“Annus horribilis” was Queen Elizabeth’s description of the year 1992 in her New Year’s address to her nation and the world. We must thank her for providing us with an apt description of 2021 as the year limps to an end in a few days.
Unlike other years when people debated what the worst and the best of the years’ passage, there is clearly no debate on what was the worst in 2021; in a word “coronavirus” or more precisely “SARS–CoV-2”. There are few seniors still alive who can recall any health event worse than Corona.
It laid low almost every society and took an enormous number of lives, while chasing populations into isolation and into long lines to shop and to take vaccinations. Unfortunately, while the foregoing is written in the pass tense the virus continues with its mischief as it enters into its third year. Annus horribilis indeed!
It was not enough for corona to continue its rampage, but it took over the airwaves at the expense of almost everything else plaguing our world. That is unfortunate because a number of serious events either went unreported, underreported or simply flew under the radar of the mainstream media (MSM).
Luckily, the much vilified alternative media stuck around and doggedly reported and discussed events that were ignored by the MSM.
Canada while doing its best and sometimes better than most countries in dealing with the pandemic, got a relatively free hand to pursue a number of questionable policies. Our government took it upon itself to go after China by illegally arresting Meng Wanzhou, the Chief Financial Officer of Huawei, China’s cutting edge technological firm that is fundamental to its technological development. Canada’s stupidity, driven by its vassalage to the United States, touched off two and a half years of unnecessary tilting at the Chinese, tit for tat diplomacy that kept Meng under house arrest for those years, and rougher years for two Canadians in Chinese prisons. When it ended, Canada made an enemy of one of the world’s great economic and military powers, a power that we once had a friendly, respectful and mutually beneficial relationship.
During this time Israel continued the daily theft of Palestinian land and abuse of the people who live there. The world noticed but turned a blind eye even as we write. We’ve witnessed the refusal of the US to obey its side of a signed agreement with Iran, the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), which was intended to reduce the possibility of nuclear arms proliferation in the volatile Middle East.
Everywhere we witnessed deadly conflict – in Yemen under attack of the Saudis, political and armed conflict in Sudan, Ethiopia, Mali, Ukraine, between former member states of the former USSR (Azerbaijan-Armenia for example) and a number of other nations spread around the globe.
We are also facing ecological disaster as a warming world sends forth floods, hurricanes, typhoons, twisters and famine that took and are taking millions of lives because of our failure to attack head on the clear and indisputable signs of climate change.
No, it was not a pretty year. And we are promised more of the same as all attention is paid to the coronavirus pandemic.
We apologise if we play the part Cassandra, Trojan priestess, who was cursed to utter true prophecies. But, according to my Jamaican brother: a suh it go. There is no soft selling of these facts.
Looking at it from every angle, it was an Annus Horribilis. The ball is now in our court to do what is in our power to make life better.
Let that be our collective resolution for 2022.