Tanpa kita sedari masa berlalu begitu pantas..Tahun 2011 bakal melabuhkan tirai tidak lama lagi..Pelbagai peristiwa suka dan duka, pahit dan manis telah berlaku di sepanjang tahun ini..Artikel berikut yang dipetik daripada akhbar The Star, sedikit sebanyak dapat memberikan gambaran kepada kita tentang peristiwa-peristiwa yang telah berlaku di sekeliling kita sepanjang tahun 2011...
ANOTHER year’s done, another year has come around, hasn’t it? Except 2011 wasn’t just any old year. It has been a cataclysmic one, from the quakes and tsunami that rocked Japan in March, to the political upheavals in the Arab world that saw the masses take to the streets.
|A tsunami wave crashes over a street in Miyako City, Iwate Prefecture, in northeastern Japan on March 11.|
Japan’s triple whammy of earthquake, tsunami and nuclear disaster in March showed the unpredictability of Mother Nature as well as humanity’s folly in the face of danger. Some 16,000 people were thought to have been killed and damages have been estimated at US$300bil (RM900bil), but most shocking of all was the nightmare unleashed at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant, which – believe it or not – was built in an area prone to tsunamis.
|Fukushima Daiichi disaster|
There had been hopes that Japan’s second misfortune with nuclear power would signal the end of nuclear plants, but this proved misplaced. While Germany, Japan and a handful of countries are rejecting or reconsidering their commitments to nuclear power, the US, Russia, India, Brazil, and a host of developing countries are still keen to go nuclear.
Elsewhere and everywhere, Thailand being the most prominent example, erratic weather patterns and climate change continue to cast a shadow on the world.
|Cars submerged in floodwaters at a Honda car factory outside Ayutthaya on October 11, 2011.|
On the political front, the Middle-East was at the forefront. The Arab Spring began innocuously enough in January as a spontaneous show of anger in Tunisia over bureaucratic high-handedness but quickly turned into one of the most astonishing uprisings in modern history.
By year’s end, the Arab Spring had swept away Tunisian prime minister Zine El Abidine Ben Ali (24 years in power), Egypt’s Hosni Mubarak (almost 30 years), Yemen’s President Ali Abdullah Saleh (almost 33 years), and sparked protests in Bahrain, Algeria, Syria, Morroco and more.
Libya’s Muammar Gaddafi, too, fell – and to a particularly vicious fate, after protests turned into armed insurgency, with NATO and the US stepping in with air raids, financial assistance and sanctions.
Gaddafi’s dead body was stored in a refrigerator at Misrata laid down in a cheap mattress. Muammar Gaddafi was killed last October 20, 2011 in his own hometown on the Mediterranean coast of Sirte, in the country of Libya after a 42 year long reign as an autocratic leader.
And speaking of fallen dictators, North Korea’s Kim Jong-il met his Maker this December, paving way for the third generation of the Kim family, youngest son Jong-un, to take over. The succession so far has been smooth but the question of what policies the Hermit Kingdom might now pursue is anybody’s guess.
|Kim Il Jong funeral|
On the home front, thousands of Malaysian converged on Kuala Lumpur on July 9 for the Bersih 2.0 rally to push for electoral reform. They were met with tear gas, water cannons and arrests, but the movement led by former Bar Council president Ambiga Sreenevasan won a moral victory. The Election Commission is now considering some of its proposals.
Then the Occupy movement began in the US with Occupy Wall Street on Sept 17, protesting against economic and social inequality (“We are the 99%”), later spreading across the US and even overseas. These appear to be a response to the widespread unemployment, the shenanigans on Wall Street and the increasing disenchantment with Barack Obama.
Certainly, there is the sense that the American Dream is unraveling, and funnily enough, Americans are discovering that protests are about as welcome in the Land of the Free as they are in the Middle-East. As the War on Terror winds down, many of the policies from the Bush era have been retained by Obama. Guantanamo is still around. American troops are still in Afghanistan.
Indeed, Obama has maintained that as president he has the right to order the assassination of an American deemed to be working with terrorists. He has also indicated that he would sign the Levin/McCain detention bill which mandates that all accused terrorists – including Americans – be indefinitely imprisoned by the military rather than be charged in a civilian court.
Europe meanwhile continues to be racked by a debt crisis that threatens to tear apart the European Union as Western leadership in economic matters continue to take a battering, following the Great Recession of 2008. That Europe, a collection of rich, developed countries, had to beg China, still very much a developing country, for financial assistance surely gives pause for thought as to how the world is changing in this new century.
As the events of 2011 reverberates into the new year, 2012 is going to be interesting. And that’s not counting what the doomsday enthusiasts are predicting.