The results are in, and we know…some things
Image credit: Eleanor Park
2015 was one of the craziest years in terms of national/international political news, pop culture and sports. Many of us have been stuck with schoolwork and technology, not bothering to look out into the world and see what is really happening. The Crier decided to take advantage of this opportunity and survey Conant to see how much they know about what is happening around them. A questionnaire was sent out, with 15 questions, ranging from easy to difficult. The questions covered vast topics such as national and international politics, pop culture and sports within the United States. The Crier also took took a look at who seemed to know more from each category: students or staff. The results and answers are below. If you would like to take the questionnaire before you scroll down, click here.
Category 1: Politics
The politics category consisted of six questions (three multiple choice and three short answer) that were based on current news. Questions 5 and 6 had no “right” answer and depended on public opinion and what the person taking the survey felt was an important issue that should be discussed in this article. The questions were:
- What did president Obama veto, which has caused political debate to arise about global warming and the environment?
- After the Paris bombings, where did the world leaders gather to discuss next steps?
- Where in Asia is the most recent genocide occurring and to what people?
- Which two of our allies in the Middle East are threatening each other?
- Name and describe one current international issue that hasn’t been mentioned in this survey.
- Name and describe one current national issue that hasn’t been mentioned in this survey.
Question 1: What did president Obama veto, which has caused political debate to arise about global warming and the environment?
The correct answer to this question was the the Keystone Pipeline. Being one of the easier questions, many did get this question right. President Barack Obama on November 6, 2015, rejected the proposed Keystone XL pipeline, ending the political fight over the Canada-to-Texas project that has gone on for much of his presidency. The proposed pipeline would span nearly 1,200 miles across six U.S. states, moving more than 800,000 barrels of carbon-heavy petroleum daily from Canadian oil sands through Nebraska to refineries in the Gulf Coast.
Question 2: After the Paris bombings, where did the world leaders gather to discuss next steps?
After the horrific bombings in Paris, the world leaders met at the Group of 20 summit. The G20 includes the developing nations, including China, Brazil, India and Russia. Together these countries represent two-thirds of the world’s people, and 85 percent of its economy. The success of this G20 meeting means these countries are being recognized for their role as powerful drivers of the world economy. For those who don’t know, on the evening of November 13, 2015, a series of coordinated terrorist attacks occurred in Paris and its northern suburb, Saint-Denis. France estimated at least 189 dead, with over 300 injured civilians. Later, ISIS claimed responsibility for the attack.
Question 3: Where in Asia is the most recent genocide occurring and to what people?
This question was rather difficult and in fact, only a select few were able to give the correct answer. In actuality, there are two possible correct answers depending on where in Asia we look. The first one is Sri Lanka. A twenty-five year civil war in Sri Lanka came to a close in May 2009. The war was an insurgency against the Sri Lankan government by the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE, or Tamil Tigers), a separatist militant organization. Over 70,000 Tamils have been displaced or murdered through the government because they are seen as enemies of the state. The second answer is Myanmar (or Burma). The Rohingya Muslim minority is known as called “the most oppressed people on Earth”. They suffer vicious attacks and systematic abuse by Burma’s government.
Question 4: Which two of our allies in the Middle East are threatening each other?
This question was also classified in the difficult category and while people believed it was Syria and Turkey, the actual answer is Turkey and the Kurds. First, who are the Kurds? The Kurds are a rebel group that reside within turkey, who want their own homeland, Kurdistan. However, the situation gets more complicated when understanding the three different types of Kurds residing within the Middle East. The first group is the PKK, or the Turkish Kurds. The second group is the PYD, or the Syrian Kurds. And finally, we have the KRG, or the Iraqi Kurds. America is allied with Turkey in the battle against the Islamic state. America is also allied with the Kurds because they have effectively carried out strikes against ISIS, however, they are also in conflict with Turkey due to their independence movement. This puts America in a rather awkward spot. Here’s an infographic that makes more sense:
The next two questions opened up for students’ voices to shine through. The questions asked what Conant staff and students thought were key issues worth talking about. Many answers were similar, and some were truly unique. These opinions helped shed some light on the world around us.
Question 5: Name and describe one current international issue that hasn’t been mentioned in this survey. Here is a circle graph of the responses:
Here are your top 3:
It is a bit obvious that terrorism would top the list. At the start of 2015, the fight to end terrorism had taken new heights. Global terrorism has shown up almost everywhere. The main terrorist group that the world is combating is the Islamic state or ISIS. The group began in 2004 as al Qaeda in Iraq, before rebranding as ISIS two years later. It was an ally of–and had similarities with– Osama bin Laden’s al Qaeda: both were radical anti-Western militant groups devoted to establishing an independent Islamic state in the region. But unlike al Qaeda, which disowned the group in early 2014, ISIS has proven to be more brutal and more effective at controlling territory it has seized. ISIS has become famous for the mass terror it inflicts upon anyone who is against them.
Syrian refugee crisis
It’s unfortunate to see that the media gives so much publicity to Paris, where 189 people died, but didn’t acknowledge the millions of deaths that have resulted due to the Syrian civil war and the Syrian refugee crisis. This crisis is deemed the most poorly handled crisis by the United Nations. Countries have known about this crisis for years but are only now scrambling to try to fix the problem. The problem goes back a couple years, when Syria was ruled by the Assad regime. This was an extremely brutal regime, under which people lived in fear of their lives every day. After reaching a breaking point, the people decided to overthrow their government and set up a democracy. The government fired back by killing masses and making life almost impossible, causing millions of families to flee. Over 12 million Syrians have fled their country, flooding the neighboring nations of Egypt, Lebanon, Turkey, Jordan and Iraq, who house a staggering 95% of the refugees. This has put massive stress on their economies. The refugees are forced to live in labor camps where lives are no better than their home country. Other countries have rejected all refugees: Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, UAE, Qatar, Oman and Bahrain. They are seen as the “shame” of the Middle East. The waking point of this was when the media posted a picture of a dead Syrian boy on the shores of a beach, creating national outrage that nations weren’t helping the refugees. Since then, the US has helped house 100,000; the United Kingdom has taken in 10,000; Australia: 12,000; Germany: a whopping 300,000; and more nations are joining the march to help these people. The war doesn’t seem to have an end, and to make matters worse, ISIS has made its way into the war in hopes of setting up a totalitarian regime in Syria. If this is too many words, here is a perfect seven minute video to sum it all up.
