debbie harper

An Open Letter to 2016

Here it goes, to you 2016, a year we will all remember.  You started the year off with a bang putting El Chapo back in jail, only to have the WHO announce an epidemic of the Zika virus, trading one thing that kills for another.  You then saw how North Korea launched a rocket into space and no one did much about it. Heading to a more peaceful route, the Havana Declaration was signed.  However, you then reminded us that the world isn’t as peaceful as we would hope when the ICC convicted Jean-Pierre Bemba with crimes of sexual violence.  The ugliness continued with the bombings in Brussels and ISIS reminded us of its presence while we continued with our everyday lives. Only a few days later, another blast went off in Lahore killing 75 people but not covered by the media as much. Why 2016? Why did you bring so many horrible things but why do only certain things get talked about?  You then gave us the Four Day War, but still many people don’t know what that is.  After two decades, the world’s longest and deepest railway tunnel was finally opened, an exciting accomplishment for us.  But then you reminded us of how ignorant we are when the United Kingdom voted to leave the European Union.  We didn’t expect it but boy were we wrong.  You did things that shocked us this year 2016.  However, we didn’t concentrate long on the Brexit because ISIS attacked again a few days later.  “45 killed at an airport in Istanbul” announced the broadcasters.  We then moved on though, quite quickly because that’s something easy for us to do as humans.  You kept demanding our attention though and gave us some positive news, the June spacecraft entered orbit around Jupiter and Solar Impulse 2 circumnavigated the Earth, becoming the first solar-powered aircraft to do so.  After that, we entered the Olympics in Brazil, weighed down with lots of controversy.  Held in a country with a lot of political tension, the Brazilian President was impeached a few days after the Olympics.  You reminded us how if we don’t take care of the place we live in we could be reaching the end of us so we saw two countries ratify the Paris Agreement. North Korea continued to conduct its nuclear tests and we continued to sit back while you probably laughed at us 2016. The world then began to look closely at the United States to see who they would elect.  If they would either elect their first woman and be as progressive as they claim to be or if they would elect the man who reminded people of previous dictators.  You probably smiled at us because you knew.  You knew that we are entering a different age, not one of enlightment, and this was a taste of what was to come.  A then came the death of the dictator, a death many celebrated but also some mourned.  By the end of the year, we saw the murder of a Russian ambassador, leaving us with a bitter and familiar taste of a death that began another war.  Wrapping the year up you saw us finally finding the first proven vaccine against the Ebola virus.  You allowed a cease fire in Syria, something many people had been praying for after seeing, hearing, or experiencing the bombings we saw through the last few months.  However, you couldn’t leave us on a happy note.  You had to remind us just how against each other we are with a move that had us questioning if the Cold War had ever ended.  So, what gives 2016? Why did you do this to us?  You took away people that made us smile and sing. David Bowie. Laugh and believe.   Alan Rickman.  People that inspired us with their words and stories.  Harper Lee, Elie Wiesel.  People that made us happy when we saw them.  Patty Duke, Prince, Anton Yelchin.  People that changed us.  Muhammad Ali, Gene Wilder.  People whose voice touched other’s lives.  Juan Gabriel, Leonard Cohen, George Michael.  And people who reminded us to reach for the stars and beyond. Carrie Fisher, Debbie Reynolds. You certainly left us in quite a state 2016 and you just watch and laugh.  Why do this to us 2016?  I think it’s because you didn’t do this to us, is it? We did this to ourselves.  We were the ones who fucked ourselves over but I guess we need to blame you.  Because I mean we’ve never actually taken responsibility for our actions, why would we start now?