Monday, 23 August 2010

The top 10 things you might have known but probably forgot

Every month I will write a post about "The top 10 things you might have known but probably forgot." The world is always moving at a fast pace and we are bombarded with information. Deeply ensconced in our sub-conscious and in the vast place we call the "Internet" are facts or observations that we neglect but shouldn't, and that may change the way we look at things. Here are some of those:

10. The world's longest serving (republican) head of state is Leader and Guide of the Revolution, Muammar al-Gaddafi who has been in power for nearly 41 years.

9. Ten years earlier, in 1959, Fidel Castro rose to power, and the Castro brothers have retained their hold on Cuba for over 50 years while the U.S. has maintained economic sanctions on the island for most of that time.

8. Six years earlier, in 1953, marked the end of the Korean war but in a stalemate that partitioned the peninsula, and led to the birth of modern North Korea, now ruled by the then leader, Kim il-Sung's son, Kim il-Jong.

7. In the same year, the democratically elected President of Iran, Mohammad Mosaddegh, was overthrown in a CIA-orchestrated coup, leaving deep-seated anti-Americanism that resonated for decades.

6. Five years earlier, in 1948, Israel was born as a nation, which also led to the creation of a Palestinian refugee population that has not subsided.

5.  The year before that in 1947, Pakistan and India declared their independence from the British, and from one another, without resolving the issue of Kashmir.

4. Four years before that, in 1943, the leadership in Lebanon agreed on the National Pact, cementing a sectarian power-sharing framework for the country, with a Christian President, Sunni Prime Minister and Shiite Speaker of the Parliament.

3. In 1912, the Qing Dynasty fell and this marked the end of 2,000 years of imperial rule in China, which gave way to a century-long search for a new basis for power.

2. In 1893, a demarcation between Afghanistan and what is modern-day Pakistan was established called the Durand line, which cut directly across the Pashtul tribal area, living the same people on both sides of the border.

1. In 1744, Muhammad Ibn Abd al Wahhab a puritanical religious scholar, and Muhammad Ibn Saud, a tribal political leader, formed an alliance in what is now modern-day Saudi Arabia.

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