Christmas Speech

The last year has been one of the most controversial year of the last decade. 2016 has been a terrible year as far as politics, terrorism and music are concerned. However despite the general hatred towards the last 12 months period, I still find 2016 to be one of the most interesting years I have ever experienced, as far as my personal life matters. But in order to understand what 2016 really means, we need a summary of what the main events were.

Politics

Just like in the ‘60s, the United States had to face clashes between black people and the police, which were accused of killing unarmed members of the black community in a few cities. The world witnessed to the first visit of an US President to Cuba since 1928 and also to the election of Sadiq Khan as Mayor of London, which made him the first Muslim mayor of a major Western city. 2016 was also the year in which the United Kingdom left the European Union (Brexit), which led to the resignation of the PM David Cameron and the consequent election of Theresa May as the second woman in the history of Britain to become Prime Minister (after Margaret Thatcher). The year came to an end with the unexpected and controversial election of the republican Donald Trump as President of the United States and the resignation of the Italian PM Matteo Renzi, after a referendum to reform the Italian constitution, as well as the resignation of the PM of New Zealand John Key.

Transports

This year hasn’t been a good one as far as transports are concerned either. There were two main airplane crashes. The former was a flight from Paris to Cairo, while the latter involved the plane carrying the Brazilian Chapecoense football team.
On the positive side, the Switzerland’s Gotthard Base Tunnel was completed and Amazon successfully delivered a Prime Air parcel using a drone.

Terrorism

Terrorism acted as the darkest enemy of 2016, causing countless deaths and injuries. Brussel’s Zaventem airport and Maelbeek metro station were the theatre of a terrorist attack, which caused the deaths of 28 people and over 260 injured. Orlando became the host city of the worst mass shooting in the United States, when a gunman opened fire in a gay nightclub killing 49 people and causing the world to reflect upon what is the actual importance of sexual orientation and religion in a killing and the public opinion to become closer to the LGBT+ community. Christmas celebration in Berlin were interrupted when a man drove a truck into a Christmas market killing 12 people. The attacker would be killed in Milan four days later.

Environment & Nature

Awareness was raised about climate change and 195 nations signed the Paris Agreement, which aims at lowering the global average temperature. Other than that, 2016 witnessed the killing of Harambe and 2 massive earthquakes in central Italy between August and November, one of which was the strongest earthquake in Italy for 36 years.

Sports & Culture

This year was also the year of the Olympics in Rio de Janeiro and the release of J.K. Rowling’s book “Harry Potter and the Cursed Child”.
Unfortunately throughout the year, the world lost several legends of the music industry such as David Bowie, Frank Sinatra, Jr.,  Prince, Leonard Cohen and Rick Parfitt (Status Quo) and other icons such as actors Alan Rickman and Gene Wilder and writer and philosopher Umberto Eco.

Singular Facts

Personally, it was indeed a very important year since I moved to London to go to university and I became more independent, which also means that I started thinking about my future. I also managed to fight against depression, which had been affecting me for quite a long time.
It was also a year full of singular facts, such as the sale of a lock of John Lennon’s hair for $35,000 at an auction, Leonardo Di Caprio finally winning an Oscar, Bill Gates being classified as the richest man in the world ($75 billions) and the US college student Otto Warmbier being sentenced to 15 years of hard labour for trying to steal a political poster in North Korea. We witnessed to the Panama Papers Scandal and to the refusal of PayPal to proceed with its investment in North Carolina after it passed anti-gay legislation.

Technology

Technology became so advanced that it allowed a 70 years old woman to give birth in India and at the same time, it led to the release of Pokémon Go and the production of the last videocassette recorder.

It has been an unbelievable year under every aspect and we can only hope that 2017 will be an even better year and that it will hopefully bring more good news than bad ones. I only hope that this summary of 2016 will be an example of what to do and not to do, so that we can create a better future and use each year of the past as a way to improve the future.

I would like to conclude, wishing you and your family a very Happy Christmas.

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