Killings, Genocide and HRV
Question 3 brought up genocide in Asia, however, that is not the only place where death rates are rising, unfortunately. The Baga killings in Nigeria are some of the main examples of humanitarian rights violations around the world. The 2015 Baga massacre was a series of mass killings carried out by the jihadist group Boko Haram in the Nigerian town of Baga and its environs, in the state of Borno. As sad as it is, we also see similar actions in Sudan. That’s a pretty high bar considering the country’s track record since the genocide in Darfur started more than a decade ago. But even measured against a long history of abuse, Sudan’s recent actions led by President Omar al-Bashir are a particularly harsh slap in the face for the international community. In recent weeks, the government of Sudan has newly bombed civilians in Darfur and the Nuba Mountains, blocked the investigation of a reported mass rape of over 200 Darfuri women, and, in the midst of the sharpest increase in violence and displacement in years, called for the removal of UN peacekeepers.
Question 6: Name and describe one current national issue that hasn’t been mentioned in this survey.
Here are your top 3:
2016 Presidential Election
The presidential race has certainly been lively. We have Donald Trump, who speaks his mind (and maybe too much); Hillary Clinton, who is desperately trying to get the youth vote; Ben Carson, who admittedly stabbed people as a child; Bernie Sanders, who loves the middle class (and possibly socialism); and Jeb Bush, who’s just there at this point. There you have it, folks!
Gun control generally refers to laws or policies that regulate the manufacture, sale, transfer, possession, modification or use of firearms in order to control crime and reduce the harmful effects of violence. They vary greatly around the world. There are two opinions on this: your mother’s opinion, who believes guns need to be banned, and your father’s, who thinks guns are great.
Immigration can be tied in with many things. We can talk about the fact that anti immigration sentiment has arose this past year after claims by a certain someone that Mexico sends over rapists and drug lords (cough, Trump, cough). The floor is also open to discussion about Islamophobia (fear of Islamic people) because of the attacks in Paris and California. Trump, the speaker of all speakers, boldly declared that America should ban Islamic people from entering the country. He also states that all illegal immigrants should be deported.
Category 2: Pop Culture
Category 2 consisted of four questions (one short answer and three multiple choice). They were all based off of new and occurring events of 2015. The questions were:
- Who won Artist of the Year at the 2015 VMAs?
- What is the name of Adele’s recently released album (2015)?
- What was the opening act of the 2015 VMAs?
- Who won Dancing with the Stars season 21?
Question 1: Who won Artist of the Year at the 2015 VMAs?
Even without Zayn, One Direction went strong and took home the prize. Cue the crazy fans.
Question 2: What is the name of Adele’s recently released album (2015)?
First of all, Adele just proved how powerful she is through her 2015 album, “25.” After a four-year break, Adele’s new album sold more than 2.3 million copies in the United States alone during its first three days on the market, a stunning number for a music industry that has seen sales steadily fall in the digital era. Let’s compare this to some other popular albums. It took Taylor Swift’s album “1989″ about year to gross that many copies sold. Adele is the true queen.
Question 3: What was the opening act of the 2015 VMAs?
The opening act of the 2015 VMAs was Jennifer Lopez, jamming to the song “Anaconda.” Nicki didn’t look too jealous, though we all knew she rocks that song better than anyone.
Question 4: Who won Dancing with the Stars season 21?
17 year old Australian actress, Bindi Irwin, rocked the stage and won Dancing with the Stars: season 21 with her professional partner, Derek Hough. You go, girl.
Category 3: Sports
The last category consisted of five questions (one short answer and four multiple choice). The questions were:
- Which basketball player recently announced his retirement?
- What National Football League (NFL) quarterback has the most games in which he passed for 400 or more yards?
- Who just won the NL Cy young award?
- Who is the top pitching prospect in the MLB?
- Which is the only country to have played in each and every soccer World Cup?
Question 1: Which basketball player recently announced his retirement?
As sad as it is, we will soon say goodbye to Lakers star, Kobe Bryant. He is planning on retiring at the end of the season.
Question 2: What National Football League (NFL) quarterback has the most games in which he passed for 400 or more yards?
This title goes to Denver Broncos player, Peyton Manning. Go, Peyton!
Question 3: Who won the 2015 NL Cy Young award?
One of the teachers who answered this question said it best: Jake the snake Arrieta.
Question 4: Who is the top pitching prospect in the MLB?
Lucas Giolito. Yes, he’s just that good.
Question 5: Which is the only country to have played in each and every soccer world cup?
For those who put Argentina as the answer, you were so close. However, it’s Brazil. And those guys have played as much as they’ve won.
Overall, the survey was a great way to see how much people pay attention to what’s going on around them. If you don’t know a lot, I don’t recommend going to the library and staying there for eight hours to learn everything in the world. Just turn on the news once in awhile. Download the news app on the iPad that the school hands out or follow some news accounts like CNN, ABC News, or the Conant Crier on Twitter. Just remember: staying educated and knowing what’s around you is the best way to grow as a human being.