Tonight we say goodbye to 2009 and the decade that it brings to an end. I was glued to the television ten years ago with sheer excitement as the millennial celebrations unfolded throughout the world. It had been just a week after my birthday, and I felt incredibly lucky to have been born at a time when I could witness the turning of the millennium… the 1500s are so passé. I started this decade in elementary school and ended it in university. It has been a decade filled with ups and downs. Personal failures and successes. Global failures and successes. It has been filled with hope and disappointment… and hope again.
I was raised in the decade when towers fell, when tyrants fell, when millions of innocents fell. I was raised in a decade of fewer wars than before, but even lesser peace. Axis of evil became the emblem, and we became familiar with allies, enemies, sanctions, and moral crusades. Us and them. Them and Us. Religions. Cultures. Languages. The Clash of Civilizations self-prophesized. Plain talking, simple talking. Dude, where are my WMDs? Reality is TV and we’re all stars. Vote each other off islands, houses, and the stage. But Keep watching. With SARS, Bird Flu, Swine Flu, our lungs never caught a break. Mad Cow, West Nile, and Anthrax just in case you weren’t scared.
Earthquakes wiped out ancient mud cities, tsunamis wiped out modern steel cities, and hurricanes came and went from Y2K to 2012. Broken ice-sheets, broken promises, broken levees. Green bags, green protests, green earth. Poisoned rivers feed largest dam, and black gold feeds humanity as starvation abounds. It was a decade of threats and terror. Sixty years since the bomb, look north of the 38th parallel. Planes, subways, only bikes are safe now. And no carbon footprint.
But we connected. We forged friendships on walls, carved our aspirations on the screen. Mundane life or the greatest tweet ever. Status update: Will you accept my friend’s request please? The Roman forums became the digital platforms for dialogue between civilizations. Cell phone cameras became the eyes of the world jury, and our redemption. The world is watching your every move. Seriously? Seriously.
We changed our perspectives. We saw more than ever. The world at our fingertips, Gorillas in our Midst, planets in worlds far off, and the hobbits in humankind’s family tree. Stem cells created parts of us. Millionaires traversed space, and shuttles disintegrated while one lone mathematician solved the Poincaré Conjecture. When I was your age, Pluto was a planet… and the Hadron Collider investigated the essence of the universe. Before it had a Wardrobe Malfunction. Wiki stored our collective knowledge. The threads of our existence were unraveled and their codes became just one click away. Data, data, data. I’ve been Swallowed in the Sea, will you Lift me up? Ice from Mars for the iGeneration. Order from your nearest online retailer. Man from monkey? The debate rages on a hundred and fifty years later.
Millions voted in world’s biggest democracy. With solidarity, with courage, millions turned out against wars, for civil rights, in white, orange, green and all the colors of a rainbow. Funny men on TV made us think. Elections were won and lost, or in dispute, or recalled. Candidates assassinated. Men became presidents. Proud Cowboys and Humble Street Sweepers. They wore their faith on their sleeves. Epic Fail– You Betcha that’s What She Said. Recessions didn’t recede, but swept the globe. Watch the numbers fall, fall, fall. Dollars, schemes, prisons, and bail-outs.
We LOLed at cats, and shed tears when massacres took lives. Batons, Kalashnikovs, mines and bombs. White phosophorous gave a light blue shade to the heavens above, and tear gas burnt. We clash, we collide, and sometimes we headbutt. Run fast. You are Bolt. Keep running when they make you fall. You are gold. Black man became most powerful person in the world, and gave us all a change and a glimpse of hope, however transient.
I grew in the 2000s, and it was worthwhile. Google it.
What do you remember?Permanent linkMarzieh Ghiasi