Now that we are closer to receive a new year 2017, everyone is starting to prepare themselves by celebrating some traditions like eating the 12 grapes with the strike of midnight, wearing different colored underwear for luck, breaking champagne bottles and even strolling some empty luggage to the streets. Others are preparing themselves a home party or writing down some new years resolutions hoping to fulfill them all (although we know that most of them don’t).
I usually prepare my new year’s resolutions (which I will post soon) and do some other tradition, which I never end up seeing if it even works anyway; but mostly important, I get to spend it with my nuclear family and sometimes with my friends. These last days of the year got me thinking on how times flies fast and all the thing that have changed 20 something years back, and it really hit me that a lot of things have changed and I especially relate it with the September 11 attacks on the World Trade Center in 2001.From my point of view, change started from that event in American history that ended up affecting lots of countries not only the western hemisphere, but also the eastern hemispheres as well. People changed, economy changed, lifestyles changed, feelings changed, perceptions changed, ideologies changed; it was the most noticeable transition as seen in my point of view, and I guess in others as well.Maybe the attacks on the World Trade Center were just part of all the changes that endeavored the new millennium; let’s not forget the amazing change of the European economy on using the Euro as an accounting currency, the military intervention in the Middle East by north american troops which led to the Iraq war which lasted 8 years and led to a new international fear called “Terrorism”, the arise of new technologies in a fair short amount of time, the publication of the human genome, various oil spills, Halle Berry was the first black woman ever to receive an Oscar award, various virus outbreaks, increase in the popularity of social networks, devastating natural disasters around the globe and the arise of Global Warming as a top subject of the new millennium just to name a few events.
In the following I will number some of the reasons of why the year 2000 never should have happened the way it did, but also consider it as one of the most influential years in mankind:
- Induced fear: after the September 11 aftermath, people were scared of encountering a similar episode again. This was reinforced with all the security measures that were used in airports, train stations, government facilities and big events such as the Time Square’s New Years. People would panic if a “suspicious” bag was found on the streets and there would be SWAT units all over the place with the least suspicion of an abandoned bag or backpack. Not only in the United States, but with the various attacks in European countries as well (starting with the bomb detonated in a Train in Spain back in 2003 by Al-Qaeda). People walk with fear in the streets, just looking around expecting the worst from the person sitting net to them in the bus.
- Racism: it was an expected consequence after all the terrorism attacks going on. Any person with Middle-Eastern features and subjective Muslim name or last name, was subjected to interrogation, detention or observation in any public space or airport. This measure implemented by certain countries made its civilians fear or suspect of any person who dressed, talked or looked like a Middle-Eastern.Civilians even pleaded counterattacks and justified wars and interventions made in Middle Eastern countries. Not only have there been racism towards Middle Eastern individuals, but there has been an evident public police profiling of black males in the United States and rigorous immigration laws that apparently only applies for Latin american immigrants; all this has been evidently displayed in the Republican conventions where president elect Donald Trump has made his thoughts clear about the future of Latino immigrants in North America.
- Eternal mourning: all countries worldwide had mourned their loved ones due to internal wars or terrorism since 2000; from disputes between Mexican cartels, to the Taliban War all the way up to the Ituri conflict in the Congo. We have been non-stop bombarded with death tolls everyday on the news due to wars. It’s like we never have a peaceful break of all the tragic news we see and read.
- Rapid Growth of Technology: In 1999 the top selling cellphone was the Nokia 3210, which had a green light screen and the popular game of Snake that made everyone play during a long ride on the bus. Just 3 years later we had the first camera-built cellphone (again thanks to Nokia’s 7650) and in less than a decade afterwards, by 2007, we had our first Iphone 2G which was a real 360 degree change in technology thanks to Steve Jobs. Since then, we’ve had changes in our computers, televisions, music equipment, cars, medical devices and other devices in a rapid and intelligent way, up to creating a virtual reality with the Oculus rift, automatic driving cars and smart refrigerators.
- More communication and more isolation: it’s ironic to think that although we can communicate much easier than 16 years back, technologies has isolated us to enjoy more of what a screen can offer than what our nature can. Now it’s much more easier to talk and see your loved one with a simple internet connection; but it’s also more complicated to go out and socialize when you can have everything you want within your palms. We can stay thousands of miles apart and still be able to keep track on a person’s life without having them by your side, or maybe not even have a partner at all and rather buy a humanoid-robot like the Actroid DER that can even interact with people or a cylinder tube called Alexa that can even read to you, play music for you and event report you the latest news. It’s common for some to go out with friends and spend more time on the phone than actually talking to the person or preferring to play basketball on xbox than actually going out to a basketball court.
- Superficialness: your conscious would feel better if you would just focus on how Drake and Jenifer Lopez ended up together than the fact that 5,000 syrians are killed each month due to their Civil War. Maybe it’s because we are so tired of hearing devastating things in the news that we block it out to just focus on insignificant things; or maybe it’s just that we don’t care as long as it’s not happening to us. Tragic things have been happening since the beginning of time, the only difference is that now we are informed of them. I know we can’t be preoccupied and sad the whole time, but maybe we could stand up to our government policies or petition change for our world organisms…but hell, netflix and chill seems much more better and easier than that.