The Editor’s Corner – Dec/Jan 2020

By Beibhinn Byrne

And so another year comes to a close, not just a year but to borrow Auden’s September 1, 1939 ‘a low, dishonest decade.’ We are in appalling trouble with the grim inequality, ecocide and frightening disconnection. But as offensive as these situations are we need to grasp them with both hands, to not be ‘uncertain and afraid’ but to be determined to change. Challenges are the flipside to solutions and where we currently stand provides the keys to embrace new values and resolve to build a better world. A world of higher values; one that reveres all life; one that eschews rapacious, diminishing, capitalism and instead promotes a supportive society and an economy of quality. A world that offers opportunities for everyone and a way of living that would benefit us all.  

Everyone has the capacity for this and everyone deserves to be given the ability and support for it. 2020 is a new decade, the second of this newly minted century. What are we going to do with it? It is people who change things. It is people who are powerful. We have big questions to ask ourselves and big answers to give. Because the solution is inside us – we have them already, we just need to facilitate ourselves and others, so it can be given. It is people, not systems, that decide. 

The theme of this issue is people. People’s lives, past and present. There is no such thing as an ‘ordinary’ person or life – from local whodunnits (pg 25), laudatory memorials (pg 4), to bravery and independence (pg 6) and the curious and sad (pgs 10 & 11) – glory and scandal abounds. We had great submissions from locals, one being the pg 4 feature mentioned above. We are thrilled to print a new column, Reader’s Viewpoint (pg 8) and we invite readers to submit their view on topics and issues, local or global, for every issue. 

Locals feature throughout, receiving lifetime awards, celebrating 104th birthdays, raising funds and starting vital social endeavours. Ordinary people being extraordinary and extraordinary people being ordinary. One person who completely comprehended the actuality and importance of this was that famous Dubliner, Gay Byrne. His passing also marks the end of an era, and there is a lovely tribute to him on pg 16. 

We have all the listings of events in the area (pgs 20 & 21) and some ethical and purposeful gifts from local shops in the gardening section (pgs 30 & 31). In a hopeful signpost of future generations and better values to come, this year’s books (pg 18) feature poetry, which achieved record sales last year (soaring to €12 million) driven by younger readers who hunger for nuance amid conflict and disaster. Real gifts and hope that, as Auden says, ‘Show an affirming flame.’ NewsFour wishes everyone a very happy Christmas, we ask you to look out for the needful and one another, and to really think about and look forward to a New Year, a new decade and a new future. It’s time.