This New Year marks the end of a decade and the beginning of the roaring twenties for Gen Z kids and Millennials. A lot has happened in the last ten years, so let’s look at the high-and-low-lights from every year.
The Burj Khalifa
The tallest building in the world, the Burj Khalifa, opened, towering over Dubai at almost 3000 feet. Construction of the Burj Khalifa began in 2004, with the exterior completed five years later in 2009. The building was opened as part of a new development called Downtown Dubai. The decision to construct the building is based on the government’s decision to diversify from an oil-based economy, and for Dubai to gain international recognition. The building was originally named Burj Dubai but was renamed in honour of the ruler of Abu Dhabi and president of the United Arab Emirates, Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan. The building broke numerous height records, including its designation as the tallest building in the world.
In mid-January, Haiti was struck with a devastating 7.0 magnitude earthquake that killed roughly 160 000 people. Haiti was already the poorest country in the West when the earthquake struck, and the economy took a hit. The Haitian government said around 250,000 residences and 30,000 commercial buildings were levelled in the quake, which significantly worsened already poor housing conditions in the country.
A major international rescue effort began shortly after the earthquake but was hampered by poor communication and damaged facilities. On January 22nd the United Nations ended the emergency phase of relief and on 23 January the Haitian government ended the search for survivors.
The 2010 Olympics were hosted in Vancouver and began on February second. This sparked an epidemic of Olympic merchandise to hit the stores, featuring the Canadian made mascots and logos.
Miga and Quatchi are mascots for the 2010 Winter Olympics, while Sumi is the mascot for the 2010 Winter Paralympics. Aside from three mascots, Mukmuk is their designated sidekick. These four appeared on gloves, hats, shirts and so on, and even had their own plushies.
The Royal Canadian Mint also released collectors coins featuring famous Canadian symbols and icons such as geese, hockey players, and an inuksuk.
Two days after the beginning ceremonies, Alexandre Bilodeau wins the Gold Medal in the freestyle skiing men’s moguls event, becoming the first Canadian to win a Gold Medal during a Canadian-hosted Olympics
California’s Progressive Bill Overturned
Governor of California and the Terminator himself Arnold Schwarzenegger himself passed a bill in 2008 prohibiting same-sex marriage. This bill was overturned in 2010 by Judge Vaughn Walker in the case Perry v. Schwarzenegger
The “Don’t Ask Don’t Tell” 17-year-old policy banning homosexuals serving openly in the US military, was repealed, signed into law by President Barack Obama
Japan’s Worst Nightmare
On March 11th, a 9.0 magnitude earthquake strikes 130 km (80 miles) east of Sendai, Japan, triggering a tsunami killing thousands of people and causing the second-worst nuclear accident in history at Fukushima nuclear plant. A reactor at the power plant melted and exploded and released radioactivity into the atmosphere a day after this earthquake.
Osama Bin Laden’s Death
On May 2nd, the suspected mastermind behind the September 11 attacks and the FBI’s most wanted man, Osama bin Laden, is killed by US special forces in Abbottabad, Pakistan
According to the Mayan calendar, the world ended. From here on, everything is pure speculation.
Nothing decade-defining really happened in 2013, except a lot of people died. Almost half a million. Probably because the world ended.
Other than that, 2013 was probably one of the worst years for musical internet phenomenons. In February, the Harlem shake went viral, causing hundreds of people to perform the barbaric dance in the weirdest way possible, each video more elaborate than the last. There was a song that went with it too, consisting of the words “Let me do the Harlem Shake”, followed by a series of unnecessary bass drops and people shimmying. Needless to say, it was horrible.
Following that in April, the Cup Song from Pitch Perfect sent another internet wave and swept the nation of thirteen-year-old white girls. A simple beat played on a cup became a routine that almost every one memorized, and turned into the pinnacle of roundtrip karaoke. Every time someone puts a cup down on the counter I shiver a little bit.
Finally, in September “What Does the Fox Say” took over the internet. Essentially, it was just a guy in a fursuit who was really confused about what noise a fox makes, so he made a song about it, including some pretty astounding sound effects. If you haven’t seen it and you feel like experiencing a good second-hand embarrassment, I highly recommend watching it.
