What was the biggest event of 2014? Was it the Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 shootdown, the ISIL offensive, the airstrikes by the United States and its Arab allies on Syria, or the Ebola virus outbreak? Or was it something else?
In a year where the world’s population reached 7.28 billion, Gregorian Year MMXIV has revealed perhaps more hype, fear, drama and tragedy than we’re used to seeing, certainly in comparison of world events with the previous two years. Perhaps in terms of enormity the following ten events can be considered (in reverse ‘countdown’ order of importance) the biggest, most memorable:
NUMBER TEN – Legalisation of Euthanasia in Belgium
Not unlike the legal reforms on the same-sex marriage debate, in terms of ethical weight, the legalisation of euthanasia in Belgium for terminally ill patients of any age comes into effect on February 13.
NUMBER NINE – Chibok School, Nigeria, Kidnapping of 300 girls
Boko Haram, an Islamic Jihadist organisation, claims responsibility for the abduction and kidnap of 276 female students on the night of April 14-15. There is a social media campaign started worldwide (#BringBackOurGirls) that reached 2.3 million tweets, but, as yet, there has been no major breakthrough on this tragic event.
NUMBER EIGHT – Climate Change Report
The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change releases its final Fifth Assessment and concludes that the world faces “severe, pervasive, and irreversible” damage from global emissions of CO2. And the world’s governments continue to disagree with one another on what the world response should be.
NUMBER SEVEN – Threat of Poliomyelitis
The World Health Organization (WHO) identifies the spread of poliomyelitis in at least ten countries to be a major worldwide health emergency.
NUMBER SIX – Israel and Hamas Standoff
For a seven-week period in June and July tensions rose between Israel and Palestinian Hamas, the product of which 2,100 Palestinians and 71 Israelis die, including a ground offensive into Gaza by Israel.
NUMBER FIVE – MH370 Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 Disappears
A mystery consuming billions of dollars, and generating ongoing anguish in family members left ambiguously behind, the March 8 disappearance of the Boeing 777 airliner is perplexing. It is assumed to have disappeared between the Gulf of Thailand and the Indian Ocean.
NUMBER FOUR – Russian Situation Involving the Ukraine and Crimea
The annexation of Crimea implicates sanctions against Russia and the temporary suspension of Russia from the G8. The United Nations General Assembly, via a resolution, rejects the annexation and calls Crimea part of the Ukraine. This all comes after the Sochi Winter Olympic Games held in Russia during February 7-23.
NUMBER THREE – Ebola Epidemic in West Africa
This February outbreak which has the whole world’s continued attention has infected nearly 20,000 and killed 6,000; the most ever in modern terms of infections and casualties. Most countries around the world institute preventive and corrective policies at airports, border crossings and seaports.
NUMBER TWO – MH17 Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 Shootdown Over Ukraine
On July 17 the world wakes to breaking news of a commercial airliner (Boeing 777) that is shotdown over the Ukraine by a Russian missile. 298 people perish. Days later the United Nations Security Council issue Resolution 2166 in response to the shootdown. A major international recovery effort and a Dutch investigation ensue.
NUMBER ONE – Islamic State Offensive Into Northern Iraq
Nothing has struck fear and repugnance into the hearts of Earth’s citizens in 2014 more than the rise of Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant/Syria (ISIL or ISIS). Using social media to terrorise the world through the recorded beheadings of several individual hostages, world leaders almost everywhere denounce the IS strategies as evil. Such a conflict is most worrying for the religious undertones and overtones as Jihadists continue to provoke the West toward a ‘holy war’.
2014 has been dominated more by national and international conflicts than natural disasters. World financial market concerns continue to unsettle consumer confidence, and major health crises (i.e. Ebola or poliomyelitis) also worry Earth’s inhabitants in 2014.
© 2014 S. J. Wickham.
Acknowledgement: source information from various pages on Wikipedia.