TIME Magazine awarded George W. Bush its Person of the Year twice, in 2000 and 2004. Bill Clinton won it twice, in 1992 and 1998, when he shared the magazine’s award with Kenneth Starr. George H.W. Bush graced the cover, Ronald Reagan earned it twice, even Jimmy Carter was named Person of the Year when he assumed the office of the presidency in 1976.
Presidents and TIME go hand in hand. So it comes as no surprise that Barack Obama was named TIME Magazine’s Person of the Year for the second time of his presidency. Arithmetic: Liberal media plus centrist president equals a very conservative choice. At least the cover’s cool:
The more interesting choice would have been the runner-up, Malala Yousafzai, a 15-year-old Pakistani girl with more courage, heart and determination than just about anyone on this earth right now. Read this.
In trying, and failing, to kill Malala, the Taliban appear to have made a crucial mistake. They wanted to silence her. Instead, they amplified her voice. Since October her message has been heard around the world, from cramped classrooms where girls scratch out lessons in the dirt to the halls of the U.N. and national governments and NGOs, where legions of activists argue ever more vehemently that the key to raising living standards throughout the developing world is the empowerment of women and girls. Malala was already a spokesperson; the Taliban made her a symbol, and a powerful one, since in the age of social media and crowdsourced activism, a parable as tragic and triumphant as hers can raise an army of disciples.
She has become perhaps the world’s most admired children’s-rights advocate, all the more powerful for being a child herself. Her primary cause — securing Pakistani girls’ access to education — has served to highlight broader concerns: the health and safety of the developing world’s children, women’s rights and the fight against extremism. Former British Prime Minister Gordon Brown, who is now the U.N.’s special envoy for global education, declared Nov. 10 Malala Day in honor of her and the more than 50 million girls around the world who are not at school. Nearly half a million people have signed petitions on Change.org to nominate her for the Nobel Peace Prize. That is not how the Taliban intended things to turn out.
Amazing. THAT’S the Person of the Year. Read this. She is amazing.