Beyond the personal events that made 2014 a year of heartbreak and triumph, the world embarked on quite the 12-month roller coaster ride. Google has already released their take on the year, here’s mine:
2014 was, all in all, a year of conflict and unforeseen events. Malaysia Airlines, for example, suffered terrible PR after one plane went missing in March and another was struck down in the Ukraine. Thankfully, however, neither are CNN’s top story anymore- I guess after a couple of weeks they too agreed that enough is enough.
Conflict ensued across the world between both the Ukraine and Russia and Israel and Palestine. After Russia claimed to annex the Crimean Peninsula and the Ukraine maintained it remained part of its country, U.S. relations with Russia suffered and Putin claimed he didn’t have troops on the ground. Pictures went ahead and showed otherwise, and the portion of land is still up for debate. For Gaza and Israel, however, disputes that root deep in history blew up again after the killing of three Israelis teens and the revenge killing of a young Palestinian. Airstrikes followed, many lost their lives and the border between the nations remains fuzzy. Actually, so does Palestine’s existence to Israel.
The Nigerian terrorist organization captured 273 schoolgirls, which started a huge social media movement of #bringbackourgirls. Unfortunately, 230 are still missing and the movement has basically died. Boko Haram continues to remain a problem in the Northern region of Nigeria, but hasn’t posed a large threat to the rest of the world.
What has, however, is ISIS. A terrorist organization fighting for an extreme Islamic State has ravaged parts of the Middle East while even gaining movement in the Western world. Multiple citizens, including three Chicago siblings in early December, were caught leaving the U.S. to join the rebel group. Most recently, a man claiming ties to the group held hostages in a chocolate café in Australia. All in all, the organization has goals that clash with American beliefs and remains at the top of some U.S antiterrorism agendas.
This brings me to Syria, which continued its third year of official civil war. The country is broken, hundreds of thousands have lost their lives, and important historic sites have been demolished. After all, Damascus is a city with some of the most ancient roots. While in Toronto interning for the international film festival, I was able to screen a documentary that pieced together 1001 videos and pictures from the warzone. Needless to say, it was tragic yet captivating- what started off as a rebel group with intentions of restoring the country has turned into a violent group just as corrupt as the government itself.
Not all events of 2014 involved conflict, Malala Yousafazi received the Nobel Peace Prize, alongside Kailash. This was a triumph for the teenager who champions for women’s education.
Midterm Elections were held in the U.S., creating defeat for the Democratic party which lost numerous seats. The Republican party, however, took control of Congress with the majority. Voter turnout was low, hitting a 72-year low, and no politicians have officially announced campaigns for 2016.
In other American news, 2014 saw the rise of a televised racial divide, after the deaths of both Michael Brown and Eric Gardner. Though opinions on both cases differ from person to person, large protestor turnout proved that racial discrimination is still a problem for America to face. Whether or not the situation will be addressed through legislature or if the protests will gain movement for genuine change, it can definitely be agreed that the social media movement proved that #alllivesmatter.
While 2014 contained far more events than what I mentioned above, I chose those for both personal connection and what captured media attention as well as events most visibly related to by friends and family.
You can check out Google’s video on 2014 here: