious waters of the Pacific on that dark Christmas season.
And yes the women of Congo, still at the mercy of a human jungle are desperately waiting to be part of it; not to mention the countless young West Africans, some of whom are my brothers who year after year throughout this decade have paid with their life their quest for decency in the implacable waves of the Atlantic.
I could go on and on and on and mention the death of Michael Jackson and the departure of Svend Auken, or that day in November 2001, where a weeping Nyrrup had to say goodbye and hand power to the government that to this day is ruling us.
I guess the archives and the various sources of information available have extensively covered those events in a way a couple of lines will never allow me to.
That is why I instead will focus on two events that will frame this decade and took place with exactly ten years span: the WTO summit of Seattle in 1999 and the COP15 in Copenhagen this year.
Ten years ago in the street of Seattle, a battle is raging, the kind of which we have not seen before. Back then I was witness to what the pundits had difficulty naming: from activists to anti- trade movements to trouble makers and of course subversive leftists.
In any case it was the prelude of a movement carried by the emergence of internet and the increase awareness of a common bound between people of different horizons and creed.
There were violent demonstrations in the streets of that beautiful West Coast city, and the media prone to sensation dubbed it “The battle of Seattle”.
To me that event was the birth of a trend that through twists and turns will culminate to Copenhagen and potentially saw its last days play out in the snows of the Danish capital.
Seattle was and remains in my eyes the first tangible evidence that this Century has to be one where human dignity is protected. Whether it is about matters of human rights, fair trade, war and occupation, tyranny of any sort, people around the world were ready to gather across lands and continents united by a common purpose- how to make this world a better place for us.
There were obviously many inconsistencies along the way, notably the blurring of the lines with some extremist groups here and there, the usage of sometimes questionable methods to get their voices heard. But all in all the underlying that sustain this movement born in Seattle was the quest for an alternative to the political, economic and cultural leadership of many countries and entities around the world.
Many of us come to the understanding that so many voices need to be heard and the so called representatives that are supposed to carry them have not shown any capacity to live up to the task.
That is also true that going out in the streets in protest against governmental policies or decisions taken by the so called international community on our behalf never changed the course set by our flawed decision makers.
The lead up to the Iraq will remain in years to come an epitome of that democratic inconsistency in our so much praised democracies.
We were promised societies where government is of the people, for the people and by the people.
This decade that now is no more showed us that the commodities of democracy as we know it clearly are no