A JOURNEY THROUGH 2015

 

And so the end is near, or so the song runs, but the days are slipping past as 2015 wanders off to leave the stage for 2016 to arrive

 

Sadly, we started in Paris with the January 2015 attack and the murder of nine journalists by Islamic fanatics at the offices of Charlie Hebdo ( a French weekly satirical magazine). In total 12 people lost their lives. The loss of the journalists made France the second most dangerous in the world for reporters in 2015. Only Syria, where 13 lost their lives in the last 12 months, outscored France. Across the world 69 journalists were lost doing their work, an increase on the 61 who lost their lives in 2014.

 

By February a ceasefire had been brokered in Ukraine with leaders from Russia, Ukraine, France and Germany agreeing to a ceasefire. Called the Minsk agreement it was signed on February 11, 2015, but the Ukraine and Pro-Russian militias were soon fighting each other again.

 

In March Islamic State pushed on through Iraq destroying ancient sites at Nimrud and Hatra. In April another Islamic militia called Al-Shabaab killed 148 at Garrisa University College in Kenya.

 

As summer arrived the Republic of Ireland became the first country in the world to democratically vote for legalized same sex marriage. This good news was followed in June by the resignation of the world's top snake oil salesman Sepp Blatter as FIFA was swamped by an FBI -led probe into its activities, some allegedly corrupt. By the end of June Islamic State were in Kobani, Syria where 220 were massacred as the group detonated three car bombs and opened fire on civilians.

 

For the wrong reasons July 1 2015 went down in history as the first time a nation had missed a debt repayment to the International Monetary Fund in its 71 year history. Greece, of course, were the culprits strangled by debt repayments and austerity the country floundered on the rocks of late capitalism.

 

Wreckage found on Reunion Island in August was confirmed as coming from the downed Malaysian flight 370, missing since March 2014. Meanwhile, German car giant Volkswagon ate humble pie in September after being caught fixing diesel emission tests covering over 10 million cars worldwide.

 

Another air disaster hit the headlines at the end of October when an Airbus A321 en route to Saint Petersburg, Russia from Sharm el-Sheikh, Egypt crashed killing 217 passengers and 7 crew. The year, however, was destined to end in outrage when terrorists once again struck at Paris, killing 130.

 

On December 12, and once again in Paris,a climate change pact was agreed at the COP21 summit where, for the first time, all countries agreed to reduce carbon emissions.

 

So we trek into 2016 with the horrors of 2015 still very much alive in the memory but with the hope that, at last, a real and ordered effort will be made to halt the disastrous consequences of climate change. No one, of course, can tell what 2016 might bring, and if Paris was the main focal point for the history of 2015, I, for one, would like to think economic change, political hope and #Military #Peace will be the touchstones of 2016 #Conflict