Time magazine names ‘The Protester’ 2011 Person of the Year

Online Staff Report

Time magazine has named “The Protester” the 2011 Person of the Year.

The magazine cited dissent across the Middle East that has spread across Europe and the United States as changing the shape of global politics.

Time wrote: “In Sidi Bouzid and Tunis, in Alexandria and Cairo; in Arab cities and towns across the 6,000 miles from the Persian Gulf to the Atlantic Ocean; in Madrid and Athens and London and Tel Aviv; in Mexico and India and Chile, where citizens mobilized against crime and corruption; in New York and Moscow and dozens of other U.S. and Russian cities, the loathing and anger at governments and their cronies became uncontainable and fed on itself.”

The magazine credited 26-year-old Tunisian street vendor Mohamed Bouazizi as the individual who started the protest movement. As the magazine wrote:

It began in Tunisia, where the dictator’s power grabbing and high living crossed a line of shamelessness, and a commonplace bit of government callousness against an ordinary citizen — a 26-year-old street vendor named Mohamed Bouazizi — became the final straw. Bouazizi lived in the charmless Tunisian town of Sidi Bouzid, 125 miles south of Tunis. On a Friday morning almost exactly a year ago, he set out for work, selling produce from a cart. Police had hassled Bouazizi routinely for years, his family says, fining him, making him jump through bureaucratic hoops. On Dec. 17, 2010, a cop started giving him grief yet again. She confiscated his scale and allegedly slapped him. He walked straight to the provincial-capital building to complain and got no response. At the gate, he drenched himself in paint thinner and lit a match.” Bouazizi died as a result of his injuries.

Runners-up for Time’s 2011 Person of the Year included Kate Middleton, Duchess of Cambridge; U.S. Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Wis.; and U.S. Admiral William McRaven, who led the mission to assassinate Osama bin Laden.

The Person of the Year recognition is designed to highlight the one person or thing — good or bad — that has most influenced culture and news over the past year.

Other recent Person of the Year recipients include Facebook creator Mark Zuckerberg in 2010, Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke in 2009, President Barack Obama in 2008 and Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin in 2007.

The magazine named “You” — representing individual content creators on the Internet — as the Person of the Year in 2006.

Aviator Charles Lindbergh was named the magazine’s first Person of the Year in 1927.

Former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich, a current candidate for Republican nominee for president, was named Person of the Year in 1995.

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