The past decade saw an unceasing revolution around the world. The impulse to overthrow oppressive governments, immoral ideals, injustice and discrimination reached every continent. Sometimes with violent uprisings, sometimes with month-long protests, all these shook the institutions of leading democracies.
Civil wars broke out. Millions of people across the globe fled their homes for basic rights and, moreover, seeking a chance for life.
As New York Times puts it, the unrest of the 2010s seems more varied and more global. But it is not difficult to imagine that the period will be remembered in history as another fateful era of populist tumult.
Here is an overview of some of the incidents that buzzed the world in the 2010s.
Natural disasters rocked the year, with Haiti's catastrophic quake and Pakistan's devastating floods. The Eyjafjallajökull glacier volcano erupted sending ash clouds between 18,000 feet and 33,000 feet into the atmosphere, causing airspace shutdown over northern Europe and cancellation of thousands of flights. Meanwhile, the United States (US) expanded its mission in Afghanistan.
This was a year of revolution as Arab Spring uprisings spread and the Occupy movement rallied worldwide against economic inequality. US Navy SEALS killed al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden in the territory of Pakistan. Libyan dictator leader Muammar Gaddafi was killed as well. A tsunami set off by an earthquake of magnitude 9 triggered the collapse of the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant. President Ali Abdullah Saleh of Yemen stepped down after his three-decade rule. On the bright side, there was a royal wedding.
War took hold in Syria. Divided voters re-elected President Obama in the US. Vladimir Putin reclaimed Russian presidency. Sandy Hook Elementary in the US faced a mass shooting that left 26 dead, including 20 first graders.
Rana Plaza, that housed garment factories, collapsed in Bangladesh, killing 1,100 workers. In Kenya, dozens were killed when gunmen of Somalia's Islamist group al-Shabab stormed Westgate shopping mall. In the same year, the world bade goodbye to Nelson Mandela, South Africa's anti-apartheid revolutionary, political leader and also the president from 1994 to 1999.
West Africa's worst outbreak of Ebola killed 11,300 people. Demonstrators protested in Ukraine for months against President Viktor F Yanukovych's government and finally removed him. A sudden surge of Central American migrants heading to the US cast attention on the southern border of Mexico. Thousands fleeing war and poverty in North or West Africa braved the treacherous waters of the Mediterranean Sea to try to reach Italy.
The US Supreme Court passed same-sex marriage as a nationwide right. More than one million migrants entered Europe, many fleeing war and poverty in the Middle East and beyond. Terrorist attack in Paris's Bataclan Theater killed 90 people. Similar terrorist attacks killed 40 more people in a northern suburb throughout the capital. A Nepal earthquake of 7.8 magnitude left 9,000 dead and damaged many ancient architectures. Alan Kurdi, a three-year-old Syrian child whose body washed up on the coast of Turkey, shocked the world.
Donald Trump defied polls to win the US presidency. Black Lives Matter protests sparked in the US. Britons voted to leave the European Union. Usain Bolt became the fastest man on the planet to win the final sprint in 9.81 seconds at the 2016 Olympics. The fiery Cuban leader Fidel Castro died at the age of 90.
Women started talking against sexual harassment and assault and created the #MeToo movement. Women across the world rallied for their rights. Meanwhile, after a brutal crackdown in Myanmar, over 640,000 refugees from the Rohingya Muslim minority community headed for Bangladesh, seeking shelter. There was a surge in the fight against Islamic States – a terrorist militant group headquartered in Iraq and Syria.
Migrant crisis escalated at the border between the United States and Mexico. The war in Yemen led by the Saudis pushed millions to the brink of starvation. In Chiang Rai Province, Thailand, a widely publicised rescue was carried out wherein members of a junior football team were successfully extricated from Tham Luang Nang Non cave. The assassination of Jamal Khashoggi – a Saudi dissident, journalist for The Washington Post – occurred at the Saudi consulate in Istanbul, Turkey. The murder was perpetrated by agents of the Saudi government. On the bright side, another Royal wedding took place.
Protests broke out in streets of Hong Kong, Venezuela, France, Britain, Chile and India. A historic meeting took place between North Korea's leader Kim Jong-un and US President Donald Trump. The lungs of the planet, the Amazon forest, caught massive fire and burned for days. Towards the end of the year, President Trump was impeached by the US House.
All in all, the ongoing worldwide unrest will continue to define the globe at the opening of a new decade as it did the one we are leaving behind. However, let's hope for a better future.