Peace and Conflict

Groundviews Person of the Year ?

A day or two ago, Time Magazine announced its Person of the Year: Vladimir Putin.

I wonder, if this audience was to make a selection, who the Groundviews Person of the Year would be?

This is how the Time Warner Inc’s publication describes its annual award:

TIME’s Person of the Year is not and never has been an honor. It is not an endorsement. It is not a popularity contest. At its best, it is a clear-eyed recognition of the world as it is and of the most powerful individuals and forces shaping that world—for better or for worse. It is ultimately about leadership—bold, earth-changing leadership.

The whole concept of a ‘person of the year’ is highly problematic, but it helps make news and create abstractions so that audiences can be made happier or angrier or just more confused.

Putin is described by Time as someone who has chosen “Order before Freedom” and suggests that despite the “significant cost to the principles and ideas that free nations prize”, the Russian President “has performed an extraordinary feat of leadership in imposing stability on a nation that has rarely known it and brought Russia back to the table of world power.”

I don’t know what’s happening in Russia. I’d be curious to know what the ‘ordinary’ Russian or the Chechen thinks about the idea of ‘stability’ in Russia. But Time Magazine has decided, and that is that.

So, who could the Groundviews Person of the Year be? Who are the most powerful individuals in Sri Lanka? Could it be Mahinda Rajapakse? Or someone totally different, like Murali. Maybe it could be the chairperson of COPE or maybe one of Sri Lanka’s courageous journalists or tireless human rights campaigners? Or is Prabakharan or Karuna or the pilot that flew the plane that droppped the bomb that killed Tamilchelvan worthy of the recognition. Maybe the award should go to the Chief Justice.

Who stands out here in Sri Lanka? Any thoughts?