Blaise Tapp: Turning of the year must see a change

2015: It was the year of the refugee.
2015: It was the year of the refugee.
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This is a week where the world does retrospection in bucket loads be it in the ubiquitous review of the year newspaper pull outs or those cheap-to-make tv programmes featuring out-of-work comics summarising something they saw on screen five minutes earlier.

We will all laugh at repeats of those memorable ‘cultural’ moments especially the one when the high priestess of po-faced pomposity herself, Madonna, was left red faced as she fell off stage in front of a television audience of millions.

We will also be reminded that 2015 was actor Eddie Redmayne’s year after he scooped a best actor Oscar while denim’s nemesis Jeremy Clarkson left the sanctuary of Top Gear after one controversy too many.

But to define 12 months by the calibre of its light entertainment would be to sugar coat 2015, a year which will go down as one we will want to forget for so many reasons.

It was the year that we became scared again - two seismic events in Paris, the Charlie Hebdo massacre just days into the New Year and the outrage in November which left 130 people dead - made us all realise that international terrorism knows no boundaries and left Brits peering nervously across the Channel.

But it was the not completely unrelated matter of mass migration, leading to the normally over cautious BBC News labelling it the Year of the Migrant, which dominated the headlines this year.

I have no doubt academics in ill fitting sports jackets will be writing about this extraordinary humanitarian crisis in many years from now such is its magnitude - we have witnessed history in the making and hasn’t been pretty.

It is not just the human cost which has been unpleasant - the bodies of drowned children fleeing the horrors of Syria and ISIS/ISIL/Daesh, or whatever we are supposed to call them this week, will live long in the memory - but the response to the crisis from many has been nothing short of disgraceful.

It would be nice to declare 2015 as the year when we finally discovered tolerance, which would have some credence when you consider that political parties such as UKIP here and the Front National in France failed miserably to capitalise on favourable pre-election polls. But border fences have been hastily erected, the official response by the European Union a disjointed mess and we have also seen riot police deployed in some parts of southern and central Europe in unsuccessful attempts to stem the flow of desperate refugees who are forging their way through the continent in search of a better life.

Of course the the old argument ‘we don’t know who we are letting in’ gained some legs after it was revealed at least two of the Paris gunmen posed as refugees when they entered Greece illegally. But this year alone a million plus have fled their homes to Europe and to deny them refuge due to the actions of a handful of lunatics in inhumane at best. While I have my fingers crossed that 2016 will be a vast improvement I don’t hold out too much hope. Donald Trump for president anyone?

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