2023 is just around the corner. A few more hours, and earth swooshes by that imaginary point in the sky, a fat week after the winter solstice. A new year. Or is it?
Whatever some hardheaded nay-sayers are still squealing in their delusional conspiracy theory infested corner: the world is still heating up. The climate is changing, its impact is already being felt around the world and expected to intensify in the coming decades. We face heatwaves, new and impressive storms, extreme weather events (O Bruce Sterling, you were so right!); rising sea levels and coastal flooding. Drought, flooding, freezing, fire. The Horsemen of the apocalypse are having the time of their lives, propelled by fossil gas stations, infrared outdoor warmers, and football crazy idiots in refrigerated Qatari stadiums.
We still bash each other’s heads in. The average level of global peacefulness deteriorated by 0.3 per cent. Although slight, this is the eleventh deterioration in peacefulness in the last fourteen years as measured by the Global Peace Index. Afghanistan is the least peaceful country in the world for the fifth consecutive year, followed by Yemen, Syria, Russia and South Sudan. All of these countries have been among the ten least peaceful countries for the last three years. Unsurprisingly, two of the five countries with the largest deterioration in peacefulness are Russia and Ukraine. But they are joined by Guinea, Burkina Faso and Haiti. All of these deteriorations were due to ongoing conflict. Thousands of Ukrainian people will cry themselves to sleep in the ruins of their houses, less than a solid car drive from Brussels while we toast to the new year.
In countries as diverse as Afghanistan and the U.S., girls and women now, at the dawning of 2023, have fewer rights than their mothers and grandmothers did. It’s infuriating. The U.S. became one of just four countries to roll back abortion rights in the past 25 years. In the aftermath of the fall of Roe v. Wade, many states passed laws to ban or severely restrict access to abortions. As many as 45,000 women and girls worldwide were killed by intimate partners or family members in 2022 alone. One woman is killed every 11 minutes. Let. That. Sink In. Have another toast.
What can I say. Gay people are being hanged, lesbians stoned, transgenders ridiculed. The whole “civilized” world thought that the rights of King Football vastly outranked the rights of the LGBTQ+ communities. We saw Qatari princes and FIFA officials bare their fake bleached teeth in corporate smiles while listening to some powers-that-be declaring that homosexuality is a disease, an abomination, and against that obscure human construct called “God”. Some bubbles with that?
They are everywhere. As many as 1 percent of Americans (that’s more than 3 million people) and 7 percent of Brazilians (11 million people) say they believe the Earth is flat, for example. Flat. Surrounded by an ice wall. Protected by pinguins!
Bill Gates and the Illuminati have injected the population with Great Reset fluids that can be activated by killer 5G beams. Close to 10% of the people around you actually believe that. Because a skilled manipulator with bad hygiene and a lack of mommy love crafted a video on YouTube citing a near death professor. An alarming amount of people seems to be unable to show even the most basic skills to detect fake news. I’ll take anther drink.
But… all that was 2022. 2023 will be better surely. Humanity will miraculously get a turboboostershot of common sense in this lukewarm winter night. Our capacities for compassion, kindness, empathy, sympathy, common sense, fair play, tolerance and wisdom will blossom this night. All will be well on the first morning of 2023. I have no doubts.
I wish you a good year. Fight for what is right. Make a stance. Make a difference. Encourage where needed. Support what is good. Stand against all that is wrong. Do what you can. You are the last line of defense. Freedom, equality, parity, respect: it stands or falls with you. Be a formidable friend to your friends, and a fierce force against all that threatens them. Be joyful, resourceful, kind, just, and creative. Be Good. Be You.
I wish you health, love and endless energy. Make it the best year ever.