Ten highs and ten lows, circa 2012: my intensely biased list

26/12/2012 by


  1. The definitive discovery of the Higgs boson particle that confirms our capacity to grasp the ways of the universe first through logic and theory and later empirically; a triumph of human reason
  2. Mitt Romney’s implosion at the ballot box
  3. At last, a decent James Bond flick
  4. A piece of graffiti in downtown Athens that read: “Our grandparents, refugees. Our parents migrants. We racists?”
  5. The reference to the National Health Service in the London Olympics Opening Ceremony
  6. The subtle emergence of a debate of sorts between the Chinese New Left and the Neoliberals both within and without China’s Communist Party
  7. Mario Draghi’s August admission that the Eurosystem was at an advanced stage of disintegration (which he referred to by means of the euphemism of ‘convertibility risk’) and that the ECB would do «what it takes» to stop it (a momentous declaration, despite the fact that nothing tangible has been offered)
  8. Aung Sang Su Ki no longer in confinement
  9. The almost one third drop in Facebook’s share price after its IPO (No, I am no Facebook fan!)
  10. The discovery of large underground aquifers in sub-Saharan Africa, capable of quenching the thirst of millions


  1. The sight of Bradley Manning at his Court Martial, after 930 days in solitary confinement, under conditions that can only be described as torture
  2. The rise of Golden Dawn in Greece and its success in shifting the established parties beyond the pale of civilised politics
  3. Eric Hobsbawm’s death
  4. The uncritical enthusiasm with which fracking, horizontal drilling and shale gas discoveries have been received – another example of how the roar of money making can silence the voice of reason at great cost to future generations
  5. The Wall of Silence in Greece that not only protected the owner of Pireus Bank from legal scrutiny (over the great scandal of the bank’s share offering, as revealed by Reuter’s) but also rewarded him with the cleansed part of state-owned Agricultural Bank of Greece (which Pireus ‘bought’ for a laughably low price)
  6. The arrest and compulsory HIV testing of migrant prostitutes in the Athens City Centre, followed by publication on the Internet of the photographs of those that tested positive
  7. Another war in Gaza, another year of oppression-expropriation for the Palestinians, greater alienation-plus-insecurity for the Israelis
  8. The Nobel Peace Prize awarded to the European Union. (I would not have minded this award if the Economics Nobel had gone to the Eurozone. Then I would have applauded the Scandinavians’ humour.)
  9. The consistency with which poisonous ‘rescue packages’ are imposed on Greece (e.g. February’s PSI or December’s debt buyback) with the Establishment both in Greece and in Europe celebrating each as the nation’s salvation.
  10. The exponential use of drones to kill at will from afar, piloted by secret agents (rather than soldiers), foreshadowing an Army of Robots accountable to no international law
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