A Nobel prizewinner, he is also an example of someone who broke out of his familial and economic circumstances to come to study in Britain - studies that in turn have changed people's lives. By signing up for this email, you are agreeing to news, offers, and information from Encyclopaedia Britannica. On his return to the UK, the government took his passport, based on what the US military tortured out of him. Omissions? Dalai Lama - Buddhist spiritual leader Geoffrey McDade, Montreal, Canada, An international intellectual figurehead for opposition against American hegemony. Even then, Suu Kyi's uncompromising principles provoked admiration but irritation, too. Tony Blair insists that we may not question the integrity of those involved, only their judgement. In 2001, he wanted to help the destitute in Afghanistan. Superheroes have their antecedents in the semidivine heroes of myth and legend. This is an alphabetically ordered list of superheroes. As the UN high commissioner for human rights, she fought the idea of a trade-off between security and civil liberties. One of the world's richest men - and one of its greatest philanthropists through the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. The Tories have now accepted that agenda, although they will find it very hard to sell to a large section of their core supporters. On 4 September 1997, his daughter Smadar, aged 14, was killed by a Palestinian suicide bomber. Jose Rizal. She could seek refuge abroad, where adulation awaits her, but she chooses to stay, even to death. Amartya Sen - Nobel laureate Along with her friend and ideological soulmate Ronald Reagan, Thatcher changed the failing policy of détente with communism into the confrontational one that eventually brought down the Berlin Wall in 1989. See also Dark Horse Comics, Marvel Comics, and DC Comics. Nationally, too, he has had a formidable impact. Pablo Neruda, in a celebrated poem, envisaged a meeting with the shade of Simón Bolívar, the 19th-century soldier who liberated Latin America from Spanish colonial rule. I don't believe Blair acted in bad faith. In 1950, when Tenzin Gyatso (known to his followers as Kundun or, in the west, the 14th Dalai Lama) was just 15, Chinese troops invaded Tibet. 2.5k voters. 14 Real Life Heroes Who Have Changed The World . First female president of Ireland who calls herself the "awkward voice", Mary Robinson was David to the US government's Goliath, challenging its assault on democratic rights in the "war on terror". Uses many public platforms - including the Lords - to argue for social justice, At a time when our government increasingly regards individual civil rights as merely an administrative inconvenience, to be ignored wherever possible, her moral bravery and strong voice are a true beacon. In this increasingly grubby world of expedient and violent politics, the miracle is not that Suu Kyi survives but that she continues to matter so much. To the shipyard workers at Gdansk in 1980, he was "one of us" - a jobbing electrician with all the human weaknesses, who was adored for his cheek and cunning but who never asked to be trusted unconditionally. They soon discovered what the state had known all along - that he had little new to add. Several Russian officers who served in Chechnya, gaining reputations for their extreme cruelty, promised to kill her for naming them in an article. K Pritchard, Ludlow, Shropshire, 26. Peter Cleasby, Middlesbrough, 47. Shami Chakrabarti - Civil liberties campaigner That only two or three journalists in all of Russia have refused to toe the official line on this war underlines just how brave Politkovskaya is. Founded the Virgin brand, now rocketing into space, For his creativity and pioneering spirit. Bono - Rock-star activist 3. On his return to the UK, the government took his passport, based on what the US military tortured out of him. 24. hero Hero , in literature, broadly, the main character in a literary work; the term is also used in a specialized sense for any figure celebrated in the ancient legends of a people or in such early heroic epics as Gilgamesh, the Iliad, Beo wulf, or La Chanson de Roland .… Award-winning economist and writer on poverty, welfare and development, Amartya Sen has had a profound impact on the global understanding of the economics of poverty. Xiahou Dun was captured by enemy forces while attempting to save his family. Professor of linguistics, critic of US foreign policy, advocate of free speech, How many political activists can also claim to be world-renowned in another field? Bill Clinton - US president, 1993-2001 The Bush administration's PR machine is still intent on proving he is an Islamic extremist. As so often, Bush and Blair are wrong. Blair has guided Labour to three successive electoral victories. The 1992 election victory was largely down to her legacy rather than the non-leadership of her absurd successor, John Major. He is timeless and relentless in championing the underdog, particularly the oppressed people of the third world. Len Hoggan, Falkirk, He uses his fame bravely. Anna Politkovskaya - Russian journalist But I would defy anyone to find a political leader who hasn't. The grizzled rock-poet had other supporters, too, and is the highest-placed artist in our list - if