It’s some of the first few hours of 2017, a year that has taken too long to come. I’m watching, on Netflix, a serial on Queen Elizabeth and the House of Windsor titled The Crown. It’s an engaging series of stories around the style and life of the reigning British monarch and her life on the throne. I had intended to watch just a few episodes of the show, and now it seems that we’d watch the whole damn thing in one sitting.
It’s not such a bad entrance into the new year. There’s red wine here, and palm wine, and fried beef, and rice with Yorùbá stew. On one of my laps is the head of my wife and partner. Our son is fast asleep at home and won’t see us till later in the day. We are guests in someone else’s house.
Yet, it doesn’t feel like the beginning of a new year. Except for some firecracker noises about three hours ago, it has been quiet outside. Inside here is laughter and occasional arguments. But it is a soft, happy, party of family sharing happiness and warmth. There are no rowdy street scenes. No grand announcement of the beginning of a new year. Just a quiet and respectful progression into what had been long overdue.
Yesterday, we spent some time watching Adéyẹmí Afọlayan’s old movie Kádàrá, featuring some of the now notable faces in the Nigerian movie industry. The ending was a little disappointing, but the overall experience of spending the evening in the company of family and watching something from the early 80s compensated for that discomfort. It’s easy to forget that this is the year that Donald Trump officially becomes POTUS and gets the nuclear codes.
In Nigeria, the recession hasn’t eased up. The administration of President Buhari, which came in with a huge promise and a mandate from a wide swathe of people, is fast losing that trust. In Turkey yesterday, over thirty people were killed in a terrorist attack. And the problems in the Middle East don’t look like they are close to being solved soon. A one-state solution in Israel, anyone?
And so, since we’re still here, the resistance continues. Optimism? Well, a cautious one. But optimism anyway. Happy 2017, everyone.