Monday, May 20Royal Holloway's offical student publication, est. 1986

New Year’s Revolution

Cemre asks for 2016 to be the push we need to bring more change

As we are mostly aware and are constantly reminded on social media, 2016 was a year of tragedies. It’ll probably go down in history as the worst year our generation has seen so far, and while some scoff and move on – and good on you for being able to – others are shaken. Justifiably so. Sure, other bad years, 1939 or 1999 come to mind, were generational disasters for some still alive today. And it’s not just celebrity passings – which to mock is to be insensitive to the celebrity and the people who loved, were inspired by, or needed them –  but the endless acts of hatred, violence, bigotry. Probably because we thought those things were left in the 20th century. Last year, though but a month ago, was emotionally and mentally tiring and caused many to question humanity. While small spots of light shone through, lifting us up and giving us hope, we lived what was undoubtedly a disappointing year.

While we hopefully leave behind the hashtag trend of #PrayFor____ we unfortunately bring a trend into 2017:


This is jarring, especially after the issues we faced and were confronted with just months ago. While we want to move past disaster, mourn the year and start a-fresh, does this really mean we must ignore what’s still happening?

In the past week into the new year, Turkey has faced endless acts of hatred and, if they’d happened to a country in Europe or the USA: terrorism. While countries were mourned and supported their loss around the world, and rightfully so, I don’t see any country standing in solidarity with Turkey. Or Syria. Or Iraq. Palestine. Endless countries in Africa, Asia and South America that face violence every day and are left to deal and mourn alone.

The everyday person, old and young, has been socialised and politicised on a cognitive level through media to accept and shun any sort of violence in other countries as acts that reveal how destabilised these countries are, how ‘Other’. When similar strikes occur near them, it is ‘terrorism’, attempts to destabilise the ‘modern’ and ‘secure’ world. Police are quick to blame or prosecute groups – another thing that should have been left behind in the 20th century – as seen by the tragic Christmas Market attack, anyone from Pakistan or Afghanistan or refugees.

As a generation who has insubstantial democratic affect – see Brexit and Trump – it’s important we try to make social change now, use 2016 as an example to assist our voice and express our disappointment and work to make our future our own and not an echo of those before us.