by Barry Verigin

Welcoming a New Year

The beginning of a new year brings us a renewed sense of hope and excitement. It offers us all a chance for a fresh start. It gives us an opportunity to reflect on the past year, to take stock of our successes and failures and learn from the lessons they’ve taught us; a chance to review our hopes and aspirations for the coming year—a time to set new goals and possibly make some resolutions.

It is also a good time to express gratitude to those who have shown us their kindness, love and support throughout the previous year. As co-editors of ISKRA, we are very fortunate for the contributions of many talented writers, helpful advice and guidance from our Communications Advisory Board, and of course the continued support of our many subscribers. We thank all of you sincerely and invite our readers to send us your thoughts, suggestions and critique.

We would also like to take this opportunity to welcome our new contract writer, Elysia Samarodin, to the ISKRA team. We feel that her interest and passion for learning and sharing knowledge about conscious health and beauty choices will bring a great, new dimension to our publication.

This issue highlights some of our community activities – past and future. We hope that the articles and messages they contain will serve to inform and inspire you, as well as encourage you to think about important issues that we all face.

During the course of the past year we have witnessed significant developments in the social and geo-political landscape that surrounds us. As a result, several new words and phrases have been added to the growing lexicon of the English language.

It was interesting to learn that the word of the year chosen for 2016 by the folks at Oxford Dictionaries was “post-truth”. The dictionary defines this word as “relating to or denoting circumstances in which objective facts are less influential in shaping public opinion than appeals to emotion and personal belief.” The dictionary publisher cites the frequent usage of this word in response to recent events such as the Brexit referendum in the UK and the presidential election in the US.

Another term that has also gained much popularity is “fake news”. In our modern age where information technology, the internet and a growing variety of social media platforms allow individuals the ability and freedom to easily post and disseminate news and information of their choosing, it’s not surprising that truth is often stretched, if not obscured with falsehood. What is more troubling is that the reporting of events making the news is often blatantly shaped by media services to reflect the political and corporate interests of the agencies governing and financing them.

Although the tendency for media bias is not a recent trend, nor has it been exclusive to any particular state or organization, the degree and extent to which it appears today seems unprecedented. This is particularly troublesome when it comes to the reporting of escalating tensions between nations and ongoing conflicts and wars. It is very difficult, if not impossible, to find a peaceful solution to any conflict when only one side of the story is told. This important topic is further examined in this issue of ISKRA by Hannah Hadikin in her article “Evolution of News Media – from One Platform to the Next”.

2017 is a significant year for all Canadians as it marks 150 years since the birth of our nation. It is also a significant year for Canadian Doukhobors as we will be celebrating the 70th anniversary of our USCC Union of Youth Festivals in British Columbia, as well as the centenary of the Heritage Doukhobor Prayer Home located in Veregin, Saskatchewan. More information on these events will be featured in the coming months.

As we begin a new year, we look forward to the opportunities it allows each one of us to contribute in making our lives more meaningful, not only as individuals, but also as members of our local communities, as citizens of our respective countries and as global citizens who share the same planet. On behalf of the staff of ISKRA, we would, once more, like to express our gratitude to all those who continue to support our publication. We would like to wish everyone a healthy, happy and peaceful New Year!