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MALTATODAY 2 January 2022

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12 maltatoday | SUNDAY • 2 JANUARY 2022 NEWS 13. First Census results The results of the 2021 Census held last November will be ex- pected in the first half of the year. They will paint a picture of a radi- cally changed Malta from 10 years ago. For the first time, the Census results will be presented in a geo- spatial way by the National Statis- tics Office. 14. Eurovision in Turin After Maneskin won the Eurovi- sion song contest in the Nether- lands last year, the European song fest with a touch of Australia will be held in Turin in May. Expect the Italians to pack the show with colour, extravaganza and glam- our. With the axis of victory final- ly shifting south, Malta will once again hope of winning the festival but we will all be wary of what the odds say. 15. Uncertainty in Libya The presidential election was postponed from 24 December 2021 to January, leading to re- newed tension in the north Afri- can state. The UN-brokered vote could be disrupted by factional fighting and mi- l i - tias unwilling to cede pow- er. In 2022, Libya will remain a land of uncertain- ty where the seeds of hope can ei- ther develop in- to green shoots or be washed away by war. Either way, the impact will be felt across the Mediterranean. SIMONE SPITERI 2021 has been an interesting year - both from the point of view of my job as a writer, and from the eyes of a cit- izen, woman, and human. With 2022 looking like another COVID-affected year, in hindsight, we will probably view 2021 as a bit of a sandwich year. Nestled in-between a traumatic 2020 and the years still to come, where the pandemic might change its status but will linger for decades; financially, physically, ecologically, socially, emo- tionally and psychologically. So, 2021, was a bit of "No-Man's land". We sensed that a massive shift had taken place; some perceived it immediately, others moderately, while many were and are still in de- nial. I hope, rather than predict - because if there's one thing, I've learned this past year or so is to not bother be- yond the immediate - that we stand up to be counted. We have been witnessing the pro- verbial bubble slowly inflating it- self towards implosion. We've most probably already missed the bus. But small as our chances for redemption may be, they're still there. Gener- al awareness seems to have and will keep increasing. All you need is to take a deafening stroll through so- cial media. Everyone has an opinion about everything these days. And I don't see that changing. But it is time to be more active. There is a world burning (some- times literally) outside our homes and it is time for each and every one of us to take stock and reflect on how we are living our lives, how we are treating our planet and one another. And promptly change our habits. From the point of view of a writ- er and theatre-maker, I anticipate a slightly louder, if still apprehen- sive, voice of artists who are finally attempting to take a step closer to grabbing the bull's horns. We still have a long way to go for our theatre to truly fulfil the poten- tial active role it can and should play in our society. But considering the fact that not too long ago we were still burying our heads in the sand artistically speak- ing, while everything was coming apart just outside the theatre doors, artists – especially younger ones, are daring to say and show things as they truly are. My hope, not quite a prediction, is that the status quo is challenged as- siduously in 2022 and beyond. And more importantly that the general public understands why that is im- portant and how to go about it pro- actively. I keep using the word "hope", how- ever, not just because the pandemic and personal life choices have freed me up from being too attached to distant future plans, but also because that is the only tool I have at my dis- posal in my work. The hope that what I and my colleagues write and create pinches audience members out of our pseudo-comfortable daze. Whether that happens or not remains to be seen. Predictions, ultimately, often have a knack of being precisely the opposite of what actually happens. So, let's see. From turbulence, to stagnation and hope in the beacon Writer, playwright, actress

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