Ok, almost everyone chronicles the past year. On thing I like, is the one liner event history that figures on Wikipedia or the year round-up in the economist. But for me, the events come to mind at the top of my head at the end of the year, hold most consequence. Here's the roundup of things that defined the past year -
This year marked many things. It began with a bush fire in Australia and surprisingly ended with one in the same place as well - almost setting the tone for the fiery year in politics and the world ahead. Barack Obama became the 44th US President - after a well crafted, technologically and ideologically vibrant campaign. Although post election a number of factors have called into question the success of his presidency. Parleys on whether we were looking at a recession, or a depression, or whether countries like India were in a recession at all, occupied intellectual coffee table talks for a greater part of the year, while countries like Iceland collapsed, Dubai stared at sovereign default in the face, China boosted spending and India recorded 7.9% GDP growth.
Some things stayed staid, with a miscarriage of democracy in Iran and Afghanistan, which felt as though democratizing the Middle-East, an area famous for its tribal population suddenly were forced into something that they did not know how to handle! The Israel - Palestine conflicts continued. Zimbabwe saw the semblance of order with the power sharing deal to form a government, before a deadly car crash wounded the new President and killed his wife. The LTTE was finally defeated with the death of Prabhakaran, thus ending decades of civil war in Sri Lanka, opening a new can of worms related to human rights violations, displaced Tamils and alleged excesses by the Sri Lankan army. The Air France flight from Rio crashed into the middle of the Atlantic in one of the worst air crashes in history, killing all of 228 on board. The UNESCO launched the World Digital Library. Michael Jackson is gone - the music scene will never be the same ever again. This year also marked the 20 year anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall, which was much less the fall of an Iron Curtain, as it was the triumph of capitalism over communism.
Typhoons and hurricanes continued. India saw drought in the first half of the year followed by terrible floods in South India that almost wiped out portions of age-old villages. Climate change was becoming a reality and countries had to act really fast. Copenhagen came along, resulting in an eyewash of a climate treaty, which many hailed as at least a step in the right direction. Whether tangible benefits would come out of it, or whether the 'cold' war on who needs to blink first between the developed and the developing world would continue remains to be seen.
Sport faced several disgraceful moments with Lewis Hamilton and McLaren caught spying on Ferrari's technical documents, Flavio Briatore and Nelson Piquet Jr caught in crashgate, only to be topped by the great Tiger Woods proving he loved something more than the 18 holes of golf! Then again, the FedEx - Nadal duel got better, with Fed-Ex snatching sweet revenge thanks to an out of form Nadal. The Indian cricket scene never looked better, but the overdose of the willow implied that cricket now became almost akin to a 9-5 corporate job, with weekends off!! And then came the icing on the cake - the final and sure return of Michael Schumacher to competitive racing, thrilling several Schumi fans across the world.
2010 is not just a new year. It marks the start of a new decade. A decade that began with a promise post Y2K, saw the rise and fall of several governments, terrorism rise to its peak, economic crises of enormous proportions, a new Pope, an American President from a minority community, Saddam Hussein, Benazir Bhutto gone, shards of democracy in the middle east, strife in Pakistan, growth in the BRIC nations, the sudden rise and rise of China, the lost decade in Japan and a lottttt more. I could go on and on, but I'd perhaps reserve all that for another post. That said, hopes abound for 2010. Hope the economic downturn swings into an upturn. Hope there is peace in this world, with none of the disgruntled nations engaging in conflict. Hope that the blue moon that showed its face in India yesterday heralds a new beginning for everyone. Happy New Year everyone!