Take a Look Back at Global Voices’ Headlines From 2014

15,000 people marched in downtown Mexico City against the disappearance of 43 students from Ayotzinapa. Photo taken on 8 October 2014 by Enrique Perez Huerta. Copyright: Demotix

15,000 people marched in downtown Mexico City against the disappearance of 43 students from Ayotzinapa. Photo taken on 8 October 2014 by Enrique Perez Huerta. Copyright: Demotix

The 64-year-old leader of the Guajajara tribe in Brazil spends 26 hours in a tree protesting the eviction of activists from a former indigenous museum.

A Nepalese girl becomes more popular than Messi in her hometown for her skills on the football pitch.

Citizen journalists in Algeria expose police brutality against Ibāḍī minority protesters demanding better life conditions.

Like years past, 2014 had moments of happiness and heartache, strength and sadness, and everything in between. Global Voices’ community of authors and editors from around the world worked hard to cover these and other important stories missed or misreported by mainstream media. Before we turn the page on 2014, let's take a look at a selection of highlights from this year's coverage.

Social media stories

Our special coverage “Dispatches From Syria: Marcell Shehwaro on Life in Aleppo” gave readers a personal glimpse of life in the heart of Syria's armed conflict, as told by blogger and activist Marcell Shehwaro. 

As Israel dropped bombs on residential neighborhoods and hospitals during its deadly offensive against Gaza over the summer, doctors tweeted the tragedy witnessed in the Strip's emergency rooms.

20-year-old Dalia al-Najjar blogged about life and death in Gaza: “I decided to devote my life to telling the story of our suffering because I felt that having survived I owe something to the martyrs.”

In Iran, women have stealthily but publicly taken off the hijab, which is mandatory in the country, and uploaded photos of themselves to Facebook and Twitter. 

In Kyrgyzstan, a woman recalled her terrifying bride-kidnapping experience for her Twitter followers. In Kazakhstan, 17-year-old volleyball player Sabina Altynbekova earned a large following online for her good looks, but the teen has turned the attention into a platform to talk about the difficulties Muslim sportspeople face fasting during Ramadan.

In India, a debate ensued on social media about the merits of sharing graphic photos of the lifeless bodies of two teenage girls hanging from a mango tree.

In Thailand, providing regular updates about the country's ever-changing situation, “coup selfies” quietly protested the military junta at a time when the army was threatening to censor social media.

And a twist on the viral #IceBucketChallenge dared people around the world to upload videos of themselves speaking in an indigenous language, such as North American languages like Kwak'wala and Lakota and the Miriwoong language from Australia.

People rising 

Thousands upon thousands of people in countries throughout the world united to challenge those in power. Frustrated Venezuelans took to the streets in the first half of the year to demand better security and relief from food shortages. Later in the year, they also protested the government's disproportionate and deadly response to the demonstrations. 

In Mexico, people continue to rally for the safe return of 43 student teachers, who went missing after their convoy was attacked, first by local police agents, and then by organized crime members. 

In Taiwan, activists who came to be known as the Sunflower Movement occupied the legislature for three weeks in April and May, after the island's ruling party approved a controversial trade bill with China without bipartisan discussion.

Months later, the pro-democracy Umbrella Revolution took off in earnest in Hong Kong, with protesters peacefully occupying the center of the city to demand that the Hong Kong and Beijing governments allow the people to choose the candidates in the next chief executive election. 

Staff from Apple Daily News showed their determination to keep the newsroom operating after the mob attack on October 13. Photo from Chan Pui Man's Facebook.

Staff from Apple Daily News showed their determination to keep the newsroom operating after the mob attack on October 13. Photo from Chan Pui Man's Facebook.

Global Voices authors stayed on top of the tumultuous situation in Ukraine, from the escalation of the #Euromaidan protests in Kyiv and the ouster of President Viktor Yanukovych, to Russia's annexation of Crimea and fighting between pro-Russian separatists and Ukrainian forces. With misinformation and propaganda swirling around the current conflict in the country's east, our special coverage “Eastern Ukraine Unfiltered” offered a series of interviews with local bloggers and citizen journalists in the region, who are playing an increasingly important role. 

