As expected, Time Magazine announced its choice for “The Time Person of the Year 2011”, which came as a surprise, since we’ve been used to having people with names we are usually familiar with. Last year, it was Mark Zuckerberg who got the honor and two years ago it was Ben Bernanke, but this year’s Time Person of The Year is dedicated to The Protester.
The unusual choice makes sense once you start to recall all the mass protests this year saw, and not only throughout the United States. The Time dedicates its honor this year to all of those brave enough to speak their minds and change mentalities.
Jim Frederick, international editor for Time, explains why The Protester: “For the past 20 to 25 years, almost a full generation, protest had stopped being a really viable way to change the political order”, that is until 2011. All of the sudden, “almost out of nowhere, all across the globe, you have a global mass market protests”. From Russia to London, Wall Street and all across the Middle East, “the protest has become one of the ways people are actually taking back political power”.
Time features a thorough cover story of the protests that took place this year starting with the Arab Spring, moving on to Spain and Greece, Russia and Congo to Occupy Wall Street. The magazine writes: “No one could have known that when a Tunisian fruit vendor set himself on fire in a public square, it would incite protests that would topple dictators and start a global wave of dissent”. This year, “protesters didn’t just voice their complaints; they changed the world”.
Time Managing Editor Richard Stengel explained “there was a lot of consensus among our people” regarding the choice.
The cover of the magazine speaks for itself. Shepard Fairey, the artist behind it, is most famous for his Obama poster, which made him one of GQ’s Men of the Year. This year’s Person of the Year cover is representative for protesters across the world. As The Chicago Tribune writes, “Time’s Person of the Year resides in the Middle East, here in Chicago and in pockets or roiling discontent between”.