In TIME magazine's 2011 Person of the Year issue, this cover by artist
Shepard Fairey, portraits of more than 50
protestors from around the world, and an essay by Kurt Andersen:
Massive and effective street protest' was a global oxymoron
until-suddenly, shockingly-starting exactly a year ago, it became the
defining trope of our times. And the protester, once again, became a maker
of history....The stakes are very different in different places. In North
America and Europe, there are no dictators, and dissidents don't get
tortured. Any day that Tunisians, Egyptians or Syrians occupy streets and
squares, they know that some of them might be beaten or shot, not just
pepper-sprayed or flex-cuffed. The protesters in the Middle East and North
Africa are literally dying to get political systems that roughly resemble
the ones that seem intolerably undemocratic to protesters in Madrid,
Athens, London and New York City.
"Protester" is an interesting choice of language. "Activist," or "Occupier" if the focus is on America, would have also been apt.
The related "Runner-up" interview with Ai Weiwei is a great read, too. I was surprised not to see Julian Assange or Steve Jobs mentioned in this annual foo-fah; their lives and work certainly had an impact (though neither is a simple hero in my book). The former Apple CEO, who died this year after a long battle with cancer, isn't mentioned at all.
What do you think?
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