We didn’t expect 2020 to be such an unfortunate year. The bushfires in Australia continued, the Covid-19 outbreak became a pandemic, people kept being victims of discrimination in “developed” countries… Through all of this, we have been talking about various forms of the same question: “Is 2020 a dystopia?”

A way to answer this question can be looking at the dystopian movies. Dystopias often reflect corrupted future societies and try to make us aware of today’s problems by scaring us.

We have spent most of our time indoors in 2020. Countries went under lockdowns, social-distancing became significant. For quite a while, streets, shops, landmarks were emptier than ever. This reminded me of the 2007 movie “I am Legend”.

I am Legend” is set in a post-apocalyptic New York where human-kind is whipped out after a virus aiming to battle cancer leads to a plague. Throughout the whole movie, we see the abandoned cities, wild animals roaming around, the grown plant life. Sounds familiar? Well, just a little bit. Social-distancing didn’t come to an extreme point that created a post-apocalyptic scenery, but the past months were still unusual for us.

Let’s move on to the second topic: Climate change. Not surprised? Probably, it’s because climate change wasn’t any special to 2020 but we continue to see the different impacts of it every day. We got used to the idea of ”hotter summers, colder winters”, however, this wasn’t the case for some places. It was the coldest summer of Norway in 30 years, Canada Day was the coldest of the decade…

Bong Joon Ho’s 2013 movie “Snowpiercer” is the one that has it all. In this dystopian movie, a climate change experiment goes wrong, creating a new ice age. In the real world, scientists have been discussing the possibility of climate change leading to a new ice age. Even though our world isn’t frozen yet, we are slowly starting to see the dystopian future that climate change might bring.

Finally, there is the black lives matter (BLM) movement. BLM isn’t anything bad, but what brought us to it is. We are seeing the impacts of any kind of discrimination anywhere still in the 21st century. We fight against its sources just like in 2005 movie “V for Vendetta”. And yes, it is not just about anonymous. 

V, the protagonist of the movie, is a freedom fighter that stands up against the totalitarian government and the police brutality towards innocent people. People join V by wearing his mask and try to act against the oppressive figures. In 2020, BLM has also become a way for people to demand equality for black people and try to stop the systemic racism. Just like V’s mask, the fist logo became a symbol of their voices.

(Fun fact: “V for Vendetta” is set in 2020.)

2020 might have some similarities with a few dystopian movies, but this doesn’t mean that we are living in one. If you don’t want the answer to be yes to the “Are we living in a dystopia?” question, the best way is to be aware of things that are happening and try to help solve issues with your existing capabilities.

Edited by Nil Üzer.

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