#Ready for 2017? Optimistic thoughts from a pessimistic German girl in D.C.

It is January 1st, 2017. I pull aside my blanket and look out the window. Usually, I see a beautiful rose-coloured stripe greeting me good-morning (my window is perfectly in the east). Not this morning. No, the sky is gray. And so is my mood. After a, for my german standards, mediocre New Year’s Eve, (I grew up with extensive fireworks), I wake up in 2017 and I am really not looking forward to anything. After all that has happened in 2016 – countless terror attacks, the near break up of the european union, the election of a racist businessman, another record hot year and more war and poverty in the Middle East and Africa – and all that 2017 promises – possible atomic attacks on North Korea, possible dictatorship in Turkey, the fall of the European Union with the election of more right wing populists in France and possibly Germany, more war in Sudan, more corruption in Congo, and more terrorist attacks, I really have nothing to look forward to.

Fast forward.

It is Monday, January 16,  2017, Martin Luther King Day. I wake up and look out my window. I witness an orange-rose light fighting the darkness of the night. Temporarily exuberated, my mood drops. This is the week. This is the week of the inauguration. This is the week where hate trumps love. This is the week where walls trump bridges. This is the week I am going on the streets, I am going to tell this idiot that he is not my pre…

But wait…hold on. The light is still shining. What did Martin Luther King say? “You cannot fight darkness with darkness you can only fight darkness with light.”

I should go on the streets. I should defend my stance. I should speak up and raise my voice. I should say that I care about the planet, that I care about foreign relations, that I care about the millions of children who left their families behind in Mexico, I should speak up…

Because this is the year, where we can look forward to democracy. Yes democracy, demos, the people. People participating again. Not sitting back and raging about the status quo behind their own four walls. Democracy is the rule of the citizens. So I am excited in 2017 to see young people all over the world, taking on their role as a citizen and sharing their interest, their care about the world. I am looking forward to seeing the young generation shining their light, full of hope, kindness, open-mindedness, tolerance, and love.

Pauline F.