2016 has been relentless.
In the first 6 months of the year we have seen a host of significant, world changing events, and you often feel that we are living in a year that will be key in a greater global shift.
The events of 1789 changed the world political landscape – with the French Revolution which would culminate with the rise of Napoleon Bonaparte and in the USA, George Washington and John Adams’ election as the first president and vice president of the nation.
The years of destruction, from the Civil War and Reconstruction in 1865 and then 1945, which saw the dropping of atomic bombs of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, as well as the end of the Second World War undoubtedly left wounds the world is still recovering from, and military technologies and innovations that would shift combat entirely.
There is the resonance of 1991, the year that saw the historic fall of the USSR. The dismantling of the Soviet Union dictated international relations for years to come, but the shadows continue to be seen amid the tension between Russia and neighboring Ukraine, and Russia and the United States.
And then there are the events of 2001, marked by the tragedy of 9/11. This year kicked off the messy “War on Terror” intended to halt terrorism, which has given rise to a slew of geopolitical alliances and ruptures.
Can it be that 2016 will be written in the history books as of key significance in the future events?
So far this year:
North Korea decided to launch a long-range rocket into space violating UN treaties and sparking an international crisis.
There was a terrorist attack in Brussels, Belgium, in which 32 victims were killed and hundreds injured. Soon after, a suicide bombing in Lahore, Pakistan, left more than 70 people dead.
The United Kingdom voted to leave the EU which has sparked a cacophony of economic and political uncertainty. In the wake of the ‘Leave’ vote, racist abuse and attacks in Britain increased, creating huge amounts of concern about the underlying tensions and hatred within a diverse nation. Added to this, there were violent clashes between fans take place during Euro 2016 – particularly between English and Russian supporters.
ISIS continue to inflict horror -they killed 20 foreigners at an upmarket bakery in Gulshan in Bangladesh and further suicide car bombings took place at a shopping district in Baghdad, Iraq, killing up to 300 people.
Race relations in the USA feels like it has gone back 60 years with cases of police brutality towards black people increasing. The age of phone cameras and instant uploading has brought this to the attention of the world – the shooting of Alton Sterling and Philando Castille triggering more angry Black Lives Matter protests across the country, and retaliation attacks on law enforcement leaving 5 officers dead in Dallas and another two in Baton Rouge
50 people were killed in a gun attack on an LGBTQ club in Orlando – sparking once more the endless debate on gun laws and ownership in the USA.
Just days ago, a man drove a truck through a large gathering of people celebrating Bastille Day in Nice, France, killing 84 people and injuring 200 more.
Meanwhile, Turkish military attempted a coup to oust President Erdogan.
And we are only halfway through the year…
Our world seems to be in continual turmoil. It’s a game changer. Lines are being drawn. Spirits are being hardened. It feels like we are living in times of irreversible change. The value of human life has become irrelevant. The deaths of adults and children are seen as collateral damage in both individual and organisations agendas of hate and in full-scale conflicts between nations.
“There is no honourable way to kill. No gentle way to destroy. There is nothing good in war except it’s ending.” – Abraham Lincoln
In the midst of these shifting times, it is understandable for people to lose faith. You feel like the world is falling apart around you and humanity’s cruelness and capacity for evil is terrifying.
And yet, in the midst of this devastation, we see glimpses of humanity’s capacity for love, care, compassion and heroism.
The change makers…
We see the people running against the tide towards the disaster to help – putting themselves in harms way to save a life.
We see the protesters standing defiantly against the injustices that plague our world.
We see communities picking themselves up and getting back to their day-to-day lives – not allowing attacks and threat to impact their peace and community.
We see people opening their doors in times of crisis, offering a safe place to be when the streets are far from safe.
We see young women boldly going to school when they risk arrest, attack, and assassination – determined to gain their education and their key to a better future.
The human brain is hardwired for compassion. We see love in this world – every day. In spite of it all, there is still good in this world – and it’s worth fighting for.