It’s the end of the decade, a time which always lends itself to great periods of retrospection, the noughties found themselves frequented by the themes of fear, terror and paranoia throughout the years. The year 2000 began with global celebrations to welcome in the new millennium, and joyous response as the much feared Y2K virus failed to materialise, allowing the technological revolution to continue growing. Sadly, the optimism from the start of the year disappeared all too soon with some truly horrific events in the first few years of the decade.
On July 1st 2000, 8 year old Sarah Payne disappeared in a news story which shocked the nation. It was later revealed that she had been a victim of kidnapping and had subsequently been murdered. The event caused public outrage and saw campaigns for “Sarah’s Law” to be introduced which would allow parents to know if a convicted paedophile resided in their area.
In February 2001, Britain suffered a crisis in the industries of agriculture and tourism as foot and mouth disease spread, within a week of the first case being identified, a Europe wide ban was placed on all exports of British livestock, meat and animal products. The crisis existed for over a year in an event which saw over 10 million cattle and sheep killed in an attempt to halt the disease.
2001 also witnessed the moment the world was shocked into the knowledge that 21st century terrorism had arrived. As on September 11th airplanes; American Airlines Flight 11, United Airlines Flight 175 and American Airlines Flight 77 were hijacked in midair and crashed into planned targets: New York’s World Trade Center and the Pentagon. United Airlines Flight 93 was also hijacked on September 11th however, thanks to the bravery of the passengers on the plane; the unknown intended target was never reached as the plane was retaken by those on board and crashed into a field near Shanksville in Somerset County, Pennsylvania.
The events of 9/11 followed by several weeks of anthrax attacks throughout the US shocked the globe and saw the birth of the War on Terror, a conflict which has stayed active throughout the decade.
2002 saw the return of mass media coverage in the search for missing young girls, March saw the disappearance of Amanda “Milly” Dowler cause widespread concern as to the safety of the nations daughters and in August, fears were increased at the news that 10 year olds Holly Wells and Jessica Chapman were missing.
Nationwide coverage of both cases, including the tragic discovery of the bodies of all three girls cast a dark shadow over the third year of the new Millennium, a shadow that was made even darker by news of civil war in Côte d’Ivoire and terrorist attacks on two nightclubs in Bali, in an attack which killed 202 revelers and injured over 300 others.
2003 was dominated with news of the Iraq war. The decision to go to war with Iraq was heavily protested against with over 2 million people taking part in an anti- war protest through the streets of London on February 15th.
The invasion of Iraq went ahead on March 20th and Saddam Hussein’s regime fell on April 9th as U.S and UK forces seized control of Baghdad. The former President of Iraq went into hiding throughout the conflict and was eventually captured on December 13th
July 2003 was widespread with coverage the death of DR. David Kelly, a weapons specialist at the Ministry of Defense, whose suicide on July 18th was viewed with great controversy by the British media, the Hutton inquiry which looked into the issues surrounding the case would become one of the biggest political stories in recent history.
March 11th 2004 saw the third major terrorist attack of the decade following the events of 9/11 and the Bali bombings as 190 people were murdered in simulations terrorist attacks on rush hour trains in Madrid, an incident which again shocked the world and saw millions on anti terrorism protesters take to the streets in Spain the day after on March 12th.
In British news, the summer was awash with violent protests as the government announced that fox hunting was to be banned in a legislation that saw security in the House of Commons compromised when pro hunt protesters ran into the chambers during a fox hunting debate.
As the first half of the decade came to an end, the world was unsure what the 2nd act would bring. Would the fear and terror continue or were we in-store for brighter times?