Star of Juno, the Umbrella Academy, Inception, and much more, Ellen Page is one of Hollywood’s greatest B-list celebrities, but her fame took a hit in 2014 when she came out as gay on Valentine’s day. The national usage of the name ‘Ellen’ dropped that year, much like when Ellen DeGenerous came out in 1997.
Flight MH370 Disappears
With a total of 239 people on board, Malaysian flight 370 loses contact and disappears, prompting what of the most extensive and costly searches in history. It is still a mystery what happened to the plane and the 239 people that were in it.
Recovery of 9/11
New York’s 104-storey One World Trade Center officially opens 13 years after the September 11 attacks.
On the morning of September 11, 2001, al-Qaeda terrorists hijacked four aircraft over the skies of America and flew them into the Twin Towers in New York City, the Pentagon in Virginia and crashed a fourth in rural Pennsylvania after passengers on board revolted.
The attacks shocked the world. It remains the deadliest terrorist incident in history – almost 3,000 people died – and caused billions in damage, as well as the destruction of the entire World Trade Center after the Twin Towers collapsed.
In response the US launched the War on Terror, invading Afghanistan and hunting down Osama bin Laden, who was eventually found and killed in Pakistan in 2011.
2015 was the year when three important political announced they would be running for the position of 45th President of America. Bernie Sanders was eliminated in the first round of voting despite his liberal and all-inclusive ideals, leaving Hilary Clinton and Donald Trump in the running. Throughout the counting of the votes, Clinton was in the lead, until the last moment when the electoral college swooped in and put Trump ahead. We all know of the catastrophes that ensued until recently when House Representative Nancy Pelosi decided for Trump to be impeached. Now, thanks to that guy assassinating a top general in Iran for no reason at all, we’re now on the brink of war. So that’s cool.
This is another time in which the internet went absolutely psycho over something that held almost no weight in reality. The Dress is just that, a dress, but for some unknown reason, there was a heated debate on which colours the dress was; black and blue or tan and white? I see tan and white and I don’t really know anything else could be seen, but the debate went on for weeks and it was even featured as a character in the tap-and-go game of Crossy Road.
Human Rights Were Given
In June of 2015, same-sex marriage was legalized in America. It was a proud moment for the country that liberated the millions of oppressed people on the LGBTQ+ spectrum. It was a long fight to get there, and it hasn’t stopped yet, but slowly it’s getting better.
El Chapo Finally Recaptured
On January 8th of 2016, Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto announces the recapture of drug lord Joaquín “El Chapo” Guzmán, six months after he escaped prison
The Fall of Multiple Legends
After an 18-Month battle with cancer, rock legend David Bowie passed away on January 10th at the age of 69. Four days later, Alan Rickman died from the same cause at the same age. Following them in June, boxing icon Muhammad Ali died at the age of 74. Singer/songwriter Leonard Cohen died November 7 at the age of 82. Just days before the end of the year, Star Wars actress Carrie Fisher died at the age of 60 from a heart attack, and her mother died no more than 24 hours after from a stroke.
On June twelfth, a gunman opened fire at the Pulse gay nightclub in Orlando, Florida, killing 49 and injuring 53. This was named the worst mass shooting in the US. Please read their names and remember them.
