After years of denying its medicinal properties, the world has finally come to terms with hemp. And it shows. By the time 2016 rolled off its carpets this Saturday, America or the states that have legalized marijuana would have raked in $6.7 billion in sales from the weed it’s federal government spends billions helping other nations including Naija exterminate.
The whole world is smoking weed and getting funky. When people get funky, they do weird things. From 2016, weird has become the new cool. Or, how else could one explain the rise and rise of the right-wing movement dominating most parts of Europe. When David Cameron was dancing over fantastically corrupt nations, little did he know that he was history. For asking doped voters to determine their fate with the EU, he was deleted from office. It was a known fact that the French recycle their politicians because, they are liberal, but bookmakers swear that Nicolas Sarkozy didn’t see it coming. Now even Hollande his successor, has thrown in the towel, afraid that the left would die with him. So, with a little luck on her side, Marine Le Pen would be shaking the hands of Theresa May and Angela Merkel. The odd is in!
Liberal America elected a bully, Donald Trump, who jokingly predicted 10 years earlier that he could swing votes by pitching his tent with the Republicans, a euphemism for idiots. Well, he did it in 2016 and if you ask Barack Obama and Hilary Clinton, he did it with a little help from Vladimir Putin. Even those who contested the primaries with him and lost are realigning with his upcoming cabinet to help make America insane again. Post 1944 the adjectives such as racist, misogynist and rabidly rude wouldn’t have earned anyone a vote, but in 2016, those attributes are cool again – in America and other parts of the world.
In the Philippines; Rodrigo Duterte a weird candidate who confessed hatred for the rule of law and leading in the extra-judicial killing of narcos became president. If your children are learning Filipino, keep them away from Duterte speeches if foul language offends you. Duterte takes no prisoners – using unprintable words to describe the Pope, Obama and pretty anyone else that raises a voice against him.
So goodbye 2016, we won’t miss you now that we have marijuana. You were the year of the underdog; the year that impossible was deleted from the lexicon. Hilary and Republican front-runners used the words and today they are at home licking their wounds. In less than a month, hitherto foul language would globally become the new cool, well, at least in the White House. The year 2016 exposed pundits, revealed the lie of astrologers and what metaphysicists have been smoking. It was a year in that terror became the silent listener to every progressive conversation, the unknown danger lurking behind computer screens, taking bloody bus rides, turning sports centers into theatres of blood and roads into slaughter slabs. It was the year when safety became a lofty ideal to be sought by those who once took road, rail, sea or air travel for granted.
2016 destroyed civilizations, turning Syria’s over 1,000 years of nationhood into insane rubble giving Assad a pyrrhic victory with a very sad taste and rebels calculating the prize of rebellion. The Middle East, home of the Abrahamic faith is ending 2016 unsure whether its God or man that would kick-start the process of Armageddon. Legitimate governments and rebel movements have adopted William Shakespeare’s Tybalt’s credo in Romeo and Juliet asking “what drawn and talk of peace, I hate the word peace as I hate hell.”
Global economies took an incredible nosedive in 2016 and recovery might be far for some and impossible for others. Mineral-rich nations are the worst for it. Technology has made hydrocarbons lose a huge chunk of their value and shaken hitherto wealthy nations to their foundations. Ask King Salman bin Abdulaziz of Saudi Arabia or Sai Baba of Naija.
For Africa and Africans, here was a year asking for sober reflection if you’re black. You could get shot anywhere in America without much hope of your relatives getting answers. But at least, you stand a chance of a proper burial. That doesn’t happen if you disappeared under a dictatorship anywhere in Africa or became fish food trying to cross the Mediterranean into supposed greener pastures beyond Lampedusa. Being black has never been a badge of honour anywhere if you ask the ladies who bleach.
Our attempt at defining democracy has left us with the trait of the chameleon. Nana Akufo Addo shook off the unenviable label of loser in Ghana after three attempts. But pray, what kind of weed was Yahya Jammeh smoking when he embraced change only to wake up and renege? With luck on his side, he may live as long and as hopelessly irreplaceable as Uncle Bob who just won his umpteenth opportunity to die in office. He is not alone, our continent is littered with tired but not retired bones and younger ones are imbibing their traits.
On a personal note, it was the year I finally graduated into orphanhood. My father got tired of the confusion and transited in May. Goodbye 2016!