Why should there be fear about a number?
This is the dawn of a New Year. However, this year is different from all the others that nearly all of those of us alive today have ever witnessed. This one has the dreaded number, 13. Many who were glad to see the back of the past year never contemplated the implications of this year.
Needless to say, the world is full of superstitious people and it is this superstition that will permeate the atmosphere as the year progresses.
For many, the past year was disastrous and there were those who attributed their misfortune to the fact that the year was a leap year. People expect the worse in leap years. Whether this is so because of the extra day or just a fear of the unusual will never be explained.
There were about 125 murders, more robberies under arms; just about the same number of road fatalities as the previous years and as usual, the spate of fires. There were boating accidents, the most horrific claiming six lives. The relatives of the victims would all swear that the year was the worst that they would have encountered. These were people who could not wait to see the end of the year; they were the ones who welcomed 2013 with open arms.
No one knows what made 13 the unlucky number it is touted to be in the same way that some people claim that the numbers 3 and 7 are lucky. What is known is that there are hotels that would not have a 13th floor so that elevators would not have the number 13 on its panel.
It would be unusual for residences to have 13 openings or 13 flights of stairs or as is the case of Guyana, 13 treaders in a step.
There is no mention of thirteen children in a household. At least, no one has heard that parents actually killed the thirteenth child. That may not mean that it never happened but we have not heard of such cases. But then again the thirteenth child may be the lucky one in a family that may have been headed by a single parent mother with twelve children.
Already the year may be seen as bad for some. There were two road accidents that plunged communities into darkness. That would have been seen as bad for the persons driving the cars and for the people who would have had to endure the power outages.
One person has also died in a fire. Surely his relatives would claim that the year had something to do with it. He had already lost a leg but they would not have taken that into consideration. Initial reports are that the fire might have been started by the man who wanted to end his life.
And at least one businessman must be cursing the dawn of the New Year. The sun had not yet risen when some hoodlums broke into his store and carted off millions of dollars of equipment and other valuables.
To think that people would blame a year for any misfortune is not beyond comprehension. It is surely a signal that people keep looking for excuses for any misfortune. This year with the number 13 at the end would also prove to be lucky for some people. Yesterday a man who for at least two decades lived under the shadow of the gallows had his death sentence commuted to life. He would be one person for whom 13 is a lucky number.
The people who would become millionaires through playing the national lottery would also shout from the roof tops that the year is a good one. There was a woman who won one million dollars bright and early in the New Year. This is a signal year for her.
When all is said and done a year is what people make of it. The influence people exert on their lives would determine success or failure. There is need for people to take stock of their lives. Guyana is also preparing to benefit.
The parliamentarians have a duty to the nation to behave in a manner that would promote development and not the rancor that is common among them at this time.