Ten beginnings of 2011

Last Updated: Fri, Jan 06, 2012 14:22 hrs

The Arab Spring and India's ODI world championship tenure were not the only things that commenced in 2011.
A look at a motley list…

1. Peace in Iraq: Iraq saw a coup in 1958 and another overthrow in 1968. In 1979, the dictator Saddam Hussein came to power. That led to the Iran-Iraq War of the 1980s and the Gulf War of 1991. Finally there was the 2003 American invasion and occupation.

In December 2011, the war in Iraq was officially declared as "ended". So has a new era begun? That could well be, with the atmosphere of the Arab Spring all around and dictators biting the dust. Democracy and long-term stability could well come to Iraq for good.

2. Artificial Organ Transplants: While organ transplants have been around for ages, 2011 saw the world’s first artificial organ transplant. A patient suffering from an advanced stage of trachea (windpipe) cancer received an artificial trachea made with synthetic materials and the patient's own stem cells.
This could be the beginning of a new medical era.

3. The Country of South Sudan: It's been ages since a new country was created and 2011 saw the emergence of South Sudan with its capital Juba and a population of an estimated 8 million plus. A peace treaty was signed in 2005 and the new country formally came into effect in July.

4. Palestine in the UN: The Palestinian declaration of Independence took place in 1988 and the Palestinian Authority was formed in 1994.

In September this year, it sought to gain recognition as a State with the UN General Assembly in September.
While the Arab League backed it, the US said it would veto the move. But in October the UNESCO went ahead and admitted Palestine as a member state and raised the Palestinian flag at its headquarters in December. That’s a huge step forward.

5. The Novak Djokovic Era: At the beginning of 2011 had anyone predicted that "Joker" Djokovic would win three grand slam titles and take the No. 1 rankings comprehensively putting Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer at a distant No. 2 and No. 3; it would have been summarily dismissed. But that is exactly what happened.

However, 2012 will be a crucial year for Djokovic with Federer desperate to go out in style and Nadal seeking a comeback.

6. Arab Spring: Of course, this was the biggest beginning of 2011. On January 14, Tunisian President Zine El Abidine Ben Ali fled the country thanks to nationwide protests and that began the domino effect on all the leaders of the area.

Dictators were on the run everywhere and how much of a landmark 2011 will be for democracy will be known for the years to come.

7. World Champions India: The Aussies won three world cups in a row and dominated Tests ruthlessly during that period. While the decline began in Tests, the Aussies still won the ICC Champions Trophy comfortably.

So it was a great relief when India re-captured the ODI world crown after 28 long years. Now no matter what happens, we will be the ODI world champions till 2015. We can still recapture the Test World No. 1 crown and hope to win the T20 World Cup in this period to gun for a rare simultaneous triple.

8. Anti-Corruption: Socialism ruled till 1991. Capitalism ruled thereafter. Corruption was an ugly monster that just couldn’t be tamed. Or so people thought till 2011.

In January, the Supreme Court criticized the government over the issue of black money. Leading industrialists wrote an open letter to the government over corruption. The same month saw thousands of people march all over India over the same issue.

After that the floodgates were thrown open. The CVC chief resigned on corruption charges. The 2G A-bomb exploded. And a tornado called Anna Hazare hit the country. The long-term effects could be deep.

9. West Bengal: The Left rule ended in West Bengal after a record 34 years. From a mere 30 seats, the UPA surged to 227 seats out of the 294 member house. The Left Front crashed from 233 seats to 62.

It was a momentous change indeed. However, whether new Trinamool Congress Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee can effect a lasting change in the State or not, remains to be seen.

10. New Global Bowling Attack: Cricket has seen newer and newer batting stars in the last few years, but new bowling talents were rare. Not so in 2011.

Half-a-dozen bowlers across the world made their Test debuts with 5-wicket hauls.

South African Vernon Philander outshone his team-mate Dale Steyn, who has been the world’s leading bowler for many years now.

India also got new spin twins in the form of R Ashwin and Pragyan Ojha.

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The author is a Bangalore-based journalist and blogger. He blogs at http://sunilrajguru.com/