'The Protester' Is Named As Time's Person Of The Year
Time Magazine has named its person of the year as "the Protester" as a tribute to the millions of people who have taken part in uprisings against perceived injustices across the world.
“No one could have known that when a Tunisian fruit vendor in a town barely on a map set himself on fire in a public square, it would spark protests that would bring down dictators in Tunisia, Egypt and Libya and rattle regimes in Syria, Yemen and Bahrain.” Rick Stengel, editor of Time Magazine said.
Revolutions in the Arab world kicked off in 2011 after 26-year-old Tunisian street vendor, Mohamed Bouazizi, set himself alight in after repeated harassment and embarrassment by corrupt officials.
Bouazizi’s protest came after authorities once again embarrassed the street vendor as he went about his work on 17 December 2010. Debt and poverty meant he couldn't afford to bribe corrupt officials and suffered from continual police harassment.
That morning, he was reportedly slapped, spat at and publicly humiliated by female municipal officer Faida Hamdi. His scales were confiscated, and when after his pleas to try and get them back he were ignored, he set himself alight.
His mother Mannoubia Bouazizi told Time: "Mohamed suffered a lot. He worked hard. But when he set fire to himself, it wasn't about his scales being confiscated. It was about his dignity."
Bouazzi’s self immolation was controversial in a Muslim country that considers suicide a sin. However one man's public protest and its utter desperation struck a chord with many across the Arab world. In January, Robert F Worth of The New York Times, wrote "How A Single Match Can Ignite A Revolution"
Time cited the collective protester and their many different stories: from rural Sidi Bouzid to the Occupy Wall Street protester in New York. They described 'the Protester' as a person that is "redefining people power." Kurt Anderson of Time Magazine explained why "the Protester" was the person of 2011:
“For capturing and highlighting a global sense of restless promise, for upending governments and conventional wisdom, for combining the oldest of techniques with the newest of technologies to shine a light on human dignity and, finally, for steering the planet on a more democratic though sometimes more dangerous path for the 21st century, the Protester is Time’s 2011 Person of the Year.
Time Magazine awards the person of the year award to whatever they feel has had the most impact on the culture and the news during the past year. Last year it was Mark Zuckerberg founder of Facebook.