Calling 2016 the worst year in history is kind of insulting to years like 1943 (peak Holocaust) or 1348 (Black Death) or even that year around 72,000BC when a Sumatran super-volcano erupted and reduced our species population to about 5000. That said, 2016 was absolutely whack, and that’s not including the myriad of beloved celebrity deaths.
Rise Of El Diablo
When billionaire/human joke Donald Trump began his run for presidency of the United States of America, we all shared a collective laugh. The kind of LOL that could be heard the whole planet over, bringing people together in times of hardship, warming the cockles. Trump announcing his campaign felt similar to a sea anemone taking to land and declaring itself King of the Earth. The absurdity lasted so long that it turned into concern, then panic. Suddenly a chronic liar, unrestrained xenophobe, proud misogynist and total racist became the leader of one of the most powerful nations in the world. The line of jaws needing to be surgically replaced after falling to the ground in shock continues at time of print. Talking of politics, Brexit happened after Britain’s racism reached fever point, resulting in the nation consciously uncoupling itself from the European Union, severing European ties and upheaving an entire major nation. Oy.
Theme Park Deaths
Theme parks are meant to be the happy places that bring people together creating memories that last a lifetime. What do you do when those theme parks start fighting back and become horror lands? This year was a nightmare for theme parks. Earlier in the year, a young boy was decapitated while sliding down the world’s tallest water slide in Kansas. In Walt Disney World – “the happiest place on Earth” – a young boy was dragged into a lagoon by a resident alligator and killed. Our very own Dreamworld had a catastrophic accident that resulted in three horrific deaths on one of the most placid and friendly of their rides. While zoos aren’t generally considered theme parks, not mentioning the unnecessary death of beloved Harambe here seems callous. Nowhere is safe.
Pokémon Go Nuts
Pokémon Go descended upon our fair planet this year, and with it a kind of herd mentality not seen since the wildebeest stampede in The Lion King. The game, which was praised for helping with mental health issues and getting people out and about, also collectively turned those playing it into zombiesque creatures scrambling desperately for a crumb. The footage of hoards of people swarming toward a particular spot where a rare Pokémon lay hidden would be funny if it weren’t actually pretty unnerving. There was also the fact that people were so engrossed by the game that they stopped paying attention to the real world around them, resulting in actual deaths.
Nature Fighting Back
Nature is absolutely fed up with our shit and is fighting back in increasingly more desperate and apocalyptic ways. Not only did we have massive storms battering our planet (Hurricane Matthew was absolutely huge), but the Zika virus epidemic dropped like a fresh Beyoncé album and Ebola, a virus that was crossed off the to-do list earlier in the year, returned later on for a reunion tour absolutely nobody asked for. On top of that there were massive earthquakes in Ecuador, New Zealand, Italy, Taiwan and Japan just to name a few. Then Mother Nature decided to send down an actual plague of locusts – the worst in 60 years – upon poor Argentina. One of the strangest and most horrific natural events of late has to be the thunderstorms in Melbourne, which caused widespread asthma attacks that resulted in multiple deaths.
Australian Asylum Torture
The asylum seeker issues with Australia reached new peaks in 2016, with widespread reports of depravity and inhumane treatment of those our leaders deemed unfit to set foot on our fair land. Despite universal condemnation, the Australian Government continued to practise human rights like a dictator in a post-apocalyptic fiction. Multiple reports of the horror these people face were flagrantly ignored, with even first-hand accounts and footage of mistreatment dismissed like candy wrappers.
Children are sending out photos of themselves holding up signs saying “imagine we are your kids” in a desperate appeal for salvation, recognising that inexplicably those in power cannot have compassion for a child that is not of similar skin colour and socio-economic bracket. Men, women and children are being physically and sexually assaulted. A victim of rape was denied an abortion and medical treatment. Children in processing centres have attempted suicide over the possibility of returning to Nauru. Conditions are so abysmal that people are setting themselves on fire. This is truly the most horrific, shameful and apocalyptic state of affairs this year has brought us.