- Stanley Almodovar III, 23
- Amanda Alvear, 25
- Oscar A. Aracena-Montero, 26
- Rodolfo Ayala-Ayala, 33
- Alejandro Barrios Martinez, 21
- Martin Benitez Torres, 33
- Antonio D. Brown, 30
- Darryl R. Burt II, 29
- Jonathan A. Camuy Vega, 24
- Angel L. Candelario-Padro, 28
- Simon A. Carrillo Fernandez, 31
- Juan Chevez-Martinez, 25
- Luis D. Conde, 39
- Cory J. Connell, 21
- Tevin E. Crosby, 25
- Franky J. Dejesus Velazquez, 50
- Deonka D. Drayton, 32
- Mercedez M. Flores, 26
- Peter O. Gonzalez-Cruz, 22
- Juan R. Guerrero, 22
- Paul T. Henry, 41
- Frank Hernandez, 27
- Miguel A. Honorato, 30
- Javier Jorge-Reyes, 40
- Jason B. Josaphat, 19
- Eddie J. Justice, 30
- Anthony L. Laureano Disla, 25
- Christopher A. Leinonen, 32
- Brenda L. Marquez McCool, 49
- Jean C. Mendez Perez, 35
- Akyra Monet Murray, 18
- Kimberly Morris, 37
- Jean C. Nieves Rodriguez, 27
- Luis O. Ocasio-Capo, 20
- Geraldo A. Ortiz-Jimenez, 25
- Eric Ivan Ortiz-Rivera, 36
- Joel Rayon Paniagua, 32
- Enrique L. Rios Jr., 25
- Juan P. Rivera Velazquez, 37
- Yilmary Rodriguez Solivan, 24
- Christopher J. Sanfeliz, 24
- Xavier Emmanuel Serrano Rosado, 35
- Gilberto Ramon Silva Menendez, 25
- Edward Sotomayor Jr., 34
- Shane E. Tomlinson, 33
- Leroy Valentin Fernandez, 25
- Luis S. Vielma, 22
- Luis Daniel Wilson-Leon, 37
- Jerald A. Wright, 31
45th President is Elected
As I said earlier, Trump won the 2016 election at the last minute, leaving millions up people to wake up to the news that a racist, sexist, and homophobic Cheeto was now their president. It gets much, much worse from then on, but we’ll get into that later.
The Trump Affect
We kicked off seventeen with the inauguration of Donald Trump as America’s 45th president. He said in an episode of 60 MInutes after long-discussed Twitter tendencies, “I’m going to be very restrained, if I use [Twitter] at all, I’m going to be very restrained,”. Then, without context, he tweeted the simple seven-letter word that made the nation lose its mind; “Covfefe”. Still don’t know what’s up with that.
Not only did he continue with his ridiculous tweets, but he started his reign as president by issuing an executive order banning travel to the US for 7 mostly Muslim countries and suspending admission for refugees. He then fired Attorney General Sally Yates after she instructed the Justice Department officials not to defend Trump’s travel ban. In March, he signed his second executive order barring travellers from 6 mostly-Muslim countries for 90 days, but leaves out Iraq this time.
One day after his inauguration, hundreds of thousands of people descended on Washington, D.C. for the Women’s March, and many more took to the streets in cities across all 50 states as well as dozens of countries abroad. Washington was a sea of pink that day. Many marchers wore pink “p***y hats,” designed to reclaim the president’s vulgar use of the term on the 2005 Access Hollywood tape where he said, “grab her by the py, you can do anything”. While organizers said the day was not about being anti-Trump, critics felt it excluded conservative women and would lead to little positive change. But for one day at least, the turnout was a massive show of solidarity among women and men across the globe.
Shocking reports from the New York Times and the New Yorker revealed allegations of Hervey Weinstein’s sexual misconduct in Hollywood. Although he inevitably has denied these allegations, dozens of women have accused the producer of sexual harassment and assault. The revelations revealed a deeply rooted problem in Hollywood and beyond of men using their power and influence to take advantage of women. As more women felt empowered to come forward, more prominent men lost their jobs — including actor Kevin Spacey, director Woody Allen, comedian Louis C.K.; journalists Charlie Rose and Matt Lauer; and politicians Al Franken and John Conyers. This sparked an ongoing national conversation about sexual misconduct and power dynamics in the workplace. The hashtag #MeToo went viral as millions of people took to social media to share their experiences.
James Comey’s firing and testimony
The former FBI director was fired in May after months of investigating possible Russia connections. It was an unprecedented drama with hidden political motives that left many questioning the president’s reasoning. The White House’s first explanation was a letter from deputy attorney general Rod Rosenstein saying Comey had poorly handled the probe into Hillary Clinton’s emails. Trump then undermined that argument by telling NBC’s Lester Holt that he’d planned to fire Comey all along, and he “had the Russia thing” on his mind when he did it.
