I’m opposed to making lofty new year’s resolutions–aside from the token and easily forgettable “I’ll try to eat less chocolate”—as
they sometime trivializes a dream. But I’m happy to make resolutions for others, kind of like the UN. Here are my new year’s resolutions for the Middle East, and I know they’re laced with loftiness and high expectations, and they probably need to be broken down into baby steps, but they wouldn’t be new year’s resolutions any other way.
1. People stop smoking like life is a 1950s film noir or a 1970s disco.
2. People put their cigarette buds, candy wrappers and other litter paraphernalia in the trash can they’re leaning on rather than toss it on the sidewalk.
3. Let there be water—not just water to drink and help plants grow, but the kind that doesn’t make your hair fall out in shower.
4. It would be a bit over the top to ask people to follow traffic rules, but maybe they could stop honking incessantly for no apparent reason. And in relation to that, people should resolve to stop triple parking in back of your car when you’re already late for work, forcing you to honk your horn incessantly for an apparent reason.
5. Let falafel, hommos and fuol continue to be affordable for everyone when so much else isn’t—and that they remain the best darn fast food man has invented.
6. People will learn history here didn’t begin with an oil well or Al Qaeda.
7. Crowded out Cuba won’t have to share its place on the TSA’s “terror prone lands” with more than the 13 Middle Eastern countries already joining it.
8. Let electricity outages remind us that technology responds to the human condition it lives in.
9. The word “inshallah” continues to be a satisfactory answer to most questions.
10. The peace wins, inshallah, not just people’s hearts and mind, but also on their streets, litter and all.