you exclude Bob Geldof, who is obviously not there for his work with the Boomtown Rats. Agree or disagree? A Barr, Saltburn, Cleveland, A tireless campaigner for social justice and peace within a democratic framework. In all her books and articles, Politkovskaya asks the same question: "Where are you going, Russia?" Lech Walesa was conceived in a Nazi labour camp, where his father was so badly starved and beaten that he died shortly after being released. Neal Ascherson, 45. Peter Tatchell - Gay-rights campaigner He is idealistic and driven to make a difference where he can - qualities that are lacking in most "celebrities". The Labour Party probably would have won under John Smith in 1997 - and yet, without the ideological changes Blair pioneered, such a landslide would have been unlikely. Richard Branson - Billionaire entrepreneur Democrat who did wonders for Northern Ireland, as well as Monica Lewinsky, He made a better job of running the world's most powerful country than his predecessor or his successor, and still had time for a little fun! Turned the tide in the Hundred Years' War. Heralded abroad as a prisoner of conscience and a courageous voice for peace, he is still widely regarded as a traitor at home in Israel. There needs to be a Palestinian state. "I am proud of what I did. He is very aware of the next generation and is constantly pushing for advances and improvements in the Microsoft offering. He is a polymath whose expertise ranges from the origins of Indian cuisine, through gender studies, public health and moral philosophy, and beyond to the economics of peace and war. Despite being attacked, physically and verbally, he has never allowed himself to be bullied into silence. But you'll find people who really did exist - people who made their mark on history. Founded the Carter Centre, which is dedicated to alleviating poverty, For monitoring free elections worldwide, securing the Camp David accords between Egypt and Israel, building houses for the homeless through Habitat, and fighting disease. 5 Margaret Thatcher - British Conservative prime minister, 1979-90 Daniel Barenboim - Pianist and conductor Extensive educational "missions", medical outreach programmes run by 20,000 Cuban doctors and cheap state supermarkets are examples of what is possible in a third-world country that chooses to direct its resources to the benefit of its people. The answer is none at all. Ice-cream chemist who became Iron Lady; still dominates British politics years after leaving office. Vietnam, Nicaragua, Bosnia, Afghanistan, Iraq: the truth was not hidden because he revealed it. Yet more than that, he has eluded the bondage of celebrity to remain forever himself. "We allowed there to be massive innovation on the hardware side and massive innovation on the software side." I first met her in 1974 at a dinner, where she gently criticised the North Vietnamese forces for their cruelty to prisoners. Noam Chomsky - Writer Black Friday Sale! Elizabeth II - Queen 2. I once heard him change policy three times in one speech as he felt that opposition was gathering. Tim Symonds, Burwash, East Sussex, 35. Pete Hewitt, Oldham, 44. Brian Haw - Peace campaigner "I am neither a traitor nor a spy," he said. This was the end of Walesa's heroic period. Photo: uploaded by Polar Bear. Former BBC2 controller and foremost nature documentary-maker, He has worked hard for wildlife and the environment, and he has won the support of millions of people for the cause of conservation. Lead singer of U2 and vocal campaigner for developing-world debt relief, For raising awareness of charities from Amnesty International to the Chernobyl Children's Project, and for helping reduce developing-world debt through earnest campaigning and discussions with heads of state. His father was a rabbi; the family of 12 children emigrated from Morocco to Israel in 1963. He is the object of devotion - and of vilification. In Russia you could be severely punished. Advises charities on protecting children from the dangers of the web, The person who has single-handedly done the most to make the internet a safe place for children. Emily Dearden, London W7, 43. The US would almost certainly have invaded whether Britain was involved or not. The Bush administration's PR machine is still intent on proving he is an Islamic extremist. William Wallace. Erica Price, Oldbury, Gloucestershire, 37. Persecuted for exposing his country's nuclear weapons programme. The heady idealism of post-colonial liberation sustains her still. The Americans fear his influence in Latin America, but maybe his ambitions lie further afield. Andrew Roberts, 6. After Vanunu's release in 2004, the Israeli authorities made public the recordings of him being interrogated. Or were they more like you and me? For his followers in Tibet, these epithets tend to confirm his claim to moral leadership. Fidel Castro - President of Cuba He travels all over the country, and increasingly the world. But his real delight was horse-trading, making rapid deals and compromises behind the scenes. He's made such a huge difference to so many people's lives in the third world, but he is also a true inspiration for people of all walks of life all over the world. 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