What is coming to an end was a decade in chiaroscuro, characterised by great upheavals, small awarenesses and very complex dynamics, on which it would be difficult to immediately formulate a clear judgement.
Ten years in which we talked a lot about social networks (as well as social networks) and their centrality in the democratic process, using abused words to try to express new concepts. Ten years in which we have rediscovered old fractures – one above all that between the people and the elite – but also new ways of being together, which perhaps will come in handy in the coming decade. Ten years of fundamental plots, of games closed forever and hopes just sketched, starting from the renewed sensitivity on the climate crisis that brought the boys of Friday For Future to the streets . Ten years of funeral – some very painful , others celebrated worldwide – of births, rebirths and consecrations.
Ten years like any other, in short, but marked by particularly intense moments, which are worth putting together and remembering through the expressive power of the images that accompanied our Ten years.
A confusing video, taken from an American Army Apache helicopter during a raid on alleged terrorists, who later turned out to be Iraqi civilians and Reuters journalists . It is with Collateral Murder that in 2010 we learned about WikiLeaks, the international organisation that for over a decade has been dealing with publishing and disseminating confidential information of public interest.
At the time of publication, the video caused a huge sensation around the work of the American army, making WikiLeaks and its founder, Julian Assange, real symbols of free information. Over time, the organisation’s public image suffered a series of severe blows and recently ended in the American investigation into Russiagate, on charges of having published tens of thousands of Hillary Clinton’s mailbox emails on behalf of the government. Russian.
9. We photographed a black hole
On Wednesday April 10, 2019, the world was left in suspense for the first ever image of a black hole ever produced . Technically this is not a real photograph – also because it would be impossible to obtain photographic images of a celestial body that by its nature absorbs the light itself – but a graphic elaboration of radio data observed by the consortium of Event Horizon telescopes.
In any case, our protagonist is a super massive black hole located in the Messier 87 galaxy (or Virgo A, there is still no official name), 55 million light years away from the earth . Despite being a reconstruction, the image has already been renamed the photo of the century and represents a huge step forward in our knowledge of one of the most mysterious objects in the universe.
8. Obama and the end of the Cuban crisis
“From today, relations between the American and Cuban people are changing. A new chapter opens in the history of the Americas ”. So on 17 December 2014 the then President of the United States Barack Obama announced the historic reopening of relations with Havana, 53 years after the crisis triggered by the revolution of Fidel Castro.
Like so many of the dynamics that took place during the decade, the impetus for that significant diplomatic progress was however destined to clash with the rise of Donald Trump, who in May of this year restored the bloqueo, the embargo against Cuba that over time has become the symbol of the incommunicability between two pieces of the world so close, yet hopelessly distant.
7. The era of the two popes
Although over the years we have stopped paying attention to it, what we live in has been a rather particular time for the papal throne. For the first time in nearly 600 years , in fact, on February 28, 2013 the highest representative of the Catholic Church pronounced the formula of renunciation of the Petrine ministry, leaving the position in the hands of a successor, while still being alive.
From the first moment, the decision of Benedict XVI seemed destined to shake the foundations of the Church, but few could have imagined that his successor, Jorge Bergoglio , on that action of rupture would have built up the entire address of his pontificate.
6. The genocide of the Rohingya
One of the most dramatic pages of the decade running out was undoubtedly the persecution of the Muslim minority in Burma.
It is estimated that since the violence began in August 2017, more than 740,000 people from the Rohingya ethnic minority have been forced to leave the country due to a brutal systematic elimination campaign carried out by the Burmese army. Reports drawn up by humanitarian organisations speak of killed civilians – at least 6700 according to Doctors without Borders – and entire villages set on fire , an operation that the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra’ad al-Hussein has called ” An example of an ethnic cleansing school” .
Last December the International Criminal Court, on mandate from the 57 member states of the Islamic Cooperation Organisation, approved the opening of an investigation to ascertain the existence of crimes against humanity committed in Myanmar. The leadership of the Burmese delegation was taken over by Aung San Suu Kyi , Nobel Peace Prize winner in 1991, who today is against the genocide hypothesis.
