Time’s Person Of The Year 2013

The year 2013 is drawing to a close and the world’s media, both print and electronic make it a point to make in depth analyses to review the entire year’s events, turbulent or jubilant, negative or positive, covering wars and conflicts around the world, natural disasters, political turmoil and events and people who have made a deep impact in world affairs.

Time Magazine, one of the world’s leading newsmagazines, also publishes a voluminous last edition featuring all that transpired during the year with a very interesting theme: Time’s editorial team selects a person or group that has made the deepest and most influential impact on the world over the course of the year. The issue, aptly titled ‘Person of the Year’, selects the recipient irrespective of whether the impact has been negative or positive.

This year Time has kept its nominees under wraps but those interested in world affairs may compile their own list, which in our case runs as follows:

1. Angela Merkel

She is described as the most powerful female politician and leader in the world and the second most powerful leader after Obama. She has been instrumental in literally keeping the whole of Europe economically afloat by bailing out fiscally delinquent European nations. She has forged excellent relations with the United States and is a bridge between the US and the resurgent Russia especially when relations become strained. Germany’s economic clout has enabled her to become a powerful voice in world affairs. It would not come as a major surprise if Time accords her this honour in 2013.

2. Vladimir Putin

He is the second most powerful leader of the world alongside Angela Merkel, the leader of a resurgent Russia trying to revive the old glory reminiscent of the Soviet era. A former KGB chief, shrewd and cunning, he is a defiant leader challenging Barack Obama on the Syrian crisis and is largely responsible with support from China for warding off a military strike by Western nations on Syria. He upstaged Obama on that score and is doing his utmost to put Russia on the world stage as a reemerging superpower.

3. Hassan Rouhani

Iran’s new President Hassan Rouhani, unlike his firebrand predecessor, is a moderate and soft spoken man who with the blessing of the Grand Ayatoullah Khamanei has been instrumental in making peace overtures to the USA and Europe with regard to Iran’s nuclear programme. A deal in Geneva has put him in the forefront of world leaders.

4. Narendra Modi

He is the emerging star in India’s political horizon riding on the crest of Hindu nationalism. Modi, a firebrand leader, is the current Chief Minister of Gujarat who has been nominated by the BJP to be its candidate for prime minister in 2014.

Modi is despised and reviled by many in India. His detractors hold him responsible for the Hindu-Muslim riots in Gujrat in 2002. On the other hand he is admired for his endeavours to develop Gujrat into a modern and developed state.

5. Malala Yusufzai

She has been in the news ever since she was shot and has been receiving accolades and plaudits as well as cash awards by human rights organizations, the UN, the World Bank and the European Union. She is being described as an education activist whose goal is to promote universal education for all, especially for females, and yet many in her own country regard her with suspicion and mistrust as carrying out the agenda for the West.

She was considered too young to receive the Noble Prize although she was favorite, and was runner up to Obama as Time’s POY 2012. She may well bag it in 2013.

6. Edward Snowden

The whistleblower, the traitor, the man with a conscience: Edward Snowden. Snowden, a CIA contractor working as an analyst who defected to Russia, has literally stunned the world with startling disclosures that have blemished the image of the USA and strained relations with its allies especially Germany as Snowden has alleged that the US snooped on the phone conversation of its powerful ally Angel Merkel. If making a powerful impact on world affairs is Time’s criteria for POY then my money is on Snowden.

There are many others in the fray such as IMF chief Christine Legarde, New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, Chinese President Ji Ping, Bashar Al Assad, the Pope and Barack Obama once again.

It may be the POY may be someone completely out of the blue. Let’s wait and see.