To say the least, October of 2017 has been one of the most eventful months to date. From political, environmental, and social affairs, there is a lot to interpret and evaluate.
To begin locally, on October 8th, wildfires spread across Northern California (primarily in the wine country), and have since devastated the area. A total of 41 fatalities have been reported, and the fire prompted roughly 100,000 people to evacuate their homes. The fire is now under control, but the effects of the fire are still intact as many struggle to rebuild their lives.
On October 1st, Catalonia held a referendum to secede from Spain and become their own state. In Barcelona, hundreds of thousands attended a rally against Catalonia’s declaration for independance. The silent majority gathered to promote unity within their country, and also to show their disapproval towards Catalonia’s decision to secede because they believe it will divide the country.
On October 29th, in several French cities, women gather in protest of sexual harassment in response to the Harvey Weinstein scandal, where the film mogul allegedly had a history of sexually assaulting a number of women. This event has sparked a upheaval in the women's right movement, especially in France. French government is passing a law to make it illegal to harass women on the streets, and it will be punishable by fines. The hashtag #metoo has been trending around social media, where women share their stories of sexual assault in hopes of spreading awareness.
In Bangkok, Thailand, on October 26th, a mass funeral was held for the death of the monarch, King Bhumibol Adulyade. The cremation and ceremony lasted for 5 days, as citizens came and went to show their loyalty and admiration for their leader. On Thursday night, the Monarch’s son (and successor) lit the pyre, which is a structure built to depict the center of the Hindu universe. The tragic death of the Monarch leaves Thailand in grief, and also puts a close to his 70 year reign.
An anti-Muslim, anti-immigrant party won the Austrian election on Sunday, October 15th. The leader of the Austrian party, Sebastian Kurz is a right-wing conservative, and is now the youngest chancellor in Europe. While some consider Kurzs’ policies xenophobic, supporters of the Conservative People’s Party are in favor of his strict foreign policy because it will aid border control.