The author looks back into 2015 and remembers all the events that made news, and how we can learn from them in the upcoming years.
January 7: Charlie Hebdo attack in Paris
The year 2015 took off with a rough start where gunmen entered the office of France’s satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo, killing 12 people while injuring 11, who were journalists and cartoonists. Charlie Hebdo was criticized and threatened by many for drawing cartoons of prominent figures, including the Prophet Mohammed (PBUH). Many analysts believe that the attackers were either influenced or sponsored by ISIS ideology (Watts, 2015).
February 3: ISIS systematic execution of journalists
On February 3rd ISIS started to increasingly execute Western and Asian journalists in hopes of inciting fear amongst their enemies. It is during this period that ISIS gained incredible attention from the international community, especially after the viral propaganda video, immolation of the Jordanian pilot, and the execution of the Japanese hostages (Almasy, 2015).
February 6: Houthi’s dissolve Yemen parliament and take over government
After months of fighting, on February 6th the Houthi rebels in Yemen dissolved the Yemeni parliament and announced a Houthi Revolutionary Committee that will oversee the establishment of a new government. This was a turning point to the long conflict in Yemen as it was the point whereby neighboring countries formed a coalition against the Houthis in hopes to return the government to the beleaguered president, Abdrabbuh Mansour Hadi (BBC News, 2015).
February 27: What color is the dress?
The great internet sensation. What color is the dress? Some saw it black and blue, others white and gold. Truth is, neither is wrong or right. The whole mystery is based on the perception of the eye and the reflection of the light on a specific object (Griffen, 2015).
March 19: ISIS claims responsibility of mosque attack in Yemen
On the 19th of March the Houthi’s started to retreat from the capital of Yemen Sana’a and called for talks to end the fighting. However, to everyone’s surprise, on the following day ISIS claimed responsibility for the attack and coordination of two Shiite mosques in Sana’a, killing 140 civilians during prayers. This horrendous crime against all Muslims and humanity was sadly the first of many other mosque bombings that ISIS coordinated against Shiite Muslims (BBC News, 2015).
September 2: Europe’s immigration crisis and the drowned child
On September 2nd the world woke up to a shocking image of a Syrian child washed ashore in Turkey. The child’s name is Aylan Kurdi, and his family amongst thousands were trying to cross the Mediterranean Sea towards Europe in order to flee from the conflict in Syria. Hundreds lost their lives in the journey, while thousands were rejected refugee status into Europe. Aylan Kurdi became a symbol to the world that brought attention to the desperate need of those seeking asylum (The Guardian, 2015).
September 4: UAE soldiers
On Friday September 4th, 45 United Arab Emirates soldiers were killed in Yemen by a surface-to-surface missile that struck the ammunition depo where the soldiers were. By far the largest death toll the UAE has ever experienced, sorrow filled the land. An official holiday in the UAE has been decreed in order to commemorate the deaths of those who lost their lives in conflict, peacekeeping, and humanitarian aid (Salama, 2015).
November 13: Three Coordinated attacks by ISIS kill dozens in Paris
ISIS launched three coordinated attacks in Paris, killing 129 people and wounding hundreds. This attack is considered the worst France has experienced since World War II. France amongst other states retaliated this act of war with more airstrikes in the city of Raqqa, Syria, ISIS’s self-declared capital (The Telegraph, 2015).
November 30: Several world leaders gather for historic U.N. climate talks
On November the 30th the United Nations hosted a global convention in Paris that brought leaders from all over the world to face our planets global warming. It is one of the largest gatherings of world leaders in the history of this planet, and a total of 30,000 diplomats have come together to take action in reducing the planet-warming greenhouse gas emissions. The outcome of the convention however is not as promising as it may seem. First of all, the convention outcome on the law of environmental emissions is not binding, which means that states do not have to follow the terms agreed upon. Secondly, the action plan that was set in the convention is not effective today, but in 2020. Nonetheless, everyone agrees that this is a positive change to the environment, one that we can continue to take care of in the upcoming years (Enviroment News Service, 2015).
