Thursday, December 10, 2015

TIME's Person of the Year

I was watching the news yesterday morning and there was a story about Time magazine's person of the year. This year's top nominees were: Angela Merkel (the Chancellor of Germany), Abu Bakr Al-Baghdadi (leader of ISIS; former al-Qaeda mastermind), Black Lives Matter activists, transgender woman Caitlyn Jenner, Travis Kalanick (CEO and co-founder of Uber), Russian president Vladimir Putin, Iranian president Hassan Rouhani, and Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump.

The most shocking candidate to me was Abu Bakr Al-Baghdadi. How could someone who has organized so much terror be named the person of the year...? But I thought about it and did some research. I actually found out that the criterion for this award is "the person or persons who most affected the news and our lives, for good or ill, and embodied what was important about the year." ISIS has definitely impacted the world for ill. The Islamic State (of Iraq and the Levant) "has risen from an Al-Qaeda franchise to a self-proclaimed state and one of the most potent threats in the Middle East." According to data collected by the New York Times, there have been 51 attacks directly linked to ISIS since September 2014. The data also showed more than 30 arrests before an attack was able to take place. So who knows how many more attacks would have been possible? Assuming the worst, if each of those 30 individuals had planned their own attack, that would be 81 attacks in 15 months. That's around 5.5 attacks each month, or more than 1 attack each week.

I though Merkel was a random candidate, and she only narrowly beat Al-Baghdadi. Certainly Jenner, Trump, BLM, and Al-Baghdadi would have caused controversy if they had been named. Interestingly enough, 736,000 people voted online who they thought should be TIME's person of the year, and the most popular answer was Al-Baghdadi. Now I know 736k is only .002% of the United State's population of 318.9 million, and not everyone would agree. At first I was surprised to see these results, but upon further consideration, I think Al-Baghdadi definitely deserves to be named the person of the year since he has impacted our whole country and other countries in so many ways.

I'm not saying Merkel isn't deserving of this honor because she has actually done a lot for the European nations out there, but I have a feeling Time magazine gave her this award as opposed to another candidate to avoid widespread backlash from the rest of the sensitive population.


madison kahn said...

I understand what you're saying, and I think he definitely fits the criteria for nomination. However, I don't agree with the fact that he was nominated. I don't think he should have been. From what I've heard, ISIS thrives on propoganda. They willingly allow certain reporters from all over the world to come in and personally interview them and document thier actions and then allow them to return home, unscathed, to report. (I saw an interview of this type the other week). ISIS also uses twitter and other social media outlets in order to recruit members. I think that if this guy would have won this, it would have been exactly what ISIS wanted. Even the nomination is probably considered a win by them.

Antonio Imbornone said...

Not to get too political, but awarding Abu Bakr Al-Baghdadi with the person of the year award would create a huge boost of recruitment for ISIS. President Obama talks about how slowing ISIS's popularity is a key factor in stopping the terrorist organization. Though he fits the requirements for winning the award, and has definitely had the greatest impact on our lives this year, in no way should ISIS be awarded for its efforts. Keeping ISIS's growth is an important roll in slowing terrorism. Not related to english really, but I thought it was an important point.

Madison Cummings said...

I completely agree, Madison. When Abbey brought this up in class my first thought was that even being nominated is probably considered a great feat for them. Although, I also agree that, in my opinion, I would not have been surprised if Al-Baghdadi would have been elected for the major impact he has had on several countries. After reading this post, I decided to look up some of the past recipients. Some names that popped out at me were Hitler (as Mrs. Quinet had named), Stalin (who won twice), Martin Luther King Jr., and fighters of the Ebola virus. While I understand that it is for those who affect our lives "for good or ill" it is so odd to me that these people have won the same recognition, as if they have anything in common.

Madison Cummings said...

Interestingly enough I would also like to point out that we all won this award in 2006! After I did a little more browsing I found that the award was given to "you" in 2006.

"In 2006, everyone was the Person of the Year. Time gave the honor to 'You,' alluding to the millions of Internet users who contributed user-generated content to the Web.
Critics called the pick a gimmicky cop-out. After all, 2006 had its fair share of newsmakers: Venezuela President Hugo Chavez and Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad were top picks in reader polls."

So, congratulations to all of us! I mean, most of us would have been 8 or 9 at this point, so I don't recalll using the internet for much more than club penguin/webkinz... but I think that still counts.