Last October I looked forward to a cold winter, and the promise of snow. In fact the winter has been warm. There has been little drama and – until now – none of the hard weather we experienced in 2010/11.
It arrived today; just in time for us to walk through the village and enjoy the strangeness. We returned home to a fire and provisions and watched more snow settle outside. It grew dark, and the snow became thick on the ground and now it is still coming down and what’s on the ground glows in the light of the moon. At last the village feels cut off; and all night we have sat by the fire.
In Moscow, tens of thousands of demonstrators braved temperatures of -20 to call for sweeping reforms, and the sort of political freedoms we enjoy here. In Syria, Assad’s forces continue to use artillery to shell the ‘rebel city’ of Homs. In London, demonstrators attempted to storm the Syrian Embassy on the 30th anniversary of a massacre in the city of Hama, when 20,000 people are believed to have been killed by forces loyal to Bashar Assasd’s father Hafez. In New York, China and Russia strangled a Security Council draft resolution which called for Bashar to stand aside and allow a “Syrian-led political transition to a democratic, plural political system”. The US Ambassador to the UN described her country as “disgusted” by China and Russia’s behaviour.
Thus the world turns, and people denied freedoms show extraordinary bravery as they rally against dangerous opponents, and those of us lucky enough to enjoy these freedoms, and the prosperity that accompanies them go about our family week-ends and look up into the sky and wonder what the weather will throw at us next.