What Kind of World Do You Want for the 21st Century?

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In 2012, the concentrated eruption of disputes in East Asia, the continued conflict between Pakistan and Israel both suggest that the haunting history has been and even is increasingly to be sources of distrust, hatred, and thus conflicts in the world. As the 20th century passed away, the 21st century has brought us a difficult task as how to deal with our tumultuous past. I hope that the world in the new century would be a world that can be at peace with its past---it would not be mired in the historical grievances, but would instead look into possibilities of the future.

William Faulkner once said: “The past is never dead, it is not even past." This still holds truth today. Decades and even centuries on, our uncomfortable historical legacies have lingered on, troubling most of us, and shadowing the peace and stability of the world. For one thing, the enormous contrast between the past and the present has given birth to confusion and thus self-contradiction inside many countries. Russians, for example, are ambitious to rebuild their past while still feeling shame about the Yeltsin years. This coexistence of both pride and inferior complex composes ambivalence, which further leads to the at-times irrationality and overhaste in Russia’s conduct. For another, sufferings in the past have factored in hatred and hostility at the present. One of the latest examples lies in this year’s East Asia, where the emergence of a range of territorial disputes rooted in history has provoked more broadly mutual hatred that had prevailed for long. A bloodier example is the enduring conflicts between Pakistan and Israel, in which the intertwining history has accounted for the death of tens of thousands. The past seems holding our world back, hampering it from stepping into the future. Therefore I see an urgent and acute need for mankind to develop a proper way to look at and to handle historical issues, especially considering that the tumultuous 20th century has just gone away....
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