2011 - Full of events

The Arab Spring/Uprising

The Arab uprising can easily be the first on the list of top events in 2011. Revolutions or massive protests were predicted in many countries in the Middle East as the levels of corruption and dictatorship reached unprecedented levels. It all began in Tunisia were Mohamed Bouazizi, a street vendor sat himself on fire in December 2010 after municipal police forces confiscated his merchandise and humiliated him. This started huge protests and riots throughout Tunisia demanding democracy and social justice that ended with President Zine El Abidine Ben Ali to resign after 23 years and flying to Saudi Arabia.

The Egyptian protestsCredit: By Mezo.Egyptians were inspired and tension was already building up due to corruption, emergency law, police brutality, unemployment, rigged elections and economic troubles. Police brutality was a major cause of protests throughout Egypt after police officers killed Khaled Saeed, a young Egyptian who was beaten to death in the street. Photos of Khaled Saeed spread all over the internet and media, a facebook page called "We are all Khaled Saeed" was created and was a major participant in calling for a revolution on the 25th of January, 2011 which is the National Police Day in Egypt, the facebook page has over a million followers. The protesters had unified demands: for Hosni Mubarak to step down and calling for "freedom, social justice and dignity", secular, Islamic and Copts, Egyptians from different political backgrounds took to the streets with all the major opposition movements in the country. The success of the Tunisian uprising has given a great momentum for the Egyptian revolution, which still haven't achieved all of its goals yet. The Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak resigned on the 11th of February after weeks of determinant protests and strikes all over the country that resulted in over a thousand killed and thousands injured.

Yemen and Syria followed later but are still struggling until the time of writing this article (Nov 2011) after months of violent protests and clashed between civilian protesters and police and army forces.  The Libyan revolution wasn't all peaceful as the Libyan president Colonel Muammar al Qaddafi has turned it into a civil war after his forces confronted violently with protests leading to conflicts and many of the Libyan army soldiers and leader joining the protests that developed into a rebellion later on. Muammar Qaddafi was killed on the 20th October 2011 after many violent battles with the revolutionaries.

The world's population reaches 7 billion

According to the UN estimations, the world's population has reached 7 billion people on October 31, 2011. In 1999, the world reached a population of 6 billion.

The death of Osama Bin Laden

On the 2nd of May, U.S. president Barack Obama announced that Bin Laden, head of Al-Qaeda was killed in Operation Neptune Spear by the U.S. special forces in Pakistan, he was buried later in the sea. Al-Qaeda confirmed the news and promised to take revenge.

The news was welcomed by the majority of the western public opinion and governments. Amnesty International has questioned the ethical aspect of the operation and why he wasn't captured alive. The U.S. and its allies had tried to kill or capture Osama Bin Laden multiple times before that, as during 2001 when he was thought to be hiding in the mountains of Tora Bora.

Japan earthquake and tsunami

Japan's tsunamiCredit: By U.S. Marine Corps photo by Lance Cpl. Garry Welch [Public domain], via Wikimedia CommonsIt was a magnitude 9 undersea earthquake, the "Great East Japan Earthquake" on 11 May 2011 was the most powerful one to hit Japan in modern history. The earthquake also led to huge Credit: By U.S. Marine Corps photo by Lance Cpl. Garry Welch [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commonstsunami waves that resulted in more than 15,000 deaths, thousands of injuries, massive destruction and several nuclear accidents.


The spread of Occupy Wall street (OWS) movements

Started in New York City on September 17, 2011 by activist group Adbusters in the U.S. to protest social and economic inequality and spread to many cities in the U.S. and to more than 900 cities all over the world after that.

The protesters used the slogan "We Are The 99%" to imply the concentration of wealth in 1% of the U.S. population. The "Occupy" protests spread worldwide to Sydney, Birsbane, Vienna, Brussels, Toronto, Berlin, Rome, Auckland, New Plymouth, Dublin, Prague, London, Warsaw and many other cities.

Gilad Shalit prisoner swap deal

In 2011, Israel and Hamas reached an agreement to swap the captured Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit with 1027 Palestinian prisoners on two phases. The deal was signed in Egypt on 11 October 2011. This is the biggest prisoner exchange Israel has done till now. Shalit was imprisoned for about 5 years.

The separation of South Sudan

South Sudan was separated from Sudan on July 9 201 after a referendum that took place on January (The Independence Referendum). 98.83% voted for independence from Sudan.

Queen Elizabeth II, Queen of the Commonwealth RealmCredit: By NASA/Bill Ingalls[Public domain], via Wikimedia CommonsThe British Royal wedding

It is believed to be one of the most watched event in history, the wedding of Prince William, Duke of Cambridge and Catherine Middleton at Westminster Abbey in London on 29 April 2011. It was estimated that about 2 billion people worldwide have watched the celebrations,the wedding, and the kiss the number may be inaccurate but we know for sure that millions of people watched the wedding on TV or online. After the wedding, Catherine has become Her Royal Highness The Duchess of Cambridge.
Also, in 2011, Queen Elizabeth II became the 2nd longest-reigning British Monarch with 59 years as queen.