NOVEMBER 13 in Paris was a moment for history, much as London 2005 was and September 11, 2001, before it, was for Americans. 2015 has been littered with terrorism events. It was actually harder than usual putting this list together, because of terrorism’s dominance over the year. Having compiled a Top 10 of this ilk each year since 2009 it was noticeable how significant terrorism has been this year in the cast of this Top 10.
NUMBER TEN – NIGERIA ATTACKS BY BOKO HARAM
On January 3–7, in a series of massacres in Baga, Nigeria, and surrounding villages, terrorist organisation Boko Haram kills more than 2,000 people. At least sixteen towns are destroyed and over 35,000 people are displaced.
NUMBER NINE – GERMANWINGS FLIGHT CRASHES INTO FRENCH ALPS
On March 24, Flight 9525, an Airbus A320-211 operated by low-cost carrier Germanwings crashes in the French Alps, killing all 150 on board. Andreas Lubitz, the co-pilot, is found responsible for the crash, having locked the pilot out of the cockpit. Dozens of medical practitioners had reviewed Lubitz’s mental health as unstable sparking reviews into airline policies for health assessments for commercial pilots. Several countries’ aviation authorities implement immediate policy changes requiring two authorised personnel to remain in the cockpit at all times during flights.
NUMBER EIGHT – PARTS FOUND FROM MH370 BOEING 777
On August 5, debris from the ill-fated Malaysia Airlines flight 370 washes up on Reunion Island. The right wing flaperon is verified as belonging to the Boeing 777. Its finding ends nearly eighteen months’ speculation and gives hope to the loved ones of the 239 who died on the flight.
NUMBER SEVEN – NEPAL EARTHQUATES
On April 25, a Magnitude 7.8 quake strikes Nepal, causing 8,857 deaths in Nepal, 130 in India, 27 in China, and 4 in Bangladesh; a total of 9,018 deaths. There is a subsequent quake on May 12 affecting the same area. This registers 7.3 on the Richter Scale and 218 further souls lose their lives.
NUMBER SIX – WATER ON MARS
On September 28, NASA confirms that liquid water has been found on planet Mars, but there are still many questions as to the planet’s habitability, especially regarding its atmosphere.
NUMBER FIVE – CLIMATE CHANGE CRISIS
On November 30, the 2015 United Nations Climate Control Conference (COP 21) commences, and it becomes the first of its kind where the major players take climate change seriously enough to innovate for action; a universally binding legal agreement, in an effort to keep global warming below 2o Celsius by the year 2100.
NUMBER FOUR – SAME-SEX MARRIAGE VOTE AND RULING
On May 23, Ireland votes to legalise same-sex marriage, becoming the first country to legalise same-sex marriage by popular vote. And on June 26, the Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS) rules in favour of gay marriage. The ramifications split many Western world countries with millions passionate on both sides of the debate.
NUMBER THREE – BOMBING OF RUSSIAN AIR FLIGHT
On October 31, Metrojet Flight KGL 9268, an Airbus A321 en route to Saint Petersburg breaks up mid-air over Egypt. Later it’s found that Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL terrorists)* have detonated a one kilogram bomb. 224 people were killed, 217 of which were passengers, and seven crew.
NUMBER TWO – GUN DEBATE IN THE U.S.
On December 2, the San Bernardino shootings bring the gun debate to fever pitch in the United States of America. Later this event is found to be an act of terrorism with links to radicalisation.
NUMBER ONE – PARIS ATTACKS
On November 13 Terrorist organisation Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL)* claimed responsibility, and the group of incidents results in around 132 fatalities. Even though there were other key world-significant events on the day (earthquake in Japan, Beirut bombings, bombings in Baghdad, etc) the Paris attacks represent the scale of planning akin to 9/11/2001 attacks on the United States of America.
Compared to previous years, 2015 would have to be classified as a year dominated by a higher than average number of very memorable terrorist events.
*It needs to be said that ISIL do not represent the vast majority of people of the Muslim religion.
© 2015 Steve Wickham.
If you’re interested in my analyses of previous years, here they are: