What a year it’s been. Truly. These images attest to that.
Most of us are living through times that, while perhaps could have been predicted at some indeterminable point in the future, were definitely shocking in their forceful manifestation in 2011.
The most compelling example of this is, undoubtedly, the Arab Spring.
Did any of us expect Egypt’s Hosni Mubarak would be ousted from power so dramatically? Or Libya’s Muammar Gaddafi consigned not just to history, but to an ignominious death?
Were we prepared for 2011 to be the year when ordinary people of the region took matters so courageously into their hands, ignited by the act of protest of Tunisian street vendor Mohamed Bouazizi?
Chances are, we were not. And yet these movements have surged not far from our doorstep, here in Cyprus.
Meanwhile, the international Occupy movement has gathered momentum in turn, challenging the world’s ongoing economic and social inequalities.
Riots and rallies have been on the news constantly, and the voice of the disenfranchised has been heard at its clearest yet.
Austerity and negative credit ratings have crept into our everyday vocabulary.
Famous (and infamous) personalities have passed away. The great and the good, the talented and corrupt.
And of course, a multitude of natural disasters have reminded us that humankind is never so advanced as to be shielded from the mighty forces that lie beyond our control, and that the earth is nor merely our playground, but rather a shared home that deserves more reverence, more respect and, quite frankly, more awe than we are often prepared to give.
In the course of this year even the most unassuming of us has been confronted with an urgency to fix things that are broken. And to take personal responsibility for what that might mean.
So much can happen in the course of one year. But time is always relative.The only thing that matters is now.
What will 2012 bring the Cypriot peace efforts? Where will we be this time next year? How will ordinary voices – from every part of the political spectrum – shape the dialogue regarding the island’s future?
As ever, the answer lies with each of us.
That’s all for right now, but Peace Exchange will be back again with more good stuff for you soon.
Till then, stay warm and dry and… see you in the new year!