Often, the most obvious and simplest statements are the most effective

It was a year that, like all years, a lot of things happened in.” Thus wrote the great Carrie Fisher in The Princess Diarist, her hilarious and revealing memoir of what it was like making the Star Wars movies. The actress who so uniquely played Princess Leia in the series died two years ago, on December 27, 2016. She was only 60 when a cardiac arrest prematurely took this quirky, wise, funny, but also slightly crazy figure, whose death deservedly dominated headlines all over the world. Incredibly, Carrie’s mother, the former Hollywood actress, Debbie Reynolds, died of a stroke just one day after her daughter. The two women, who had been estranged for years, were thankfully reconciled before the dual tragedy struck.

Yet, what interests me here is Fisher’s quote above. Often, the most obvious and simplest statements are the most effective, and it’s true that in the past 12 months a lot of things have happened. If you haven’t seen it already, in this month’s issue we have a handpicked selection of some of those events, which took place, month-by-month, in Catalonia and the wider world (pages 22 to 45).

Reviewing the previous 12 months in the December issue of the magazine has become something of a tradition at Catalonia Today. I don’t know about you, but I get a kick out of refreshing my memory, and I can tell you it’s even more fun selecting the moments to feature, as clearly there are “a lot of things” there just isn’t room to include. Check it out if you haven’t done so already.

At the same time, Fisher’s quote exposes the arbitrary nature of framing events within a strict 12-month period. Most events in the news are not self-contained issues, most of them were already around before January 1, and most of them will continue into 2019, or even beyond.

A good example is the situation of Catalan political leaders held in custody. On the face of it, 2018 was not a good year for the officials behind last year’s independence bid. Repeated calls for their release have fallen on deaf ears, all appeals have been rejected by the courts, and the public prosecutor is asking for long prison sentences should they be found guilty of rebellion.

Yet, who knows, perhaps when their trial takes place next year they will (unlikely, I know) be acquitted, or convicted and then pardoned. Or perhaps they’ll be hit with huge sentences that cause such an uproar it completely reinvigorates the independence movement? Or finally spurs the international community into responding to the political conflict?

In short, a 12-month period is probably too short a window to get a really good handle on many of these issues. Yet, to my mind that does not invalidate the effort to review the recent past, as in many cases it serves to highlight topics that we need to keep an eye on in the coming months. The case of the imprisoned leaders is certainly one of those.

Where a year in review is on firmer ground is when it covers such events as the death of a beloved celebrity. It may be two years ago now, but Star Wars fans – as well as men of a certain age (guilty!) – still regret the loss of the great Carrie Fisher.

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