The prestigious Time magazine accolade of Person of the Year went to â€˜the protesterâ€™ on Wednesday. Rather than any single global figure, the award sought to recognise protests in Tunisia, Egypt and Libya, Syria, Yemen and Bahrain, as well as demonstrations in Greece, Russia and the Occupy Wall Street movement.
Time defines the Person of the Year as someone who, for better or for worse, influences the events of the year.
“Is there a global tipping point for frustration? Everywhere, it seems, people said they’d had enough,” Time Editor Rick Stengel said in a statement.
“They dissented; they demanded; they did not despair, even when the answers came back in a cloud of tear gas or a hail of bullets. They literally embodied the idea that individual action can bring collective, colossal change,” he said.
n theManaging editor Richard Stengel talks with Kurt Andersen, author of our cover story, about the decision to recognize the global protest movements of 2011 in TIME’s Person of the Year issue
On almost every continent, 2011 has seen an almost unprecedented rise in both peaceful and sometimes violent unrest and dissent.
Protesters in a lengthening list of countries including Israel, India, Chile, China, Britain, Spain and now the United States all increasingly link their actions explicitly to the popular revolutions that have shaken up the Middle East.
Admiral William McRaven, head of US Special Operations Command and overall commander of the secret US mission into Pakistan in May that killed al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden, came in at second place on the Time list.
Chinese dissident artist Ai Weiwei, whose 81 day secret detention by authorities earlier this year sparked an international outcry, came in at No. 3, followed by U.S. House of Representatives Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan.
Britain’s Duchess of Cambridge, Kate Middleton, who married Prince William in April, rounded out the Time shortlist.