The year of 2016, in retrospect, was a series of ups and downs from the beginning. Tensions rose between global powers, public opinion took a dramatic shift, and the loss of many high-profile celebrities made of 2016 a turning point in recent history.
Voters, in particular, shocked the world. In the United States Presidential Elections, businessman Donald Trump was voted into presidency, causing a divide of opinion within the country. Brexit was set in motion by voters in the United Kingdom, bringing to light anti-immigration sentiments. Additionally, Colombia’s first peace deal which granted amnesty to FARC was turned down by voters despite the prospect of ending the Western Hemisphere’s longest ongoing war.
The past year was indeed politically charged. The death of Fidel Castro brought into question the state of Cuba and where its future is heading. The United States investigated Russia’s possible involvement in the presidential election through computer hacking. Racial tensions around the world, particularly in the United States, were put under scrutiny of the public. The civil war in Syria escalated to horrific proportions, but recent prospects of a ceasefire has brought the conflict closer to an end.
2016 was also a year where many high-profile celebrities were lost. The deaths of David Bowie, George Michael and Prince, were not only a huge blow to the music industry, but pop culture in general given the manner they redefined masculinity in unprecedented ways. The death of Muhammad Ali, whose activism against the Vietnam War prompted conversation and immortalized his legacy. The death of Debbie Reynolds, one day after the death of her daughter Carrie Fisher, was a double blow to those who admired their contribution to the film industry. Overall, 2016 saw a lot of high profile deaths—Edgar Mitchell, Harper Lee, and Nancy Reagan just to name a few more.
Aside from losing these celebrities, 2016 bid farewell to many civilians whose lives were ended abruptly by unexpected accidents. Twenty-nine lives were taken by a fireworks explosion in Mexico. A plane headed to Colombia, crashed into the mountains, leaving only six survivors and devastating the fans of Brazil’s Chapecoense soccer team who were on board. 2016 also witnessed multiple terrorist attacks that shocked cities in America, Europe, and the Middle East, leaving behind numerous innocent victims and a state of uncertainty in the world.
All in all, the events of this past year have brought humanity closer to the brink of progress yet catapulted us further into the past. While our world has fallen victim to the devastating effects of gun violence, terrorist attacks and anti-unity sentiments, we stand doubtful yet resilient, awaiting a new beginning with 2017.
By Edysmar Diaz-Cruz