Twenty Fifteen: The Year of the Mirror
What 2015 Showed Humankind About Our History and Actions
The first day after a holiday break is always depressing for students in high school. One of the most annoying nuisances of a new year is changing the date on every single worksheet. Luckily for us this year, a mistakenly written “2015” is very easily modified to display “2016”. Although a new year always brings change and renewed inspiration, it’s vital for one to also reflect on the events of the past year and focus some of that newfound inspiration towards fixing the problems of the past.
This year, in one word, was astonishing. Sometimes, it meant that humankind surprised us in the best of ways, showing us how kind and amazing our intellects can be when put to the right causes; other times, it meant that we took a step back in the trek to world peace and prosperity.
To start with the more positive, the technological advances this year have propelled us even higher than previously known to be possible. Elon Musk’s company, SpaceX, was able to showcase the first vertical landing of a spacecraft ever. On a more Earthly note, Google was able to test out its self-driving car in the San Fransisco area. In addition to the new gadgets and innovations created, humans have also made significant progress in social matters. The percentage of people living in extreme poverty fell below 10% for the first time in human history. Canada’s government is in alliance with the Aga Khan Development Network and the Aga Khan Foundation with the goal to alleviate extreme poverty by 2030. Movements towards racial equality have also made great strides. Black Lives Matter movement leaders met with Democratic nominees Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders to address the racial profiling and unfair treatment of minorities in the United States. Egalitarian activists have also furthered their cause through the UN Women’s HeForShe movement run by Emma Watson. Same-sex marriage was legalized in the United States, leading to extreme controversy, yet global relief, on the topic. The road to equal pay and equal treatment for all genders and races is slowly, yet surely, getting shorter.
However, while it is great to appreciate and give thanks for the best of human actions, it is equally beneficial to reflect on the mistakes and tragedies of the past year. There have been more mass shooting and deaths as a result of these events this year than ever before. The amount of times the president has had to address gun violence has left even international leaders speechless. More racial discrimination and gender inequality has come out of the shadows to show our species that we haven’t fixed the most basic problems with any society: unity. People like Ahmed Mohammed were discriminated against because they tried to show off their passions and curiosity. If anything, 2015 has seen the worst of humankind. There are two responses to this type of threat: motivation or ignorance. Some people will be even more motivated to make a change in the world while the others will reject all of it and continue to live as if the problems will go away with violence.
If 2015 has expressed anything, it’s that there are a lot of improvements that need to be made with world leaders, institutions, and organizations. And unlike changing the date on math worksheets, fixing societal scars will not be easy in 2016. Unity and common consensus on human decency is what will fix these problems, and that means all of humankind.
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