I am me. In all the world, there is no one else exactly like me. Everything that comes out of me is authentically mine, because I alone chose it — I own everything about me: my body, my feelings, my mouth, my voice, all my actions, whether they be to others or myself. I own my fantasies, my dreams, my hopes, my fears. I own my triumphs and successes, all my failures and mistakes. Because I own all of me, I can become intimately acquainted with me. By so doing, I can love me in its’ entirety. I know there are aspects about myself that puzzle me, and other aspects that I do not know — but as long as I am loving myself, I can courageously and hopefully look for solutions to the puzzles and ways to find out more about me.
Whatever I say and do…and whatever I think and feel at any given moment in time is authentically me. If at some point I am discontent with how I looked, sounded, thought, or felt….I can discard what is unfitting; keep the rest, and invent something new.
I can see, hear, feel, think, say, and do. I have the tools to survive, to be close to others, to be productive, and to make sense and order out of the world of people and things outside of me. I own me, and therefore, I can engineer me. I am me, and I am okay with being just that.
So, I’ve been meaning to write about this for a little over a week now. There has been a lot of discussion and controversy over Time Magazine’s choice of The Protester as it’s 2011 Person of the year. I wasn’t quite sure what to really think when I first disovered this perplexing news. I found it insanely interesting how true it is from certain aspects— protests were definitely the most influential movement of 2011.
Historically Time’s person of the year has been pretty hit-and-miss with their choices, but that is their luxury. It is, after all, a magazine giving out their own honourific title; But this year, they have reinstated, without a shadow of a doubt, that their choices have become more and more American-centric than is properly reflective of a magazine that has international editions. This year, they have chosen The Protester as their Person of the Year.
Now as controversial as it is for an award meant for one person to go to a nameless, faceless, shapeless form, there is a greater misrepresentation here with which I do not agree. You would be forgiven to think that the reference of The Protester here is being made to the many who took part in what is now known as the Arab Spring. Yes, that is true. But they have conviniently grouped these individuals with The 99%, the protesters in Russia, and practically every other protest that occured in other parts of the world.
Even equating what happened in the Middle East and North Africa with what happened on Wall Street is quite possibly the most insulting comparison I can think of for those who fought and lost their lives. In essence, Time believes that all these people deserve to be the most important people of the year since they all did the same thing in the same environment to achieve the same means. The fact is that what happened in the Arab World was historic, once-in-a-lifetime, nation/region changing and such a completely alien concept to the entire region that it resulted in a complete myriad of responses all across the board simply because nobody was really quite sure on how to deal with the situation.
What happened on Wall Street was a bunch of people getting together and shouting slogans and squatting, engaging in drum circles and jazz hand exercises, which ultimately did not achieve anything because they weren’t sure what it was they were protesting against in the first place.
How can they group these two together? Three governments fell, three nations changed their history in three very different ways in the Arab Spring. These repercussions were experienced in the rest of the Arab World as governments were forced to change the way they operated and were, for the first time, severely underequipped to deal wth the situation. Suddenly anything they responded with was not good enough. In many cases the use of force was introduced which only resulted in exacerbating the situation. This is what children will read about in history books. Films will be made on this. Fables will be written of triumphant heroes, fallen villains and everything in between.
According to Time, it was a similar situation in the United States, so everybody has been honoured with the same title.
This bizarre decision by a title as respected and long-lasting as Time further proves the unbridgeable disconnect that exists between the American media and the rest of the world. It just does not make any sense. Almost as if to further drive home their severance with the rest of the world, their runners-up are William McRaven, who headed the team that assasinated Osama Bin Laden (I commend him, but honestly exactly did that change? Didn’t the Arab Spring annihilate any kind of ideological advantage that Al Qaeda had?); Ai Weiwei, the Chinese artist who received massive coverage in the Western media because he was being held by Chinese authorities; the American Republican politician, Paul Ryan who supposedly has all the answer’s to the debt crisis (but we’re still in debt, no?); and Kate Middleton, the girl who married Prince William. Wait…WHAT?!
For a title based on the influence a person has had on the rest of us, these are incredibly poor choices. Most influential was by far Mohamed Bouazizi, the Tunisian vendor who self-immolated, which in turn acted as the catalyst that changed the face of an entire region, which in turn changed the way the rest of the major powers dealt with such situations. Not The Protester. And not any of the others mentioned in their runners-up list (seriously, WHY is Kate Middleton there?).
Rename it as America’s Person of the Year and my entire preceding argument becomes null and void, but please do not expect me to agree to such shambolic and short-sighted choices that supposedly speak for the entire world. It is bad enough when incredibly biased and powerful global media outlets behave like this, but when this sort of behaviour is elicited from so-called intellectual and respected publications, it is embarrassing, humiliating and infuriating. One more nail into the quickly dwindling global importance of the United States.
There is always one person you love who becomes the complete definition of love. It usually happens retrospectively, but it does happen. This is the person who unknowingly sets the template for what you will always love about other people, even if some of these lovable qualities are sometimes self-destructive and unreasonable.
I’m not sure if the person who defines your understanding of love is not inherently different than anyone else, but they are often the person you choose to see the qualities that really make you want to love in the first place.
They win, and you can choose to win right along with them, or lose. Because for the rest of your life, they will control how you see love and how you choose to love others.