What is going on in today’s world and what events and trends shape this generation? On one side, there are amazing things happening in technology and globalization: social media, medicine and an ever-interconnected world. On the other side of the card exists an unbearable buzz of conflict and social upheaval, a dark cloud that shrouds our daily news. Everywhere we turn, television and social media are flooded with images of violence and international conflict caused by RIOTS. The world is changing rapidly with technology and globalization; however, these swift changes are conjuring internal discords within the microcosms of our interconnected global civilization. Clashing ideologies– varying from politics, religion and economics–are bringing human civilization to a breaking point. As the masses continue to challenge the status quo, riots are becoming the identifying theme in our time in history.
Today’s Top 5 Riots
5. Hong Kong
The free-market city-state of Hong Kong exploded this month when student activists swarmed the streets, protesting mainland China’s influence in the upcoming 2017 elections. Known by several hashtags: #umbrellaprotests, #HKDemocracy and #OccupyCentral, the civil disobedience commenced when the tenth session of the Standing Committee in the twelfth National People’s Congress set limits for the 2016 Legislative Council election and 2017 Chief Executive election. Class boycotts soon followed, leading to the largest protest in Hong Kong since 1997.
After years of dystopian conditions: extreme corruption, violence, inflation and authoritative abuse, discontent Venezuelan students took their mode of anarchy to the streets, varying from peaceful protests: sit-ins and hunger strikes, to full out mob confrontations with the armed forces. The internal civil unrest, propelled by rampant corruption and government mismanagement, has caused dozens of deaths and thousands of arrests and injuries.
Currently one of the world’s major conflicts, the Syrian Civil War started brewing in 2011, when citizens protesting President Bashar Al-assad’s government were met with violent responses from government armed forces. The Syrian protests started when the Assad government, a camp that promised social reform and progression towards democracy, failed to live up to their promises—abuse of human rights, ethnic inequality and economic inequality continued. After three years of military conflict, over 100,000 lives have been claimed and 6.5 million people have been displaced.
Decades of intense political history with Russia and Europe are finally coming to a boiling point as Ukraine experiences demonstrations across dozens of cities. The pro-Russian versus pro-European opposition came to a head when then President Victor Yanukovych signed a treaty with Russia, dissolving relations with the European Union and inciting tension from numerous Ukrainian ethnic groups. The violent revolution ultimately lead to the exile of President Victor Yanukovych; as protesters and armed forces alike lit cities ablaze.
And the number 1 spot goes to….yup, you guessed it, the decades’ long conflict that has had the pulse of the world for most of modern media—Isarel/Gaza. The story of the 2014 internal unrest surrounds a volley of bombs between Israeli forces and the Hamas, a Palestinian ethnic group. The situation worsened when three Israeli teenagers were allegedly kidnapped by Hamas operatives, leading to increased bombardment by Israeli militia. Air strikes and ground invasions from both sides have caused many deaths and injuries to civilians, leading to international political controversies that are lighting social media ablaze.
Although the reality looks grim, some would say the outlook is bright—ordinary citizens standing up for their rights, taking action and bringing change. Despite the violence and losses, I consider this spirit of riot a special component to our time.
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