CAIRO – 25 November 2020: At the end of 2019, people were eager to welcome the year 2020, opting to feel optimistic and hoping for a fresh start with a brand new decade.
The year 2020 was not the most amazing year for many people. Since its early months, the world have been witnessing jaw-dropping events at a very rapid pace.
2020 welcomed the world with gushing hot lava coming out of a volcano in the Philippines after a sudden eruption of ash and steam pushed villagers to flee, and also caused Manila’s International Airport to close-down, in addition to schools and offices.
Also, terrifying fires engulfed in Australia, in a scene that frightened even the toughest among us.
The Australian flames were followed by the unfortunate incident of the Iranian regime shooting down the Ukrainian airliner PS752, killing all 176 passengers that were on board.
This occurred during a stretch of incidents that nearly brought Iran and the USA in a full-fledged war.
After the aforementioned unfortunate incidents, Coronavirus started to slowly creep around the world, like a predator looking for a prey.
The virus struck the whole world, and by early June, already claimed the lives of approximately 400,000 individuals worldwide.
Once the novel virus grasped the globe in its deadly grip, people were shocked to see their favorite politicians, celebrities, sports idols, family and friends fall victim to the highly contagious virus, losing many loved ones along the way.
Scenes of “muzzled” humans soon prevailed, as everyone rushed to buy the “best face-mask”, a commodity no one ever considered wearing in their everyday lives, and only saw during hospital visits as medical personnel rush in every direction. Suddenly it became a new fashion trend!
During the early days of the novel virus, hand sanitizers and other detergents were often out of stock in most convenient stores and pharmacies, something that never really happened before. Some even tried to make their own home-made detergents to counter that problem!
In my humble opinion, COVID-19 was an eye-opener, a wakeup call for humanity. It made people around the globe realize all the little things in life they once took for granted. It made many rethink their attitudes towards life and others. It made humans appreciate the smallest things in life, things that were once unnoticed. At least it made the rich and the poor … equal!
Moreover, India, the nation that boasts the democracy it possesses, witnessed unprecedented violence in the capital Delhi, provoked by a Hindu Nationalist rampage against helpless Muslims, ending the lives of 50 souls and leaving hundreds injured.
Mother nature also decided to take part in this shocking string of events when a devastating earthquake struck Turkey and the Caribbean.
In addition, East Africa witnessed a horrifying locust swarm outbreak, something that appeared to be out of a Hollywood movie.
At this point, people around the world probably wondered what else 2020 held in store? Many hoped that would be it. What worse could happen? However, they were wrong, including myself.
Renowned American basketball player Kobe Bryant and eight others passed away in a horrific airplane crash that could have been avoided.
This particular incident left millions of people around the globe heartbroken, even those who didn’t follow NBA but knew Bryant seeing him on TV growing up in the 80’s and 90’s, the good ole days.
In addition to Bryant's death, Argentinian football legend Maradona also passed away in 2020 aged 60.
Another heartbreaking event was the death of George Floyd, an African American who died under the racist knee of a white officer named Derek Chauvin, while grasping for air and screaming “I can’t breathe! Please I can’t breathe!”
The slow and brutal death of Floyd was filmed on a cellphone and soon after the video went viral globally on various social media platforms. Imagine being killed in such a merciless and sinister way over a claim of paying a store clerk using a counterfeit $20 bill.
Floyd’s demise caused social unrest in the USA, not just among the black community, but among all races that live in the “land of opportunities”.
Looting of stores, more murders, and arsons were filmed around the USA in scenes that many growing up in the 80’s and 90’s couldn’t imagine seeing around the American cities.
Numerous strikes unfolded nationwide, some were peaceful, others were not, as violence sparked between the police and some protesters.
Protests did not only break out in the USA, but in fact, in tens of cities worldwide. Protesters held slogans with the infamous quote “I can’t breathe!” and pictures of Floyd, expressing sympathy to his person, to the African Americans and other minorities in the USA, and refusing racism.
Did 2020 stop there? No.
Soon after, the world woke up to news of china choking Hong Kong with a controversial legislation, that many found un-called for and can only cause more misery to the people of the once thriving nation.
By August, Lebanon woke up to a blast that many thought was an atomic bomb. Yes, it was excruciating. The explosion caused several fatalities, causalities and damaged a large portion of the country’s capital, Beirut.
A huge amount of ammonium nitrate stored at the port of Beirut, exploded. This caused at least 204 fatalities, 6,500 casualties, and property damage amounting to approximately US$15 billion.
300,000 people were left homeless.
The blast came after a series of strikes that broke out around the already burdened country calling for social and economic reforms.
Furthermore, the French President Emanuel Macron caused strikes to break out in some Arab and Muslim countries refusing his claims of freedom of expression that allow profane caricatures of the Prophet of Islam Mohammed to be freely displayed in France and be taught to children in schools under the umbrella of “Freedom of Expression”.
The people of many Muslim and Arab nations called for boycotting French products as a retaliation for Macron’s unfathomable actions towards Islam. Maybe he was looking for a scapegoat for his political gains?
Last but not least, I could not end this depressing article without mentioning the explosion that occurred in a gas processing plant in a suburb in Lagos, Nigeria's commercial capital, after a fire broke out.
The explosion left approximately 15 people dead, many injured, and destroyed multiple buildings in the area.
I am pretty sure I forgot to mention other shocking incidents that took place during the sad year of 2020, but now as the world is heading towards December, let us all raise our palms to the sky, asking the Lord for a better year in 2021!