History tells us that the year 1968 was not a good one for the planet Earth. It started off with the war in Vietnam intensifying and American public support for the war declining, the Civil Rights Movement across America was getting bloodier with more riots and unrest, Martin Luther King Jr and Robert Kennedy were killed by assassin’s bullets, the Danube Invasion saw five Warsaw Pact nations attack Czechoslovakia, and in the UK the women sewing machinist’s strike at the Ford Factory in Dagenham started the crusade of the Equal Pay Act. And yet in 1968 there was also some good out of the chaos. Boeing unveiled the 747 Jumbo Jet airliner, Mexico became the first Latino country to host the Olympic Games, Stanley Kubrick’s cinematic masterpiece 2001: A Space Odyssey was released and as one woman wrote to NASA that they ‘Saved 1968’ when Apollo 8 became the first human mission to orbit the Moon.
This post is my summary of 2020: The year of the Covid-19 Pandemic and Civil Unrest. What has this year been mired by in good and bad fortune. It’s an interesting but turbulent year in itself that future historians will want to read about in the future so here is how I lived it.
The year started with a sense of optimism and joy for me as it was the beginning of the 2020s. I wondered what this decade would bring to the world, as well as the year. Little did I know that every plan and ambition that I had for this year would be disrupted by international events. First there was the announcement from the World Health Organisation of a new Coronavirus coming from Wuhan Province, China on New Years Eve. At first I didn’t think much of it, I was active about my goals for the year with the Conservative Party. We had just won the general election three weeks ago with an 80 seat majority.
January: Over in Australia a series of bushfires were ravaging across the country creating devastation across the outback and incinerating ecosystems. Over 500 million animals died and thousands of acres of forests were reduced to ash. This was known as Black Summer and a state of emergency was declared. The droughts that were affecting the country meant the fire services couldn’t get enough water to tackle the fire. It was only when a storm surge came that the fires were finally put out. Later that month a high ranking Iranian general Qasem Soleimani was killed by a drone strike in Baghdad leading to increased military tensions in the Persian Gulf.
On January 31st Great Britain left the European Union and I was literally celebrating with joy, as I celebrated with my fellow Brexiteers in Romford. It was the start of Britain carving it’s own destiny as a sovereign nation after being tied to a federal geopolitical bloc after 47 years. I was going to be making my own mark with this as I was working as a research assistant to an agency for UK-Africa relations networking for trade and development. Britain was now going to be making a bigger impact on the world and would defend it’s own interests in democracy and world trade. Incidentally there was also the ongoing protests in Hong Kong over the way that mainland China and it’s communist government was disavowing the Sino-British Joint Declaration whereby Hong Kong could keep it’s political and economic system separately from mainland China. The CCP had effectively swallowed up one of the few democratic and prosperous regions of China and was continuing to assert it’s dominance across South East Asia.
With the EU out of our political affairs, Britain can go and make business with other nations as an independent sovereign nation. I was very determined to make something out of this opportunity for myself. But my progress would be stagnated by a massive problem as the Covid-19 pandemic took hold.
In March I was working on my project to bring water technology to West Africa by building rainwater harvesting technology systems and purifying water to make new drinking water sources. By then the Coronavirus had become a pandemic and the world was plunged into the world’s worst disease infection since the Spanish Influenza of 1918. It looked like Covid-19 was going to consume the world to depopulate the Earth. In response to this crisis the governments of the world had to semi-quarantine their countries into a state of lockdown. While the world’s medical scientists got to work to develop a cure for this viral strain.
The effect of lockdown was a mass effect of breath-taking scenes. There were mass cancellations of public events in sports, culture, media, arts, and transportation. As everyone retreated into self-imposed isolation from society the world’s economy began to contract. Little did I know that there would be endless social and economic disruption that would drag on for the whole year. The Tokyo Summer Olympics were cancelled, Glastonbury’s 50th anniversary concert was cancelled, the Euro 2020 FA Cup was cancelled and the the Rugby Six Nations was postponed mid-season. Annual events like the Eurovision Song Contest were cancelled, as well as the 75th VE Day anniversary events, the Trooping of the Colour, religious festivals, the Academy Awards, the BAFTAS, beauty pageants and international government conventions.
The new social order that defined the world consisted of social distancing to prevent infection, locking down towns, furloughing people in paid employment temporarily, restricting freedom of movement for people, and home based working. Some countries that were supposed to have held government elections postponed them until next year. It looked like I was living in a socialist style country with no liveliness or activity. I went for a walk to the Romford Market during lockdown and the whole place was like a ghost town. I had never seen it so quiet like this. It was unbelievable.
Interestingly because of the economic and social shutdown there were some surprising and damaging changes. All companies that were supposed to be making and releasing products, services and productions were called off. Apple had to delay the release of the next iPhone because the factories in China had closed down. Several TV shows had to cancel their seasons because they couldn’t go out filming, like Doctor Who which cut down it’s production schedule to 8 episodes for the next season that wouldn’t be on air until 2022. The theatres shut down and cancelled their seasonal shows including the pantomimes for December, the cinemas closed and no blockbuster films were released including some that I planned to see like James Bond and Marvel’s Black Widow.
