So another momentous year has come to an end.
It’s time to review 2011 and indulge in things like selecting the person of the year.
While there are many illustrious people in the running, if you look at the amount and volume of mass protests that have been sweeping across the globe, then you could well say that 2011 was the Year of the Common Person!
January heralds Arab Spring
Not many people had heard of the tiny country of Tunisia in northern Africa. It had hit headlines in the early 1940s when the Tunisia Campaign of the Second World War proved to be a key turning point for the Allied Forces.
After about 60 years again, it has again proved to be a key turning point in the global battle for democracy.
Tunisia taught the world a thing or two about the power of effective street protests.
Inflation. Freedom. Corruption. Unemployment.
The Tunisian people were leading a revolution for issues that struck a chord with every global citizen. It all came to a boil when an ordinary street vendor called Mohamed Bouazizi set himself on fire in protest. Demonstrations and strikes and the deaths of hundreds of people led to the ousting of both the President and Prime Minister along with the holding of new Constituent Assembly Elections later in the year.
What’s remarkable is that it proved as a catalyst for the rest of the Arab world.
Egypt. Bahrain. Libya. Cote d'Ivoire. Yemen. Syria…
The dominoes just fell and fell…
Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak was ousted after 30 years. Libyan ruler Muammar Gaddafi was removed from office and killed after being in power for 42 years, to name a couple.
Tremors have been felt in Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Kuwait, Iraq, Algeria, Oman, Morocco… It is safe to say that a new era has begun in the Arab world and the long-term effects will be known in the years to come.
It’s a rare thing when people power has oust so many rulers in such a short span of time.
Image: A french protest in support of Mohamed Bouazizi, "Hero of Tunisia" (Photo Credit: Antoine Walter/Wikimedia Commons under the Creative Commons Attribution Share Alike 2.0 Generic License)