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Year of extreme terrorism draws to a close

Opinion Piece

The year drawing to a close is not one that will be remembered fondly by millions, marked as it was by acts of extreme violence and cruelty.

This year it was the turn of the UK, usually one of the most stable countries on the planet, to experience extreme terrorism.

First, in May 22 people died at the hands of a suicide bomber at an Ariana Grande concert in Manchester. Then in June, three men in a van knocked down pedestrians on Westminster Bridge before going on a stabbing spree that left eight dead.

Also in June a truck driver drove into holidaymakers in Barcelona’s Las Ramblas district leaving 14 dead. Vehicles are becoming a preferred weapon for terrorists.

But as in previous years, the United States topped everyone else for single acts of violence with the mass shooting at a Las Vegas concert in October that left 58 dead.

Amazingly that and even a massacre in a Texas church was not enough to sway the National Rifle Association (NRA) from its diehard resistance to tighter gun laws. Probably nothing will.

Probably the most unlucky people of the troubled world would be the Rohingya, the Muslim group forced to flee Myanmar in their hundreds of thousands after a crackdown by the Army. Even Nobel Prize winner Aung San Sun Kyi seemed powerless to do anything to help them.

The long Syrian civil war, that has claimed somewhere between 300,000 and 400,000 lives, continued. North Korea remained a focus of concern for the rest of the world. The actions of a rogue tyrant armed with nuclear weapons and a US President who is unpredictable to say the least. had everyone on tenterhooks.

Even the weather seemed to be playing its part with hurricanes battering the Caribbean and US Gulf Coast while ironically the US Midwest ended the year under several feet of snow. The world has endured a nervous year in 2017. But human beings are incurable optimists, the hope remains that 2018 will be better.