5. The massacres of fanaticism
The decade’s will unfortunately be remembered as those of the blood shed in the name of fanaticism , racial and religious hatred.
Much of the decade was monopolised by the violence and terror generated by ISIS , the Islamist-style terrorist organisation that on 29 June 2014 proclaimed the restoration of the Islamic caliphate . With a series of bloody attacks, the al-Baghdadi creature imposed its agenda of terror with the ultimate goal of compacting Islam and bringing it together under the black flag. A political design that today we can define as bankruptcy, but which has left irremediable wounds at every latitude of the globe.
The apex of the supremacist horror arrives in 2019 in Christchurch, New Zealand, with the assassination of 49 people of Islamic faith broadcast live on Facebook by Brenton Tarrant , a regular visitor to online environments linked to the far right.
The reasons for the crazy gesture are illustrated in a detailed 87-page poster published on 8chan , containing references to the racist theory of ethnic substitution and various catchphrases used by the alt-right, as well as the explicit reference to Anders Breivik and Luca Traini . Traits and ideologies similar to those of Tarrant will also be found in the attacks by El Paso and Halle , the other racially motivated actions that took place in 2019.
4. The economic crisis of Greece
When at the end of 2009 the government led by George Papandreou revealed to the world the real amount of Greek public debt – not around 3% of GDP, as assured by the previous executive, but above 16% – nobody could imagine the weight that those numbers they would have had on the balance of the whole continent.
Ten years after the start of the crisis, the echo of those days has not yet completely died down. Not for Greece, which has returned to growth after the dark years of austerity, but still gripped by the repayment plan of a debt that has now risen to 100 billion euros . But above all not for the European project, which in that crisis discovered all the limits of a model capable of calling into question its very existence.
3. ” How dare you? “
With her 16 years and eleven months, Greta Thunberg is surely the youngest protagonist of a conspiracy theory ever formulated on Twitter. Among his many collateral records, however, since September 23 of this year the activist symbol of the fight against global warming can also boast a participation in the United Nations climate summit.
With a very harsh speech , given in front of 60 heads of state and government , Greta Thunberg stressed the need for greater political commitment on the issue of the climate crisis, accusing world leaders of underestimating the problem and the demands of a whole generation . The video of the intervention was widely shared on the internet, particularly in the passage of the “how dare you” in which Thunberg is taking it too far from the problems of young people ( “You come to us young people and talk to us about hope? How have you stolen my dreams and childhood with your empty words “).
Among the big absentees of the summit was of course the President of the United States Donald Trump , engaged at the same time in a meeting on religious freedom. The fortuitous cross between Trump and Thunberg, which immediately went viral, perfectly sums up the leitmotiv of the year that is about to end.
2. Trump’s America
The night of November 8, 2016 will forever be remembered as a watershed in recent American history. The one in which Donald John Trump , entrepreneur and television personality, overturning all the predictions of the eve, became the forty-fifth tenant of the White House.
Much has been said and written about the influence – not only political – exerted by Trump in this part of the century, as well as many analyses aimed at understanding its success. What is certain is that the new decade will open with an unequivocal judgement on its legacy and only the 2020 presidential elections will help us understand if the next one will be another decade in the sign of Trump.
1. The Arab springs
Freedom, you know, is a contagious process. At some point in the story it starts somewhere, somehow, and in the end nobody can do without it.
This particular afflatus of freedom takes hold of a tragic story, from the extreme gesture of Mohamed Bouazizi , a Tunisian fruit seller who on December 17, 2010 decided to set himself on fire to report the police violence. Then, just like in a domino, the riots spread like wildfire, reaching to involve, among others, the governments of Libya , Syria , Egypt , Tunisia and Yemen . Today we know that not all Arab springs have achieved the desired results and that even in the places where the riots seemed to have taken root – as in Egypt – the authoritarian backlash was not painless .
In spite of everything, that wind of change that started from North Africa has triggered a series of events that are still central to our current affairs and with its fluctuating trend perfectly represents a decade in chiaroscuro.