An editorial page delayed by illness…

Is this election year’s smash-and-grab season prematurely becoming a trash-and-burn event? Here we have a footpath, a common area, being burned to make way for private automobile parking – no permit, no environmental study, no public consultation of any sort. Yes, a PRD government headed toward defeat may talk about things like this – with copious beer can litter left behind – as “decentralized development.” Forget that. Choose well among the remaining alternatives. Photo by Eric Jackson.

Skipping a beat in the alternation?

The norm for the past few generations is that the party that holds the executive gets smashed in the next general elections. The last period in which that was disrupted, at the end of dictatorship time, there was a slow-moving disaster with a stole 1984 presidential election, an attempt to annul a lost 1989 election and atop all of the other damage, the blood-soaked catastrophe of the US invasion. With the latter came an “It’s OUR TURN to steal!” crowd and Panama has had factions of those ever since.

Usually, at this time in the political cycle the partisan appointees in government are stealing or extorting or selling what they can, with the expectation that this time next year they won’t be on the government payroll. But there are, as usual, these incumbent party bosses who think that they have all of the angles figured.

The ridiculous Gaby Carrizo carrying the banner of a PRD split into three pieces, Ricardo Martinelli with a more than 10-year prison sentence hanging over his head – and these are the men upon whom the “smart money” is betting?

Add in a debilitating drought and a crushing public debt, and we are into instability times. Most probably, improbable things will happen.

And in the face of all of that YOU – your sense of moral rectitude, your judgment about what’s tolerable and what isn’t, the examples of your deeds far more than what you say – are the nuts and bolts that can keep this society from falling apart. Hold strong.


Gaza boys
When all-out war broke out again in October, there were more than a million underage Palestinians living in Gaza. With bombs, bullets, starvation, water and electricity cutoffs, the Israelis have killed thousands of these. A great many have been forced into exile. However, the great majority of Gaza kids survive, haunted by memories that will make them into adults with whom Israel will not want to deal, no matter if the improbable war aim of eliminating Hamas is achieved. Photo of Gaza boys by Suhair Karam – IRIN.

Israel’s victory in the Gaza War will not be televised

One hundred days of one history’s most ferocious military assaults on a civilian population, more than three months of all-out war between the Israeli Defense Forces and Hamas, and guess what?

Hamas is still in the field, offering organized armed resistance. The war has spread to other places in the region. Israel and its backers have been isolated in world opinion. The prime minister of Israel is deeply despised by his own constituents and his most important foreign backer, the president of the United States, is in political trouble over his support for Israel.

The Israeli victory won’t be televised because there won’t be one. Israel has lost the Gaza War.


Marianne Williamson, from her website.

And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same.

Marianne Williamson


Bear in mind…


Happiness is not achieved by the conscious pursuit of happiness; it is generally the by-product of other activities.

Aldous Huxley


You fail to see
The dignified persona
Of a woman wrapped in maturity.
The scarf on my head
Does not cover my brain.

Uzma Jalaluddin


‘Freedom from fear’ could be said to sum up the whole philosophy of human rights.

Dag Hammarskjold



Contact us by email at

To fend off hackers, organized trolls and other online vandalism, our website comments feature is switched off. Instead, come to our Facebook page to join in the discussion.

These links are interactive — click on the boxes