The Times newspaper in London has named Mohamed Bouazizi of Tunisia as its person of the year, saying his self-immolation inspired uprisings that toppled dictators across the Arab world.
Mr Bouazizi, 26, unemployed, set himself alight on 17 December after his grocery cart was confiscated and he was slapped and insulted. He died from his wounds in early January.
While Mr Bouazizi was no revolutionary, the newspaper says that his lonely protest served as the catalyst for a wave of revolts that have transformed the Middle East.
His death from his wounds in January prompted protests across Tunisia, forcing President Zine Al-Abidine Ben Ali to flee the country.
TIME magazine's person of the year accolade went to protesters around the globe.