Time Magazine prepares a special edition every December to celebrate an important person of the year that is coming to an end. According to Reuters, the time person of the year 2011 is ‘the Protester’. The edition gives praise to all the people around the world who have taken part in a protest irrespective of their race, religion, nation, etc.
The tradition began in 1927 when the newspaper was reviewing the most important events of the year. Ever since then, Time Magazine is releasing a special issue every year nominating a person, a couple or a group “the person of the year”. While most issues relate to important contemporary figures, there were also several editions when editors nominated “The Earth” or “You” as the persons of the year. In 2010, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg was the person whose picture was placed on the cover of the newspaper.
Since there have been various protests around the world this year, it seems fair for the magazine to celebrate “The Protester”. The magazine features Kurt Andersen’s cover story about a Tunisian fruit vendor who set himself on fire in a public square and thus, inspired everyone to make a change. According to Andersen, “in 2011, protesters didn’t just voice their complaints; they changed the world” because their movements toppled dictators.
The reader is taken through a recap of the major protests that took place this year. In the editor’s opinion, the protests began in Tunisia and rapidly spread to Russia, Greece and Spain. Andersen doesn’t just mention the facts, he also analyzes them; thus, being able to understand that Twitter and Facebook played a major part in influencing protesters to voice their complaints.
Online readers voted for somebody else. The majority of them wanted Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan to be named the person of the year 2011. Others, on the other hand, thought the Argentinian soccer player, Lionel Messi should win the prize.
The newspaper usually assigns this award to personalities from America, but “The Protester” was the second exception. The first time a non-American won the prize was in 2007 when Vladimir Putin was entitled “the person of the year”. Ironically, Putin is now facing protests in his country, too.