December 12: Saudi women achieve voting right
On December 12th the Saudi Arabian government opened the doors for Saudi women to vote in the local council and the municipal council. This means that half the population of Saudi Arabia will now get a partial say on who runs the municipality and institutions that run the country. This is a huge step for Saudi Arabia and one that is promising. Currently only 20 seats out of the 2,000 in local councils are seated by women (Amos, 2015).
There are many events that took place in 2015 that really highlighted the year. There were hopeful events that have taken place in 2015, while others we can surely learn from and understand better. One thing I find present in almost every event is that especially in 2015, I find that racism and, stereotyping has been very prominent. From generalization of various ethnicities by political figures, to the continued cycle of violence towards another belief. We must learn to look beyond our differences and backgrounds. While many around me believe that the future is dim and bleak, I beg to differ. I believe in the future and I have hope that tomorrow will be greater than yesterday. Because I don’t believe in judging others by where they are from and what they believe, but rather by who they are. Only then can we human beings get a long and share a prosperous and peaceful future Insha’allah. Lastly, do have a wonderful year and I pray only happiness and peace comes your way.
新年快乐, manigong bagong taon, bonne année, Frohes neues Jahr, nav varsh ki subhkamna, あけまして おめでとう ございます, selamat tahun baru, sâle no mobârak, С Новым Годом, feliz año Nuevo, yeni yılınız kutlu olsun, naya sal Mubarak, Happy New Year, كل عام و أنتم بخير.
Almasy, S. (2015, February). ISIS: Japanese hostage beheaded. (CNN) Retrieved 2015, from http://edition.cnn.com/2015/01/31/middleeast/isis-japan-jordan-hostages/
Amos, D. (2015). Saudi Women: Elections Are One Step Forward On A Long Road . Retrieved 2015, from http://www.npr.org/sections/parallels/2015/12/14/459683623/saudi-women-elections-are-one-step-forward-on-a-long-road
BBC News. (2015). Yemen crisis: Islamic State claims Sanaa mosque attacks. (BBC) Retrieved 2015, from http://www.bbc.com/news/world-middle-east-31989844
BBC News. (2015, March). Yemen crisis: Who is fighting whom? Retrieved 2015, from http://www.bbc.com/news/world-middle-east-29319423
Enviroment News Service. (2015). Guide to Paris Climate Talks: Halftime Notes. Retrieved 2015, from http://ens-newswire.com/2015/12/06/guide-to-paris-climate-talks-halftime-notes/
Griffen, A. (2015). Blue and black or white and gold, how the dress colour you see says a lot about you. (the Independent) Retrieved 2015, from http://www.independent.co.uk/news/science/what-colour-is-the-dress-blue-and-black-or-white-and-gold-whatever-you-see-says-a-lot-about-you-10074490.html
Salama, S. (2015). Martyrs’ Day holiday announced in UAE. (Gulf News) Retrieved 2015, from http://gulfnews.com/news/uae/government/martyrs-day-holiday-announced-in-uae-1.1569526
The Guardian. (2015). Shocking images of drowned Syrian boy show tragic plight of refugees . Retrieved 2015, from http://www.theguardian.com/world/2015/sep/02/shocking-image-of-drowned-syrian-boy-shows-tragic-plight-of-refugees
The Telegraph. (2015). Paris terror attack: Everything we know on Saturday afternoon. Retrieved 2015, from http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/europe/france/11995246/Paris-shooting-What-we-know-so-far.html
Watts, C. (2015). Who attacked Charlie Hebdo in Paris? Assessing a Jihadi Attack in The West, ISIS vs al Qaeda. (Foreign Policy Research Institute) Retrieved 2015, from http://www.fpri.org/geopoliticus/2015/01/who-attacked-charlie-hebdo-paris-assessing-jihadi-attack-west-isis-vs-al-qaeda
Nasser AlFalasi was born the year the cold war ended. For those who don’t know the year the cold war ended, Nasser’s columns in SAIL is exactly for that reason. Nasser’s undergrad was in Financial Services at the Higher Colleges of Technology. He then pursued his graduate studies at NYU, NYC concentrating in global affairs with a specialization in international relations and transnational security. His major interests include history and global affairs. Most of his columns will be in regards to those topics. By the way, if you haven’t already found out the year Nasser was born, its 1991.
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