31 Dec 2011

LIVE BLOG: Who changed the world in 2011?

Who changed the world in 2011? This is how you voted:
1 Mohamed Bouazizi – 57%
2 People power – 26%
3 Occupy movement – 7%

Who changed the world in 2011? Add your voice

Check out who the Channel 4 News correspondents picked below – first up, Washington Correspondent Matt Frei.

Below: Channel 4 News Economics Editor Faisal Islam explains why Angela Merkel changed the world in 2011, through decision and indecision.

Why Bill Gates changed the world. Again.
Bill Gates is not a trendy choice, writes Chief Correspondent Alex Thomson.
The question asks for an individual – not an idea, revolution or movement. So probably not the stuff of headlines in this remarkable year.
Which individual? What impact? I cannot think of any greater impact than saving lives. Lives of thousands, no tens of thousands , or possibly hundreds – and many of them children.
That individual is not a trendy choice – but in another year that demonstrated the problems of international capitalism – he demonstrates that sometimes capitalism can deliver in effective ways.

This year Bill Gates and his foundation launched radical new work with Indian scientists to attack critical diseases of malaria, TB and AIDS – all killers.
In June the same foundation was critical to launching $4.3 billion in funding for cheap drugs to be sold across developing countries at a fraction of the cost they go for in the west. Would this happen – under the GAVI agreement – without the imput of Gates? Of course not.
This big money leverage also does what politicans won’t – pressures big drug companies finally to begin delivering cheap drugs to those who need them most.
A controversial choice – not sexy, not newsworthy but nor, to our shame, are malaria ,TB and diarrohea. But this is doing what governments won’t and NGOs can’t. A hell of a lot of children are alive tonight because of it.
Follow @alextomo on Twitter.

In pictures: World-changers in 2011, from Tunisia to Wall Street

Your view:
Richard Morris writes: Tunisia is now a democracy, dictators have fallen in Libya, Egypt and Yemen, there are civil uprisings in Syria, – all started by the actions of just one man, Mohamed Al Bouazizi. No one has changed the world as much as he in 2011.

Year of the female
Tawakkol Karman changed the world in 2011, writes International Editor Lindsey Hilsum.
Few would have expected that the most prominent female leader of the Arab Spring would come from the most conservative country – Yemen. “Now is the time for women to stand up and become active without needing to ask for permission or acceptance,” she said.
She defied not only her government but also her society when she emerged as the face of the protest movement in Sanaa. Millions of other women across the Arab world were inspired by her.
She was awarded the 2011 Nobel Peace Prize, alongside Ellen Johnson Sirleaf and Leymah Gbowee of Liberia “for their non-violent struggle for the safety of women and for women’s rights to full participation in peace-building work.” At 33, she’s the youngest person ever to receive the award. Read more: Freeze assets of Yemeni president, says Nobel Prize winner
Follow @lindseyhilsum on Twitter.

Your tweets:
@AngiePedley: Tom Watson for his courage in taking on the Murdochs & their cronies

Watson v the Murdochs
Tom Watson used to be best known as the Brownite heavy who tried – and failed – to mount the “curry house” coup against Tony Blair, writes Presenter Cathy Newman.
Then came the hacking scandal. Watson, the Labour MP for West Bromwich East, has pursued News International’s misdemeanours for two years – certainly long before it was fashionable to do so.
Indeed, he was teased by parliamentary colleagues for his “obsessional” interest in the media’s sharp practices.
But now, they’re apologising for not taking him more seriously. And his persistence has changed the media and corporate landscape in Britain for good. That’s even before you recall the furore led to the departure of the Met chief and his assistant.
This time last year, Rupert Murdoch was a media colossus whose wish was Westminster’s command. Now, the News of the World has closed, a police investigation and public inquiry has opened, and the future of the Murdoch empire both in Britain and around the world is in doubt.

Much of that is down to Watson. His opponents question his motivation (like many Labour MPs he’s never been a fan of the Murdoch empire), but there’s no doubt that where others were prepared to turn a blind eye to criminality at the heart of Fleet Street, he fearlessly exposed wrongdoing on what looks like an industrial scale.
In his role on the culture select committee, Watson has winkled out inconsistencies and evasions with a forensic precision which eludes many of his parliamentary colleagues.
His efforts have won him admiration in the most unlikely quarters, with George Michael describing him as a hero. Not the word I’d use, but if you’re in the media, the police or politics, Watson has certainly helped change your world in 2011.
Follow @cathynewman on Twitter.

