This has been the year of the protester. One brilliant man who shook an autocratic system in an earlier age died on Sunday.
Vaclav Havel was one of the leaders of the Velvet Revolution that toppled communist regimes across East Europe in 1989. He had served notice to autocrats in a searing essay published in 1978, The Power of the Powerless. An autobiographical book of interviews was aptly titled Disturbing the Peace.
The power of the powerless was on display in 2011: Wael Ghonim in Egypt, Tawakkul Karman in Yemen, Camila Vallejos in Chile, Ai Weiwei in China, and thousands of other activists who the world had not known of a year ago. Better known is the remarkable Aung San Suu Kyi, who finally brought the generals who rule Myanmar to the negotiating table.
Havel argued that repressive regimes live off lies, but there will be a time when the individual will stop accepting the lies. We saw that this year.