Oh, what a year it has been.
In a few hours, we will welcome 2022 with open arms and renewed hope for better times ahead. As we prepare to put an end to this eventful year, it’s the perfect time to look back at all the things that made 2021 what it was. We’re not only talking about the coronavirus crisis that’s been making headlines for the second time in a row, but all the highs and lows that defined the entire year and became a hot topic in their own ways. Here are some of them.
First on the list is COVID-related news, which have undoubtedly made headlines all year round. Vaccines have been made available to the public in 2021—a medical breakthrough that has caused a divide among people in terms of hesitancy, accessibility, equality, information, and so much more. Indeed, vaccine “was about much more than medicine in 2021” as per Merriam-Webster that named it as its Word of the Year.
The word ‘vaccine’
- saw a 601% increase in lookups this year over last.
- had continual spikes of attention through the year.
- was about much more than medicine in 2021.
‘Vaccine’ is our 2021 #WordOfTheYear.https://t.co/i7QlIv15M3— Merriam-Webster (@MerriamWebster) November 29, 2021
The military junta gained control of Myanmar in a coup staged on Feb. 1 after a general election where Aung San Suu Kyi’s National League for Democracy triumphed. As per BBC News, the elected leader has been detained by the armed forces, who alleged there was election fraud and called for a rerun of the votes. The election commission, however, noted that there was no evidence to back their accusations. The coup has killed over a thousand people since the protests began.
NASA’s Perseverance Rover
NASA’s Perseverance Rover successfully touched down on Mars early this year to “seek signs of ancient life and collect samples of rock and regolith (broken rock and soil) for possible return to Earth,” according to NASA. It was launched on July 30, 2020, and landed on Feb. 18 at 3:55 p.m. (Eastern Time) in 2021 on the Jezero Crater. Take a look at its milestones here:
Prince Harry and Meghan Markle’s explosive interview with Oprah Winfrey
Prince Harry and Meghan Markle—the Duke and Duchess of Sussex—became a hot topic when their interview with TV host Oprah Winfrey was released. The pair, who have officially given up their royal titles, frankly talked about their issues with the royal family—from racism and “feeling trapped” to Markle’s mental health problems during her pregnancy, and beyond. Harry also revealed his fear of “history repeating itself” as he talked about the car crash that led to the death of his mother Princess Diana in 1997, when she tried to outrun paparazzi photographers in Paris.
The Taliban’s rise to power in Afghanistan
After a 20-year invasion led by the United States, the Taliban government again took power over Afghanistan in August. According to Bloomberg, the vows of strict Islamic fundamentalist groups were “met with skepticism among the world’s governments and multilateral institutions, which withheld recognition of the Taliban as the legitimate authority in Afghanistan, blocked access to billions of dollars in Afghan assets held overseas, and severed the development assistance that had long propped up the economy.” The news sparked concerns about possible human rights violations and abuses, among others.
Britney Spears has finally put an end to the conservatorship that her own father Jamie Spears filed in 2008, giving her no control over her personal life, career, and finances. In November, a Los Angeles Superior Court judge ruled that the 13-year measure must be terminated without the need for additional mental evaluations of the pop icon, as per a report by The New York Times. In a Facebook post, Spears called it her "best day ever" and thanked her fans for their love and support all throughout the issue.