And in Brazil, demonstrations against the government's massive public spending on the World Cup and forced evictions for World Cup infrastructure raged before and during the mega-event. 

Good news 

We busted stereotypes and skewed narratives about African countries throughout the year, including answering common questions about Cameroon and Madagascar

Food unites people across countries, culture and languages, and our special coverage “For the Love of Food” delved into the world's cuisine, such as Indian chefs finding success on YouTube and a guide to South Korea's street food

In Bangladesh, about a thousand Hijras celebrated the first anniversary of their recognition as a separate gender by the government with a colorful pride parade. 

In Puerto Rico, attorney Maite Oronoz Rodríguez became the first openly gay individual to be nominated and confirmed as a Supreme Court judge. 

A group of university students in Kyoto, Japan, inspired by the viral “Happy” video, reached out to their counterparts in China and Korea with a message of peace and friendship.

In Bhutan, a local campaign collects used shoes and cleans them to distribute the footwear to those who cannot afford a decent pair. 

In Colombia, a masked superhero named Super Pan rides around Bucaramanga and hands out bread and juices to homeless people on Monday, Wednesday and Friday mornings.

Super Pan on his Vespa. Screenshot taken from YouTube.

Super Pan on his Vespa. Screenshot taken from YouTube.

And five French students — a Muslim, Jew, Christian, atheist and agnostic — decided to travel the world together to raise awareness of the many interfaith projects already out there making a difference.

Injustice and strength

In Trinidad and Tobago, environmental activist Dr. Wayne Kublalsingh went on a second hunger strike to protest a proposed highway and the government's broken promises. 

Activists Maryam Al Khawajah from Bahrain and Alaa Abd El Fattah from Egypt spoke to Global Voices about their own hunger strikes while in jail. Both have been tweeting about their experiences since anti-regime protests broke out in their respective countries three years ago as part of the so-called Arab Spring. 

Global Voices author Alexander Sodiqov was finally released after being detained for five weeks by Tajik authorities, who suggested that he had been involved in espionage on behalf of an unidentified foreign government. He was, in fact, conducting research on conflict resolution as part of an ongoing collaborative project with the University of Exeter.

Nine bloggers and journalists who worked with Zone9, a collective blog that covered social and political issues in Ethiopia, remain in jail after their arrest in April. They have since been charged with terrorism and await trial.

Tunisians went to the polls in October and December as part of the final stages of the country's democratic transition following the ouster of former dictator Zine el Abidine Ben Ali in January 2011. There were complaints, however, that Tunisia's Independent High Electoral Commission made it very difficult for Tunisians abroad to exercise their right to vote.

Banuk Karima Baloch, who is the chairperson of the Baloch Student Organization, mobilizes young dissidents and separatists in Balochistan in Pakistan's southwest. She and other Baloch women have taken a leading role calling attention to the region's “missing people,” whose families accuse Pakistan’s security agencies of abducting.

Our special coverage “Fighting for Their Art Against Censorship” explored how musicians and artists around the world deal with their country's tight grip on freedom of expression. 

Image mixed by Nina Mashurova from photos from Zoe Viccaji, Sara Haider and Natasha Ejaz's Facebook pages.

How young, independent women are making a space for themselves in Pakistan's music industry. Image mixed by Nina Mashurova from photos from Zoe Viccaji, Sara Haider and Natasha Ejaz‘s Facebook pages.

As the Ebola outbreak began to spread in West Africa, we took a look at Hollywood's inaccurate portrayal of the continent in film as a place that isn't safe and is in need of a white savior.

In Lebanon, activists sent 128 tomatoes to all 128 representatives of parliament to protest against a second extension of the current members’ mandate. 

And as Serbian officials brought social media users who had criticized their flood relief efforts in for questioning, volunteers from Macedonia, Slovenia and several Serbian cities came together to rebuild roads and other basic infrastructure damaged by the historic flooding in the region.

What will 2015 bring in coverage for Global Voices? Stay tuned.

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