From “apocalypse” to “tomato soup”, a look back at the words that marked the news in 2022

(AFP) – From apocalypse to tomato soup, a look back at 10 words or expressions that marked the news in 2022.

+ Apocalypse

With the war in Ukraine and the more or less explicit threats from Vladimir Putin, the possibility of nuclear war, or at least a tactical nuclear strike, has reappeared in the public debate as never in decades.

“We have not faced the prospect of an apocalypse since Kennedy and the Cuban Missile Crisis” in 1962, summarizes US President Joe Biden in early October.

Faced with Moscow, the powers also endowed with nuclear weapons are forced to ask dizzying questions about their deterrent capacity and their possible response.

+ Authentication

The blue tick that certifies the identity of the holder of an account on Twitter alone illustrates the cacophony that has reigned on the social network since its takeover at the end of October for 44 billion dollars by billionaire Elon Musk.

After launching a paid version of profile certification, the social network was forced to suspend the new system after barely two days: for lack of identity verification, many accounts pretended to be those of celebrities or large businesses, from basketball player LeBron James to Nintendo. At the end of November, new announcement: Twitter will soon launch gray, gold and blue badges to distinguish the different types of authenticated accounts on the platform.

+ “Woman, life, freedom”

The slogan of the Iranian demonstrators, which has become one of the symbols of the revolt which broke out after the death on September 16 of Mahsa Amini, a young woman arrested in Tehran by the morality police.

It has been taken up in almost daily gatherings and very violently repressed since his death, displayed in messages of support on social networks, in Iran and abroad, and even displayed on a banner in the stadium during the first match of the Iranians at the World Cup.

+ A4 sheets

Many Chinese voiced their opposition to the government and its strict “zero Covid” policy in late November, using creativity to circumvent censorship and show their anger and support for the protests.

In several cities, including Beijing, protesters held up white sheets of A4 paper as a sign of solidarity, in reference to the lack of freedom of expression in China. Others also posted white squares on their WeChat profile.

+ London Bridge

From the announcement of the death to the funeral protocol and the conditions of accession to the throne of his successor, the London Bridge operation (London Bridge) planned step by step the unfolding of events after the death of Queen Elizabeth II, deceased at 96 years old after 70 years of reign on September 8.

Adjusted to the millimeter for years, frequently revised, it however had to be adapted at the last moment, the sovereign having died in Scotland, far from the British capital.

+ “Loss and damage”

After a year 2022 which sadly illustrated the acceleration of the catastrophic impacts of global warming, the UN climate conference finally resulted in an agreement described as “historic” on the implementation of a fund intended to compensate for the climate “losses and damage” already suffered by the poorest countries.

Adopted almost on the sly in the middle of the night when the subject was not even on the agenda of a COP27 with otherwise rather contrasting results, this measure had been demanded for a long time by the most modest nations. Fearing in particular to admit any legal responsibility, the rich countries, large historical emitters of greenhouse gases, refused to do so for years.

+ Post-fasciste

A century after Benito Mussolini came to power, the victory of the far-right Fratelli d’Italia party in the legislative elections at the end of September enabled its leader, the Roman Giorgia Meloni, to become the first woman to lead the Italian government.

Presented as “post-fascist”, she has never ceased since her election to try to reassure. “I have never had any sympathy or closeness to anti-democratic regimes. For any regime, including fascism,” stressed the woman who was an admirer of Mussolini in her youth.

+ “Roe v. Wade”

In a historic about-face, the very conservative Supreme Court of the United States buried in June the emblematic judgment “Roe v. Wade”, dating from 1973, which guaranteed the right of American women to abortion but had never been accepted by the religious right.

His decision brought the United States into a “post-Roe” world, where each state is free to authorize or not voluntary terminations of pregnancy on its soil.

Fifteen have already banned them and epic political and legal battles are continuing elsewhere, testifying to the passions still aroused by the issue of abortion in the country. The results of the recent midterm elections, however, gave abortion advocates the opportunity to rejoice in several victories, including for example in the very conservative state of Kentucky where voters rejected a referendum hostile to the right to abortion.

+ Sobriety

Lower the heating, put on turtlenecks, limit the use of electrical appliances…: in the midst of an energy crisis, against a backdrop of war in Ukraine and the desire to get rid of dependence on Russian gas, calls for energy sobriety have multiplied, particularly in Europe.

Aiming to avoid cuts and breakdowns, also falling within the context of the fight against global warming, this much vaunted sobriety is also for many consumers an economic necessity, in many countries hit hard by inflation.

+ Tomato soup

Van Gogh’s “Sunflowers” sprinkled with tomato soup in London, Claude Monet’s “Meules” covered with mashed potatoes near Berlin, a BMW repainted by Andy Warhol sprinkled with flour in Milan…: the end of the year has been marked by punching actions by environmental activists targeting works of art to alert public opinion to global warming.

Protected by glass – on which others stuck their hands, like the one covering the famous “Girl with a pearl earring” by Vermeer – the works were not damaged. These actions, and others carried out by these activists, such as the interruption of sports competitions or the blocking of roads, aimed to relaunch the debate around the climate, even if it meant turning a part of public opinion upside down.

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