2017 in review: The best from Talk to Al Jazeera

To say 2017 has been an eventful year for news and world events would be a huge understatement.

In Myanmar‘s Rakhine state, the persecution of Muslim Rohingya turned into what the UN has called ethnic cleansing. 

In April, opponents of Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro took to the streets, demanding immediate elections, blaming him for acute shortages and the world’s highest inflation. 

Carles Puigdemont, the former president of the Catalan regional government, was forced out of his job by the Spanish government for holding a referendum on secession that Spain had ruled was illegal. 

And on June 5 in Qatar, nationals and residents woke up to the news that Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and Egypt had cut off diplomatic and economic ties with the country.

“This is a wound that has been created for a generation, this will never be forgotten…, regardles if it lasts less or long, the wound is already very deep and people will not forget,” Qatar Airways CEO Akbar al-Baker told Al Jazeera in June.

From indigenous rights in the Amazon to Catalonia’s secession battle; Kenya’s two controversial presidential elections, ISIL and the growing refugee crisis stretching from Iraq, Libya to Europe and beyond – Talk to Al Jazeera has covered these events through in-depth interviews with key figures.

We look back on some of the most memorable interviews of 2017, and follow up with the correspondents who conducted them. 

“People were divided,” says Al Jazeera’s Mohammed Vall about Ugandan responses to his rare interview with Yoweri Museveni. 

“Those loyal to him, they felt insulted … they’re not used to see President Museveni being challenged in this manner. Those who are opposed to Museveni, on the other hand, celebrated the interview and they said the president has never been put on the spot like this, has never been pinned down and grilled in this way and they were very satisfied.” 

Vall thinks a regime change is unlikely to happen any time soon, despite the fact that Museveni will be too old to run for president the next time elections come around, according to the current constitution. 

“There is debate now in the parliament for him to be able to continue to run for office, a sixth term if it happens. So that gives you signs that the man is not willing to leave office,” Vall says. 

Step Vaessen interviewed the Indonesian Gasuki Tjahaja Purnama, also known as Ahok, months before he was sentenced to two years in prison.

The former governor of Jakarta was convicted for blasphemy over comments he made, regarding what he believed to be the misinterpretation of certain verses of the Quran.

Even though Ahok is set to stay behind bars until 2019, Vaessen doesn’t think his political career is necessarily over. 

“He will be released in 2019 which is a very important political year here in Indonesia. It will be the next presidential election. And before this whole case happened and before he went to jail, Ahok even hinted at joining this race for the presidency,” Vaessen says. 

“That seems of course quite unlikely right now, but he can still run for public office in Indonesia … It’s very likely that Ahok will still have these ambitions. He was a very passionate governor and he’s a very passionate bureaucrat.”

Look back and look ahead with us in this special episode of Talk to Al Jazeera. 

Source: Al Jazeera