However it wasn’t all that bad for the environment of the planet. When the people went into isolation the pollution from human activity drastically reduced and scenes of nature showed sights that hadn’t been seen for decades. The air quality in many major cities improved that you could see the horizons for miles and miles. Sea creatures could now be seen swimming in the rivers of Venice where the gondolas would be usually be rowing. The Himalayas could also be seen from the subcontinent of India for the first time in a generation and animal crossings became frequent across motorways and towns.
April: The effect of the pandemic on the world had completely ruined relations between China and the rest of the economic superpowers. Many heads of state decided to declare their resentment towards President Xi Jinping by taking their country’s business relations to other nations. Japanese PM Shinzo Abe decided to haul back business and transfer production back to Japan. The USA decided to withdraw business by defunding the WHO and imposing sanctions on China and bringing back more jobs from there and along with the UK banning Chinese companies from investing in infrastructure projects. Boris Johnson followed Donald Trump’s lead by abandoning plans for Huawei to build it’s 5G telecoms network over security. There was now a big mistrust of China, especially as they produced and sent faulty medical equipment to supply to Western nations to combat Covid-19.
In May things took a turn for the worse. In Minneapolis, Minnesota a black man called George Floyd died in police custody from breathing problems, but the tragedy itself was spun into a media sensation that sent shockwaves throughout the world and resulted in rioting, looting, cultural vandalism and the worst racial identity crisis that dragged on for months. Before I go on here I should point out that I don’t buy the part where George Floyd died from a knee to the neck by a police officer which led to him screaming ‘I can’t breath’. The story was not told truthfully by the media and it was later revealed that he was a drug taking burglar who had a criminal record and his death was caused by a substance he had taken prior to his arrest that shut down his lungs. It was Floyd’s own fault that he died.
They say that the truth can always protect you, but the rampant left were not interested in the truth. Only the lies that they propagated from this disaster. The way the media reported the protests made them an instrument of destruction that added to the worldwide unrest and turbulence of the year. Across America and Britain the rioters were branded as ‘peaceful protestors’ and identity politics went into such extremes that untold damage was carried out in the name of selfish deeds. Selfish because those that rioted and supported them did not care for actual victims of the effect of the riots. This created more poverty and unemployment. The BLM brigade called for an end to systematic racism, but in fact there was just a civil rights crisis where all the different groups of people were fighting against each other. Synagogues and churches got burnt, shops were looted and the decent black members of the community suffered an even worse fate when they lost their homes and businesses.
At one point there was a semi-autonomous spit of land that declared independence from America in Seattle. Later the police had to intervene in this region known as CHOP after someone was killed there. It was a combination of hateful rhetoric and mass hysteria that mired the American nation. Some of the rioters even destroyed and toppled statues of American figures, including those that had benefited the black people like Abraham Lincoln and Frederick Douglas. They were at it like brainless vegetables being used as props by parasites to attack and destroy America. These are the useful idiots of America’s foreign and domestic enemies.
I could go on about this but for this post I am going to stick to the chronicle of 2020. There was a new era in space exploration when the United States launched astronauts from home soil once again in 9 years. It marked the beginning of a new structure in space travel whereby NASA was to operate in a public-private partnership with SpaceX and herald a new era whereby the advances in space research were to be more diverse in funding, research, development and networking. I watched it on TV and I was glued to the mission with joy and I had been really excited by it. As for the advancements in science there was a lot of developments in medicine as the Covid-19 vaccine was reaching clinical trials.
By the Summer events started to take a turn for the better or for worse. In June the Chinese Communist Party had effectively implemented the Hong Kong national security law bringing regional autonomy to an end for Hong Kong and completely eroded the last vestiges of democracy in the former British overseas territory. I was in solidarity with Hong Kong citizens and I was determined to support them from afar, so I backed Boris Johnson’s change in immigration laws to grant them British citizenship as BNO members. China was also flexing it’s might on the disputed Galwan Valley on the border with India, the right of control over the South China Sea with it’s island neighbours at the UN, and it’s persecution of the Uighur Muslims in Xinjiang, Western Province. Relations with China were becoming increasingly sour on top of the Coronavirus outbreak.
By August I was in the middle of a number of things in regards to my personal life. I had just got my academic career back on track by getting back to the Open University and completing my degree in an unconventional way. Also I had managed to get a deal arranged for my water technology project to develop in Nigeria, and I had to change my 35th birthday plans. However the next event to happen in the world occurred in the Middle East. That month an explosion occurred in the Lebanese capital Beirut when a warehouse packed with ammonium nitrate in storage caught fire. The explosion decimated the city with a force so strong it destroyed the port and blasted windows out for miles around. Over 220 people were killed and Hezbollah was blamed for causing it.
