When the end of another year draws to a close, it encourages people to reflect on the past year – the highs and the lows, the successes and the failures. It can be therapeutic to do so; without reflecting it is hard to know what we have learnt and where next we should go. Here at the Current Affairs section of KettleMag we recognise the importance of looking back so we have compiled the biggest news stories of 2018 to remind you of the good, the bad and the downright ugly.
The year people stood up for social injustice
Whilst the world may seem like a dark place with the news constantly filled with horror stories there is still good that can be taken away from 2018. It marked a year when people stood up for social injustice in a variety of ways. From Christine Blasey Ford’s powerful testimony against Brett Kavanaugh in a Senate Judiciary committee to the March for our lives protest, 2018 became a year when social issues that have often been ignored have come to the fore.
What is of further significance is the activism of the younger generation. The March for our lives protest showcased the tenacity a group of young people had in trying to get their voices heard about gun violence. Gun violence was and continues to be an issue where the power and influence of large and wealthy corporations control and determine the stance of US politicians.
KettleMag is a publication designed for young people and it was refreshing to see young people being the ones not only making the news but being part of a group breaking down barriers and to stop the silence around the deaths of teenagers at the hands of gun violence.
UK’s response to Donald Trump’s visit
Back in July, the leader of the Free World President Donald Trump visited the UK which included talks with the Prime Minister and reception with her Majesty the Queen. It was no secret the public was hesitant to host the President and the giant Trump baby blimp confirmed that too many Donald Trump is not welcome here. You can read about Trump’s visit and the reaction to it in an article in the Autumn edition of the magazine.
19thMay: The Wedding of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle
Watched by 11.5 million people in the UK, the wedding of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle was the wedding of the year. Prince Harry is frequently voted the most popular royal making his wedding day one of the highlights of 2018. What more, the star-studded guests and the dress reveal kept people glued to their televisions.
July: England’s success at the World Cup
It’s no secret that England does not normally do that well in the World Cup and who can blame them when the whole country pins their hopes on them. Before the competition began it seemed as though no one expected England to do well. Much to everyone’s surprise, England made it to the semi-final before being knocked out by Croatia. Even though we all thought Football might be coming home it made everyone feel patriotic and showed the rest of the world England’s football team should be taken seriously. You can see a round-up and reflection of the tournament by clicking here.
The loss of some legends
With each passing year, we sadly lose more and more people were influential in shaping and changing our society. Back in March, we lost renowned theoretical physicist Stephen Hawking at the age of 76. He helped to make the universe and the likes of black holes accessible and interesting to everyday people through his award-winning novels like A Brief History of Time. His genius was matched by his reliance to battling motor neurone disease, a condition he lived and suffered with for over 50 years of his life.
Celebrities we lost in 2018, from Aretha Franklin to Dolores O'Riordan https://t.co/NQwIWnFPy0
— The Independent (@Independent) January 1, 2019
In August the Queen of Soul Aretha Franklin died. During her career, she won 18 Grammy Awards, received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame and was honoured with the Presidential Medal of Freedom – the highest civilian honour. She is celebrated further for her work in breaking down social barriers as a black woman in the music industry.
Climate Change continues to be ignored
News stories throughout the year on climate change have highlighted the need for drastic action with the United Nations warning we have less than 12 years to limit the damage climate change could have on the planet. Frustratingly leaders around the world continue to ignore such warnings, leading us to question how much longer we can continue the way we are before detrimental consequences.
Already this year we have seen natural disasters like the wildfires that devastated California and more recently the tsunami that hit Indonesia. Events like this should show how nature’s backlash can cause people to be left homeless and struggling to survive. Hopefully, 2019 will be the year when the politics of greed are pushed aside and countries start to work more collaboratively to combat this issue head on…but I won’t hold my breath.
The DOWNRIGHT UGLY
Brexit tearing apart the country
2018 has been a tough year for the UK who have bombarded daily with news of Brexit negotiations and inter-party politics. Theresa May has been criticised by the public and from people within her own party who tried to get a vote of no confidence. Jeremy Corbyn has publicly stated he could do a better job of negotiating a Brexit deal and with Parliament voting against May’s deal, it looks like we could leave the European Union with no deal. The issue of Brexit has led politicians like Boris Johnson to try and further their own agendas at the cost of the security and future of this country.
It is most definitely a time of uncertainty. No-one, not even the politicians responsible for organising Brexit knows what the future holds. Sadly, Brexit is not a word that can be left behind in 2018 so all that’s left is to hope our politicians can work together to get the best result for us.
Death of Saudi Journalist Jamal Khashoggi
One of the biggest news stories of the year was the death of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi who was murdered for his reports on the Saudi government. This story has been classified as ‘downright ugly’ as it shows how journalists and freedom of press continue to be persecuted for reporting on issues and uncovering the truth. Time Magazine honoured ‘The Guardians’ a group of journalists including Khashoggi who died as a result of their work as 2018’s Person of the Year.
This is the news story of the year that really stuck with me and made me stop to think about what it means to be a journalist in 2018. It was these thoughts that led me to write an article for our upcoming Winter edition looking at how protecting journalists ultimately means protecting the truth.
So there you have it, a round-up of the year that’s just gone. I was conscious to try and collect more positives than negatives as whilst it is important to acknowledge the bad areas of the year to learn from our mistakes it is important to remember the positives. It reminds us of where we are going and reassures us we are moving in the right direction. I am positive 2019 will be a better year than the last.