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A New Year message from openDemocracy

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About the author
Isabel Hilton is the editor of chinadialogue.net, and was editor of openDemocracy from March 2005-July 2007. She is a journalist, broadcaster, writer and commentator.

2005 has been a year of great tragedy and some hope. Nature inflicted the worst devastation – the aftermath of the Asian tsunami, hurricane Katrina and the destruction of New Orleans and the devastating earthquake in Kashmir – to mention only the most extreme events.

Manmade violence killed fewer people but scarred our polity and blighted many hopes. The bombings in London in July and in Bali in October, the daily horrors in Iraq, the continuing violence in Palestine, Darfur, Nepal, Uganda, Colombia and many other places remind us at openDemocracy how much need there is for the tolerance and democracy that our readers and authors value.

There were other landmarks in 2005. Pope John Paul II died after one of the longest and most innovative papacies of all time. China overtook Britain in economic size and Chinese companies began to take over western companies. Chile showed signs of electing its first woman president. The global south asserted its claim for economic and social justice as never before and the signs of political change began to emerge in the middle east.

These events and issues – and many more – were reflected on openDemocracy , where readership more than doubled in 2005 and more articles and debates were published than ever before. To readers who joined us in 2005 – a warm welcome. To readers who stayed with us in 2005 – a warm thank you.

The openDemocracy team is taking a break over the holiday period. We leave you with some rich reading, our abundant archive, the challenge of our end of year quiz – and a compendium of the most read articles published in 2005.

Our New Year edition will contain the predictions of some of our most distinguished writers for 2006. Our daily publishing will resume on 9 January.

We would like to thank all of you in the openDemocracy community who have read us, argued with us, contributed to us and supported us in 2005. We wish you a safe and peaceful holiday and a very happy New Year.


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