Egypt’s Bouazizi
Who changed the world in 2011? A man who died in the summer of 2010, writes Krishnan Guru-Murthy.
Khaled Mohammed Said was the young man whose broken body was photographed and displayed across Facebook on the “We are all Khaled Said” page set up by Google executive Wael Ghonim.
He died in disputed circumstances in Alexandria but the rumour of the time was that Egyptian security forces were responsible. He was believed to have been arrested while at a cybercafe and beaten from the start. Whatever the precise truth it sickened all who saw it and helped inspire thousands in Egypt and thousands more across the world as revolution became the desire of the people.
There are many similar stories across the Middle East of many tragically lost lives and the knowledge of who was responsible in every case helped bring about the Arab Spring. But Khalid Said was one of the first that caught my attention while covering the Egyptian revolution. For that reason he is my nomination.
Follow @krishgm on Twitter.

Above: Jonathan Rugman says Mohamed Bouazizi changed the world this year because his actions began a domino effect of revolution across the Middle East, “although he wasn’t alive to see it himself”.

Tunisian catalyst
A fruit and vegetable seller changed the world most in 2011, though tragically he was not alive to witness it – Foreign Affairs Correspondent Jonathan Rugman writes.
And with the benefit of hindsight over the last 12 months, it seems entirely appropriate that a poor young Arab like Mohammed Bouazizi should symbolise a year in which remarkable change was engineered by the anger and bravery of ordinary people across the Arab world.
Mohamed Bouazizi set himself alight on 17 December last year, outside the Governor’s office of a small town in Tunisia called Sidi Bouzid. A few weeks later I visited the spot where it happened, which had been daubed with red paint in the middle of the road and nicknamed the “place of the Martyr”.
Read more here: Why Mohamed Bouazizi is my 2011 icon.
Follow @jrug on Twitter.

Your view:
Adil writes: Perhaps the financial institutions have and continue to change the world. Sadly not for the better. Perhaps it would be nice to have financial institution bonuses to have a strong ethical component.

Jon Snow has launched his interactive quiz of the year – how many questions can you answer? Click here to take the Channel 4 2011 test

Read more: 2011 – the year of living dangerously

Your tweets:
@phaisie: The masses all over the Arab world, the Egyptian people in particular
@mtyala: Mohamed Bouazizi definitely changed the world in 2011…future generations owe this young man a debt of gratitude
@MsLupin: Tom Watson and Hugh Grant, for their work exposing Hackgate

Power to the people
2011 was the year of the people in assorted dimensions, writes Jon Snow.
From the Arab Spring – mobilising, as it did, hundreds of thousands across the Magreb and Arab World, from Algeria, Libya, Tuinisia, Egypt, Syria, to Yemen, Bahrain and Saudi. Protest was also seen in Russia, Cote d’Ivoir, and Congo – generally amid electoral challenges. Trades Unionists massed in protest in the US state of Wisconsin.
Japan’s tsunami killed more than 20,000 people, but up 300,000 were saved in their massed emergency flight from their coastal homes, surred by japan’s unique and life saving Tsunami warning system. Huge numbers involved themselves too in the rescue and restoring of the region.
Domestically, the English riots saw a socio-economic break down that saw hundreds rioting and looting, but as many out later determined to clear up after them. 2011 will rightly be seen as a pivotal year in which ‘the people’ en masse expressed themselves in widely different ways, and in ways we had not seen on such a scale in decades.
Follow @jonsnowC4 on Twitter.

From Tahrir Square in Egypt to St Paul’s Cathedral in London, 2011 has been a year dominated by people power. Channel 4 News has been looking back at the faces of a history-changing year. You can tell us who changed your life over the last 12 months via the window above or on Twitter using the hashtag #c42011. Our correspondents have picked their icons of the year – but which one had the most impact? VOTE NOW – we’ll be running the poll until Saturday 31 December.