2016 started with resolutions of change and buckets full of hope like every other year. Like every other year, it had its share of issues that plagued its definition and tilted it towards being negative and chaotic. Many resolutions did not find any solutions. And some of them were very pious, universal and timeless in their appeal. To that extent the year was that of another missed opportunity.
A report came without holding any surprise but having much poignancy. It said in our face yet again that less than 1% of the people on the planet have more wealth than the rest 99% combined. A collective resignation and belief in tomorrow ensued. Time will sort this out. The Occupy movement gained some traction in September, marking its fifth anniversary but soon more ‘glamorous’ events took over.
The timeless opiate of religion remained relevant and lulled everyone’s conscience into accepting genocide and mass murders in the name of religion or security by merely offering token sympathy on the social media. A tweet or a Facebook post replaced global fiery protests that had kept the collective spirit of humanity alive over the past Century. The result was more such violent news – pouring in with much less disgust each time around – be it Aleppo or Mosul or mass migration across Europe.
Samantha Power, United States’ Ambassador to the United Nations summed it beautifully when she asked if we were truly incapable of shame. Only issue left was whether this question could be put to all the players; not to just few by a few. Some may argue that we were consistent throughout the year. We started as Christians, Yazidis, Shias, Sunnis and Hindus et al. And we will end 2016 as such.
The all-time favourite subject of women’s liberation and equality continued to churn reams of paper and hours of show time globally. Beauty pageants across the world dripped promises to emancipate the lot of women. And all research continued to show the lowering of glass ceilings (Hillary who?) and reduction of glass cubicle spaces for one half of humanity at the same time. The LGBT community was left bewildered yet again as to when will their turn come to grab some attention at least if not some rights.
They had said long ago that the world moves very fast around the Sun. So it moved in 2016 too. So fast that no one realised that it was the warmest ever recorded year in the planet’s history since humans had taken over.
Safety has never been a major concern when it came to using ever newer technologies by people in 2016. Since they never learnt from their history they stuck to only repeating it. They were culled by clubs, by swords, by guns, by bombs and now by cyber technology they will come to grief. No collective rage for cyber security is noticeable even after Snowden, Wikileaks and what have you. ‘As long as I am not appearing morphed or otherwise all over the net, it will be Happy New Year 2017’, is the refrain.
But 2016 also proved one thing beyond doubt. Human beings are very large hearted. They allowed equal or more column space to even insects. For example, the humble mosquito – when dengue and malaria killed tens of thousands – was discussed ad nauseam. Why mosquito, even the invisible Zika virus found enough space through the year.
We never mind losing the race to healthy dignified life to even mosquitoes and viruses. Let this commitment remain in the coming year too? Make a wish.
This article would not have been complete without high cost of education loans & health care being discussed. It continued to deprive millions as usual from health and education. Research came out that if one was born rich, then nothing could prevent him from doing well in life when compared to the one who was born poor. When destiny became such simple fait accompli in 2016, there’s nothing left to write about it.
Well tradition says, and traditions are important – Happy New Year. So be it.
By Hitha Sanghi | Guest Contributor