Time Magazine’s Person of the Year 2011 this year recognizes the impact protesters around the world have had on their countries; PunditMom Joanne Bamberger says Time has “tapped into something” with this choice
Ronald Reagan, Mohandas Gandhi, Martin Luther King, Jr., John F. Kennedy, Adolf Hitler, Charles Lindbergh, Pope John Paul II. Those are all people who have graced the cover of TIME Magazine throughout the years after being named the publication’s “Person of the Year.” Each year editors look for the most compelling person, or the year’s biggest newsmaker. This year, “The Protester” won the title.
“I think TIME tapped into something with this choice,” said Joanne Bamberger, a political blogger who founded the blog PunditMom and the online magazine, The Broad Side, during a live political chat on genConnect Wednesday night. [Read the recap of the chat here]
“Not so much the fact of protesting, but the underlying discontent that many people have on a number of issues,” added Bamberger, also the author of the recently published book PunditMom’s Mothers of Intention: How Women & Social Media Are Revolutionizing Politics in America. “I don’t see it as a repeat of Vietnam, since many of those protests involved violence. But I think they do mirror the same level of frustration with government and lack of ability to do anything on a personal level.”
“The Protesters” TIME is referring to are those involved with the Occupy Wall Street movement, but also those who have sparked revolutions abroad – such as the Arab Spring – that have made huge political impacts in countries such as Egypt, Bahrain, Libya, Yemen, Russia, Greece and Tunisia.
“The drama of each revolution unfolded separately. Each had its own heroes, its own crises. Each, therefore, demands its own narrative,” writes TIME photographer Yuri Kozyrev, who covered the Arab Spring. “In the end, the differences between them may turn out to be more important than their similarities, however. And the common thing about all these protests is the number of young people who really want to bring changes to their country. That’s what’s most incredible. We have a new generation of people who are sick and tired of what’s going on. Call it the Jasmine Revolution, the Arab Spring or the Facebook Revolution, there’s a powerful Sirocco blowing across the world, and young people realize there’s another life and they want to live differently.”
Indeed, as TIME explains its decision, it says these global protests ushered in a new era of democracy and of citizen-led action:
“Is there a global tipping point for frustration? Everywhere, it seems, people said they’d had enough. 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. And although it was understood differently in different places, the idea of democracy was present in every gathering.
“The protests have marked the rise of a new generation.”
Tell us: What do you think of TIME’s choice for “Person of the Year 2011?”
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