Will 2016 go down as one of the worst years in history? Is it the year that ‘jumped the shark’? Is it our annus horribilis? A glance at the news might make you think so.
Last night the Russian Ambassador to Turkey, Andrei Karlov, was assassinated here in Ankara. In Berlin, Germany, a truck ploughed through visitors to a Christmas market killing at least 12 and injuring many more. There was also an attack on a mosque in Zurich, Switzerland. Meanwhile the carnage continues in Syria with bus conveys sent by humanitarian organisations being attacked while waiting to evacuate families from the war zone in eastern Aleppo. Oh and the Electoral College just confirmed one of the most unpopular President-elects in US history. This is just one day. One shitty day in the year that was 2016.
Here in Turkey 2016 was the year that its citizens endured a failed coup that left more than 300 people dead and over 2000 injured. Three weeks before that suicide bombers attacked Istanbul Ataturk Airport killing 41 and injuring more than 230 people. This is just one of over 30 terrorist attacks in Turkey in 2016 (not including rocket attacks being launched from Syria across the border by ISIL militants).
Around the world terrorism raises its ugly head time and time again with attacks in France, Belgium, the United States of America, Germany, Afghanistan, Iraq, Thailand and Indonesia just to name a few. Thousands of people have lost their lives with scores more injured all for a cause that was not designed for hate.
2016 was also the year that that the US was supposed to get its first woman President but instead they got a right royal goose. The UK decided to do a Brexit and exit and NATO is imploding before us.
We saw countries close their borders to refugees all around the world. The US wants to build a wall. Europe is showing everyone the door and Australia is treating asylum seekers like prisoners locking them on tiny islands and forgetting about them.
But the Syrian war, now entering its sixth year, is the war that only gets worse. To date it has claimed nearly half a million lives and left millions of others devastated. Men, women and children are trying to escape but have nowhere to go (due to the aforementioned border closures). There is the stench of death all around. Needless suffering. Hospitals are being targeted with barrel bombs and children are being used as human shields. Right now in eastern Aleppo whole families are being rounded up and executed and all of us have been moved to tears at the sight of children being pulled from the rubble or more recently being operated on in Syrian hospitals without anaesthetic. Syria is under siege and there is no end in sight with foreign powers – including the US, Russia, Iran, Turkey and Saudi Arabia – with their own agendas all wanting a piece of the pie.
And we lost Snape.
So after this annus horribilis, jumping the shark year of bok what do I want for 2017? Peace. Just peace.
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