The upside to a rock-bottom year


2016 was a bad year. Ruptured by famous deaths and disturbing political change, it left many traumatised, uncertain of the future. But we cannot forget that we have been through worse. And no matter how often the world has been jarred, people have come together to hold it steady.

This is how we move on. This is how we safeguard against a troubled year turning into a shattered decade. By coming together and celebrating the goodness we all share. All around us are people whose vivacious, impassioned embrace of life should inspire celebration. Because in the dark and gloom of global instability, light and hope come from people. A blind man who soared over stigma and disability to claim Paralympic gold. The cop with a conscience whose philosophy of policing from the heart has turned him into a community hero. The young writer who started writing books for black girls, and found an audience who saw their lives in her stories. And the kid who survived a stabbing to become a boxing prodigy, fighting for the late Muhammad Ali. These people aren’t outliers. Their strength, their passion and courage are fundamental human traits that we all share.

We enter 2017 with a shared responsibility. The goodness in all of us needs to come to the fore. We have a collective ability to rebound and overcome, a shared capacity to endure. If we learn from the people whose lives embody these qualities, we will be better for it. 2017 is a new year, with new stories. We owe it to each other to live up to the best in all of us.

Nella EtkindDecember 2016