A reminder in brief of the tumultuous news schedule of the year passed. 2011 saw news churned out globally at such a rate that had viewers transfixed to their TV screens, computers and phones for constant updates. In no order of importance or calendar chronology, Al Bawaba offers you its very own review in montage of the year in two parts: one slideshow can only go so far in a premium period that saw news editors doubling their efforts to keep abreast of the regional output alone, not neglecting the turbulent world beyond the Middle East.
In this year of non-stop, often traumatic news, nature behaved unpredictably as did the world's people it turned out. They 'turned out' en masse in public squares and streets to protest against unpopular regimes and dictatorships, as well as unjust financial systems. They created a storm of people power to shake up the system-- employing incidentally largely peaceful means of demonstration- to match the gale-force weather storms that swept across the continents.
In a year forecast by some to be the last for human existence, the events of 2011, rich in doom and gloom, seemed to foreshadow eschatologically monumental tidings for 2012.
People and news vied to be seen out protesting, to be recorded and heard, to be 'Face-booked' or Tweeted.
The year 2011 was an outpouring of anger - whether from the people railing against old regimes, or by the Heavens or Mother Nature spewing forth at all and sundry, the unlucky victims, it seemed.
The Middle East still held center stage come rain or shine (and 'boy' did it rain). The Arab peoples hogged the headlines with their crises. Long-reigning Arab dictators were challenged, floundered and eventually toppled, or else survived the year through but only by a hair. The region even got its share of inclement weather and disaster, including flooding in Jeddah, and the terrible earthquake of Turkey.
But globally too, erratic weather matched unexpected rebellion. Australia, New Zealand, Thailand, Japan and Turkey as well as the United States found themselves unprepared for the forces of nature unleashed in earthquake, tornado or typhoon. Japan's Tsunami caused the largest scale devestation of the year (see Part 2) leaving the world aghast and humbled by the loss of entire communities.
Spoilt for Choice by Arab revolts:
Al Bawaba did not know where to look this year, cause turn its attention to one country, and another one would steal back the headlines with a toppling leader maybe-biting the dust. Record traffic to the website spoke volumes, including hot keyword-generated searches within the site, with Hosni Mubarak commanding1577 article mentions, Muammar Gaddafi attracting a good 1398 references and Bashar al-Assad rustling up1253 citings in relevent articles.
On a positive note or two, people are nominating Mohamed Bouazizi as the man who changed the world in 2011. A Yemeni protestor earnt the region and Arab women a Nobel Peace Prize.
And let's not forget that some of the saga stories of 2011 have only just started. A leader's fate is by no means a forgone conclusion. Though regional patterns have emerged, the twists and resolutions of these tales of the unexpected remain to be explored during the following year. And no doubt, the element of surprise will not disappear just because we have departed from 2011. Of that we can be sure.