The year of the protester

Time magazine named “The Protester” as its “Person of the Year” for 2011. Well, which “protester”? The cover of the magazine says, “From the Arab Spring to Athens. From Occupy Wall Street to Moscow”. This year has been marked with protests in many countries around the world. The year started off with protests in Tunisia where Tunisians were unhappy with their president, and forced him to step down. Protests started in some other Arab countries as well. The governments of some countries, Egypt, Libya, Yemen, and Jordan, were changed. These protests in the Arab countries have been given the name “Arab Spring”.

Some people in the United States blame the large financial institutions for hurting the country’s economy because of their greed. Over the last few years, many people have lost their jobs, homes, and savings. In September, some people gathered near Wall Street in New York and started the “Occupy Wall Street” protests. These “Occupy” protests spread to other cities in the United States and other countries as well.

Since last year, several European nations that use the currency “euro” have run into money problems because their governments spent more money than they were making. This year, many of them have been forced to reduce their spending by cutting jobs, increasing taxes, and reducing salaries. This has hurt the citizens of the countries, and has caused many protests. The prime ministers of Greece, Ireland, Italy, and Portugal have all stepped down because they lost support within their nations.

protesterTens of thousands of people protested this month in Moscow, the capital of Russia. Parliamentary elections were held earlier this month, and Russians feel the elections were not fair. The citizens of the country want to have another parliamentary elections.

Protests across the world are fairly common. However, in 2011, the nature and extent of the protests have been a strong reminder that the regular citizen can influence positions of power and cause change by getting their voices heard. Time magazine chose its Person of the Year award winner to honor the impact ‘the protester’ can have.

The Person of the Year award by Time magazine has been awarded since 1927. The award is given to individuals (or sometimes groups of people or even things) that significantly influence the world, for better or worse. There have been some interesting winners in the past that were not individuals. In 2006, the Person of the Year was “You”, as in all of us. This was to recognize the impact that user-generated information has caused because of the Internet. In 1982, the award went to the computer for the impact it was having on us. In 1988, planet Earth was the winner because our environment and its protection became a significant subject.