2016 will not be remembered as a good year. My guess, and I guess this is ‘everyone’s guess, 2016 will be recollected as one of the worst years in decades, a year that defied expectations and previsions; unquestionably a year of change.
Against all odds, Hillary Clinton hasn’t become the first US Madame President-elect. Hatred, bigotry, prejudice, arrogance, racism, fear and ignorance in action prevailed and former ‘Celebrity Apprentice’ host and top-headliner ‘I grab women by the pussy’ Donald Trump is to be The United States of America next Commander in Chief; and the good people of the United Kingdom, following a disgraceful and untruthful campaign, voted to leave the European Union.
2016 will be remembered as the year the world grew numb to the horrors of war, violence and suffering. The Middle East is engulfed in its own World War I or total war; thousands of human beings drowned in the Mediterranean Sea; South Sudan descended into chaos; and the plight of the Rohingya people of the Rakhine State in Burma remains forcefully silenced.
David Bowie died and so did Leonard Cohen, Prince, Allan Rickman, George Michael and mother-daughter duo Carrie Fisher and Debbie Reynolds, tremendous losses to the magic and singularity of our world.
If you dig deeper into 2016 however, you’ll find that not all of it was bad. The gene responsible for ALS disease has been found, bringing the world one step closer to finding effective treatment. For the first time in over 100 years, tiger numbers in the wild are growing and so are snow leopards in Nepal and otter populations worldwide. After more than 50 years of civil war, the Government of Colombia and the FARC rebel group reached a new peace deal, after the first historic agreement was rejected by voters, ‘showing unstoppable will to bring the armed conflict to a resolute end. Sri Lanka is Malaria free, showing the world that it is indeed possible to rid a country of the deadly disease with brave political will and adequate financial and policy commitments. The world’s largest marine protected area – twice the size of Texas! – was declared in Antarctica, in the Ross Sea, commonly referred to as ‘The Last Ocean’, because it is by and large untouched by humans, protecting the pristine ecosystems that are home to a vast number of fish, seals, penguins and whales. And China announced that is banning all its commerce in ivory by 2017, a move that will shut down the world’s largest ivory market with a potentially colossal impact in elephant and rhino poaching in Africa and Asia.
2016 is also the year we launched A MONTRA/ THE WINDOW. After almost one and a half years of background preparation filled with tears, laughs, cigarettes and in my case too many cups of tea, we made our sharing network public. While the global impact of such courageous and bold move is residual, the repercussions in our lives have been tremendous. When I look back at 2016, I will most definitely remember a year that defied expectations, definitely a year of change. I’d like to take this opportunity to express how grateful I am, and I know Joana, Matilde and Rita share the exact same feeling to all of you, all members of our network, for making our 2016 a year of revolution and revelation.