Later a change of fortune would bring a moment of peace and prosperity to this hostile pot burner of a region when the United Arab Emirates and then later Bahrain agreed to a peace offering. This was the US Abraham Accords, a treaty of memorandum that would end hostilities and economic and political sanctions between them and they would recognise Israel as a state. I was very moved and amazed by this incredible gesture. I saw it as a show of peace and harmony that out of the chaos of 2020 a gallant gesture could offer some respite from these world weary woes. Over the next few months these three countries began to open up economic trade routes between them. Israel had finally become friends with Middle Eastern Gulf Region.
Later Kosovo and Serbia started to recognise Israel with Jerusalem as it’s capital and Sudan did so as well. Followed by Saudi Arabia allowing Israeli airlines to flyover their country. It looked as though the Muslim world was now normalising relations with the Jewish state after decades of hostilities and denunciations to them. It become to me President Trump’s finest achievement for foreign policy after all those years of career politicians using the Middle East’s problems as an instrument of their own game. The Palestine issue was still there though, but for the Muslim world they had decided they had enough of the PLO and Hamas prolonging the war for their own gain.
However by September Covid-19 was still ravaging the world. By now about a million people across the globe had died of the virus and infections had reached 30 million. For a while the chaos in the world started to calm down as some parts of the world implemented Covid compliant safety measures in society. I hadn’t gone out and socialised with friends for months and I had never spent so much time to myself in a long time. I managed to get out and go to the Science Museum and dine in some restaurants by now. But that only brought the rate of infections up again by the autumn. But what can you do when people feel frustrated and pent up from being in social isolation for months at a time. I had adopted an astronaut’s living standards to cope.
Chaos came again to the world in October when a French schoolteacher called Samuel Paty was murdered and decapitated in Paris for using cartoons of the Prophet Mohammed in a lesson on free speech. The killing provoked outrage in the West for the way it showed how the values of liberty, equality and fraternity were under siege by fascist inspired Islamism and socialist dogma. It looked like liberal values and freedom of expression were being attacked as cancel culture was undermining freedom of speech and expression. The way the killing was covered by the media showed just how under threat the fabric of Western society was being compromised. Bari Weiss had quit as an editor of the New York Times earlier in the year, citing that social media had become like an ‘editor in chief’ of news outlets dictating the narrative of the media and orchestrating witch hunts against people that spoke uncomfortable truths and opinions.
The United States presidential election came in November and as the results came through the world held it’s breath. I stayed up a bit late to watch some of the coverage and the pollsters expected Donald Trump to win a second term by a landslide. However Joe Biden was declared the winner by the media, as the results showed that he had won the popular vote. But as the days went by allegations of voter fraud appeared when it was revealed by election officials that the Democrat activists had taken advantage of the pandemic by using mail in ballots to be used and harvested to create fraudulent winnings in several states. One state reported a vote count that seemingly showed a quick increase of ballots that pushed Biden over winning that state by a small margin. There were many discrepancies found in the counts that showed Republican officials being blocked from watching over the count.
At this moment the fraud investigation is still ongoing but the year 2020 doesn’t end with a chaos within a chaotic year for the planet Earth. Three companies from America and Britain called Pfizer, Moderna and AstraZeneca had successfully developed and tested their Covid-19 vaccines as effective and ready for use. Just as the world saw a second wave of Coronavirus come around it looks like a cure had been found. There was a big sigh of relief for some but not all were too optimistic that a solution had been found. Granted the cure was now here, but it would be some time before complete normality would return. Nevertheless Britain became the first to approve the vaccine and began rolling it out across the health service in December.
There was a lot of good optimism and ambition that I had at the start of this year. It all got side-tracked and held back by Covid-19. But it’s not our government’s fault for the lockdowns. Had China properly contained the virus much earlier then the outbreak would never have happened. Some researchers at MIT studying surveillance data found that the outbreak happened much earlier than 31st December 2019. They think it started in Wuhan as far back as September. Britain’s first Covid patient was an elderly man who had displayed symptoms in September 2019 and he had never travelled to China in all his life.
Then there is the social and civil unrest that came from the lockdown of the world. I wish that story had not been blown all out of proportion. It showed the lowest that the mainstream media could sink by aggravating social unrest. They didn’t even do much to keep the spirits of the nation high, just pushing a doom and gloom narrative of the Coronavirus lockdown. We’ve been held back, depressed and stagnated for far too long. I feel so unfortunate to have lost those things that fell out of my reach but we must not let our misery hold us off anymore. Let’s just take what we have learnt from this and move on to build a better world. The World Economic Forum calls for the Great Reset, with which we take the opportunities from the lessons learned during the pandemic to build back better and develop a new world. Some conspiracy theorists call this the start of the New World Order, which I don’t agree with as it is not compatible with reasonable logic for us to become our own heroic beings. I hope that the 2020s will be a decade of advancement in science, technology, art, culture and international trade.