Was Last Year Really That Bad?

2021 is disappearing. Leaving the stage, becoming a footnote, a number buried in our memories and in the chapters of history.

“We bid the past year farewell, but we will not miss it,” most will say.

But is that so?

Without a doubt it was a very difficult year. Look below at what first comes to mind. Which one was the worst?

– The coronavirus cases, which flared up again, reaching record levels, instead of disappearing?
– January 6, when an attempt was made to overthrow the elections, the basic mechanism of the Republic; the power of the government; the people?

– George Orwell’s book (1984) being voted the 3rd most important book of the last 125 years in a survey by the New York Times Book Review, as a result of the above?

– Countries printing or borrowing once-inconceivable amounts of money – due to the economic crisis caused by the pandemic – to support their citizens, to keep the very economic system from collapsing?

– The millions of refugees fleeing their countries ravaged by civil war, poverty, the effects of climate change?

These dramatic events, and many more, characterize the passing year. Events so dark and negative that they cover the international stage with a dark cloud – obscuring our vision with uncertainty about the future that the world has not experienced for decades.

The past year has consolidated the perception that the world is getting out of control. The average citizen is afraid. S/he is equipping him or herself. S/he is getting prepared. But for what?

People are realizing that the world’s balance of power – a mechanism developed by the German statesman Otto von Bismarck (1815-1898) and which served the world well after it was overthrown by WWI and WWII but was then restored during the Cold War between America and Russia – has been again overthrown with the rise of China, threatening world peace.

So, I would say that the real danger for the future is not what we went through in 2021, but the psychology of negative expectations for the future as well as the emergence of a psychology of pessimism, characterized by a sense of our inability to solve problems and the lack of trust in institutions and leaders.

This is the big threat to our future as we prepare to welcome, with all its limitations, 2022.

And these are the elements that make 2021, no matter how negative our feelings are about it, the gateway into… worse things that may happen.


This article is part of a continuing series dealing with reports of Greek POWs in Asia Minor in the Thessaloniki newspaper, Makedonia in July 1936.

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