What a whirlwind 2011 has been, and it ends with the stunning news of the change in leadership in North Korea.
Arab Spring started in January with the self-immolation of Mohamed Bouazizi and soon spread to many of the Middle Eastern countries and north Africa. This lead to the downfall of President Zine El Abidine Ben Ali of Tunsia, President Hosni Mubarak of Egypt, and Colonel Muammar Gaddafi of Libya (following the use of NATO military intervention). President Ali Abdullah Saleh of Yemen had to leave the country after being burned when his palace was attacked – Yemen seems to be teetering on the edge. Syria has had an uprising during the year too.
Then the earthquake in Christchurch, followed 3 weeks later by the massive earthquake and tsunami in Japan and the subsequent meltdown at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant.
May brought the news that Osama bin Laden was found and killed in Pakistan in a daring night raid by the US. A few months later, the world reflected on the 10th anniversary of the September 11 attacks.
In the summer the Space Shuttle retired and Prince William and Catherine Middleton were married in the largest wedding since his father and Diana.
The largest country in Africa, Sudan, split. Thailand suffered major floods caused over $45 billion in damage. The floods were the fourth most expensive natural disaster in the world. The world population reached 7 billion people. Steve Jobs died.
And today the news of the death of Kim Jong-il. North Korea is one of the most troubling countries of the world. It is a nuclear-armed society based on a cult of personality – and the personality just died.
2011 was be a year to be remembered. I imagine that the events of this year will have impacts far into the future.