2017: The Year Aruba Realized Things

Updated: Oct 28, 2019

According to Kylie Jenner, 2016 was the year of “realizing stuff.” Jenner’s prediction seemed to be true for many of us. There was a sudden shift in what society expected from us towards what we expected from ourselves. We began to see ourselves more as individuals rather than as part of a community or a group of friends.

I remember my motto in 2016 was: “Treat yourself.” I wanted to pamper myself in all the possible ways, but most importantly I wanted to be kind to my body. Being kind to my body included sleeping on time, avoiding hangovers and being on time everywhere so I would never have to rush again.

As 2016 came to an end I set a list of goals for 2017. Many of those goals revolved around my achievements and my wellbeing. I wanted to continue 2017 with the same steadiness of character as I had done in 2016 and I wanted to continue succeeding academically.

But as 2017 progressed, caring for myself became a very normal thing to do. Instead, my focus shifted towards my country and the state it was in. I started to feel uneasy about the changes (or lack thereof) that were taking place on Aruba.

After 8 years of the AVP government, money was still being poured drastically into big infrastructural projects. It seemed confusing to me how the country was being driven further into a deficit while social problems weren’t being addressed.

In the second half of 2017, we were faced with the reality of government corruption and its blatant hypocrisy. When the election season started, for example, we got to see the arrogance of the party when they decided not to show up to the millennial debate. A slap in the face for us young Arubans.

The AVP had won two elections in a row and they counted on the same fanaticism to get them through this election. To be completely honest, I was worried that they might actually win because of the Aruban tendency to vote for popular parties.

So, when I saw the election results, I was astonished. Aruba had chosen with the country in mind. With great determination, the island showed that even though they weren’t ready to give the majority to MEP, because of the bitter taste they left in our mouths eight years ago, they were done with AVP’s shenanigans. And in that moment, I felt extremely proud to be an Aruban.

It was the confirmation I needed that most Arubans are critical thinkers who are slowly, but surely, backing away from the traditional way of politics that Aruba has known for decades.

Socially it has been a year filled with eye-openers. Criminality remains a growing issue on Aruba and women and children face domestic abuse every day. In fact, child abuse has shaken our country to its core this year with outcomes that left us speechless.

Through all these issues, Arubans have known to show solidarity and willingness to change. The latter is very important because we grew up in a society where it’s “none of your business.” But after the tragedies we faced this year, Arubans are saying, “It is our business and we are going to do something about it because we never want to see this happen again,” We’re willing to start a conversation and not be silenced by fear.

There’s always going to be room for change, but I think that we’re on the right path. We’ve made progress and we’ve become aware that changes need to take place, not tomorrow but today.

To conclude with the statement I started this blog post with… Kylie Jenner said that 2016 was the year of realizing things. However, for Aruba 2017 was the year of realizing things and hopefully, 2018 will be the year we take action for the betterment of our island.

On that note, as a writer of Phryme Magazine, I would like to wish you the happiest of Christmases and a groundbreaking 2018!

Bon Pasco y Bon Aña!

Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this blogpost are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official views of Phryme Magazine.

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