In August, groups of neo-Nazis and white supremacists gathered in Charlottesville, Virginia to protest the removal of a statue of Robert E. Lee from a park at the University of Virginia. The night of the eleventh, hundreds of men marched through the school’s grounds with tiki torches chanting phrases like “Jews will not replace us” and the Nazi slogan, “blood and soil.” The next day, the supremacist groups clashed violently with anti-fascists and counter-protesters. Police called off the event, and as protesters left the scene a white supremacist drove a car into the crowd, injuring dozens and killing a peaceful protester named Heather Heyer.
Mass Shooting in Vegas
On October 1st, the country was horrified by the news of 58 people shot dead at an outdoor country music festival in Las Vegas, Nevada. The gunman rained thousands of bullets down on the unsuspecting crowd from his perch on the 32nd floor of the Mandalay Bay hotel. He was found dead from a self-inflicted gunshot wound, surrounded by an arsenal of weapons. This became the U.S.’ deadliest mass shooting, exceeding Pulse by 9 lost.
Canada’s Newest Serial Killer
In January, landscaper Bruce McArthur was arrested for murder after the remains of at least five people found in potted plants at houses he worked on. McArthur pleaded guilty to eight counts of first-degree murder for the deaths of eight men between 2010 and 2017. Most of the victims, as well as McArthur himself, had deep ties to Toronto’s Gay Village neighbourhood.
In May, Actress Meghan Markle and Prince Harry married. This particular wedding sparked a lot of controversy, primarily because of her African-American decent and humble beginnings.
The famous Bansky painting titled “Girl with Balloon” is sold in an auction for 1.4 million, but as soon as the gavel hits the podium signifying the sale, the painting began to self-destruct, automatically shredding itself in a machine built into the frame. The anonymous artist is known for creating satirical and subversive political art, and by shredding the painting, he essentially turned the auction itself into a work of art, quoting Picasso in an Instagram post: “the urge to destroy is also a creative urge.”
The Christchurch Attack
At least 50 people were killed and 50 more wounded after a gunman opened fire at the Al Noor Mosque and Linwood Islamic Centre in Christchurch. The assailant, later identified as Australian citizen Brenton Harrison Tarrant, was arrested and charged with murder. Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern described the attacks as “one of New Zealand’s darkest days,” and the country passed a sweeping ban on semi-automatics and assault rifles six days later. Since then, there have been no reported mass shootings in Australia, unlike the U.S. which saw 397 in 2019 alone. This makes me wonder how many lives could have been saved in the U.S. that year if gun control was treated there like it was in New Zealand.
The Fires Of North and South
On April fifteenth, the iconic cathedral in France caught flames, causing a large part of the structure to be destroyed. Billionaires around the world jump at the chance to donate money that would rebuild the cathedral, while the Amazon Rainforest was suffering from a slash-and-burn to deforest for the purpose of commercial agriculture around the same time. The reaction among the less powerful- middle-classers, Gen Zs, Millenials, so on- was frantic as we tried to raise money and awareness for the forest and the indigenous people inside it, the more powerful and world leaders turned the other cheek. This was another dark moment in 2019.
The Fall of ISIS
On October 26th, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, leader of Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, detonates a suicide vest after being cornered by US special forces and dies at 48, along with his children. See https://thefjord.ca/2019/11/13/the-fall-of-isis/ for more information.
As of now, it’s almost five days in, and a lot has happened already.
Just after midnight on the third of January, Trump ordered an airstrike that killed the Iranian General Qassem Soleimani in Baghdad, a man he said was “plotting imminent and sinister attacks” against Americans in the region.
Later, he speaks to reporters, defending his decision to order the killing of Soleimani. “If Americans anywhere are threatened, we have all of those targets already fully identified, and I am ready and prepared to take whatever action is necessary. And that, in particular, refers to Iran.” Meanwhile, leading figures in Iran vowed revenge and demonstrators in Iran, Iraq and elsewhere condemned the attack. Big questions remain, including how Iran could retaliate and what Trump’s broader plan is in the Middle East. Many are contemplating and preparing for the possibility of a third world war, as the first was started in the same fashion; the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand in 1914. Iran issued a three-day mourning period, after which they vowed to retaliate. According to CP24 News, Iran’s leaders already have a plan on how, but this plan remains a secret.
Let’s all hope we don’t start this decade with a war, and instead with peace and prosperity. Fingers crossed.