Yes, you caught me, I totally stole the headline from Beyonce, but it is only because it very well captures what I wish to put forward in this post – the importance of sticking together when times get tough. However, let’s start with a short recap of the year of 2016.
2016 has been a year of some, to say the least, surprising turn of events. Donald Trump was elected president of the United States, the government in Poland suggested that it would be a good idea to deny polish women the right to their bodies, and the U.S Government found it to be no problem to finish the North Dakota Pipeline near the Standing Rock Sioux Reservation. On top of that the war in Syria is a never ending story (why can’t they just stop?) and keeps forcing people to flee their homes at the same time as racist and opportunist parties get ever more supporters around the globe, especially here in Europe.
Two years ago, when the Swedish Democrats became the third largest party in the Swedish parliament my friend told me he didn’t go out for a week after the election day. He just couldn’t bare it. Back then I was not yet deprived from my positivity, but I have to admit, it has indeed become harder to find the motivation for trying to change and improve this ever more disenchanting world.
But let’s look at things from another perspective.
However, and this is what I really wish to stress, there is another side to this story. With the risk of sounding as a total cliche – we do need to stay positive and believe that change is possible. Because it is! Even if all the things I said about 2016 in the beginning is true, another truth can be told about this year.
2016 was the year when thousands and yet thousands of women (and men) took to the streets in Poland, and in the rest of the world, to support the rights for women to decide over their own bodies – and they won. 2016 was the year when the indigenous people of North Dakota found supporters all around the world, who, in solidarity, spoke up for their right to their land – and they won. 2016 was also the year when Beyonce and her girl crew totally owned the Super Bowl halftime show in the United States which felt like a most needed motivation boost.
You see, even if things could have been (a lot) better, there is one thing that is really fantastic: international solidarity. The global mass protests against the Polish abortion law and against the North Dakota Pipeline shows that if we stand side by side, and show our strength in numbers, change is possible. And this is more important today than ever, especially for those who, like myself, live in countries where we are free to speak our minds. We must use our voices, for ourselves as well as for those who can’t use theirs.
So, let’s not forget about 2016, but let’s agree it wasn’t a swell year and decide that 2017 will be a much better one. Remember to stick together and remember that there is power in numbers. If we are many, our voices are more likely to get heard. Use your voice, gather your friends, use the Internet, join an organization! So, to bring it back to Queen B – let’s get in formation ladies, because it takes a girl crew to make change happen!