Jan 02 2013
As we begin the year 2013, we look back at major international events which changed our world in 2012.
War continued to ravage people’s lives around the globe. In Gaza hundreds of Palestinians were killed by an Israeli attack called Operation Pillar of Defense. Just days after a ceasefire was declared, Palestinians celebrated a historic UN General Assembly vote which granted them non-member observer. Yet, Israel continued with plans to build thousands of new settlements in the occupied territories and an Israeli court declared peace activist Rachel Corrie’s death by an Israeli bulldozer a “regrettable accident.”
In Syria the death toll reached and surpassed 40,000 and hundreds of thousands of Syrian refugees fled to neighboring countries as Syrian President Bashar al-Assad remained in power.
The war in Afghanistan entered its 11th year with ever more atrocities and killings as US troops burned copies of the Koran and Army Staff Sgt. Robert Bales went on a shooting rampage murdering 16 Afghan civilians in Southern Afghanistan.
In Benghazi, Libya, the American Embassy was attacked by militants leading to the deaths of US ambassador J. Christopher Stevens and three other Americans. Some linked the attack to an anti-Muslim Youtube video which sparked protests around the Muslim world.
In the war-torn Democratic Republic of Congo, where 5 million people have already been killed by years of conflict, M23 rebels took over the city of Goma.
In Egypt, tens of thousands of protestors denounced President Muhammad Morsi’s draft constitution leading to mass mobilizations not seen since the revolution leading to Hosni Mubarak’s resignation.
Thousands of people in US-backed Bahrain demanded an end to a regime which has been in control since 1974.
And, in Pakistan where US drone strikes continued to terrorize innocent children and civilians, 15 year old Malala Yousafzai an outspoken advocate for girls’ education survived an attempted assassination by the Taliban.
In India, near the end of the year, mass protests rocked the nation over a gang rape that resulted in the death of the rape victim.
Elsewhere in Asia, Kim Jong Un spent his first year presiding over North Korea while greater attention was paid to the plight of Chinese workers. The Phillipines suffered from one of the most severe storms in recent history.
In Latin America, Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez underwent cancer surgery in Cuba, after being re-elected President – he has been in office for 14 years. And Enrique Pena Nieto was elected as President of Mexico. Chilean students continued to agitate across the country for their rights. Haiti and Cuba were struck by hurricanes.
And to the North, students in Quebec Province, Canada declared an historic victory for student rights after a months-long strike that brought the city of Montreal to a standstill over tuition hikes.
In Europe, the European Union was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize despite massive protests throughout Europe due to austerity measures being put in place by governments across the continent. Elections took place in France, Greece, Italy, and Spain, which were all influenced by the financial crises in those countries.
Finally, the UN Climate Conference in Doha, Qatar, resulted in still more deadlock even as the effects of climate change continued to be felt around the world.