Wednesday, December 06, 2023

The Real Person of the Year

They've done it again, as expected. Wikipedia explains

Time's Person of the Year for 2001, immediately following the September 11 attacks, was Rudy Giuliani, who served as mayor of New York City during that time. The stated rules of selection—the individual or group of individuals who have had the bigger influence on the year's events—made Osama bin Laden the more likely choice that year; however, Giuliani was selected for symbolizing the American response to the attacks, in the same way that Albert Einstein was selected Person of the Century for representing a century of scientific exploration and wonder instead of Adolf Hitler, who was arguably a stronger candidate.The selections were ultimately based on, as the magazine describes it, "who they believed had a stronger influence on history and who represented either the year or the century the most."

The ironic aspect of Giuliani as Person of the Year as that he did deserve it- but not in 2001, rather in 2020, when he appears to have played a major role in the election of Donald Trump. He received the award in 2001 in large part because of the mistaken notion- assumption- that the New York mayor reacted valiantly to the terrorist attack on the World Trade Center, instead of having laid the seeds (here and here) of a terrible response. 

Giuliani's selection in 2001 reflected the (false) representation of the Mayor as an heroic figure. Elon Musk was selected in 2021 as Time swooned he "has spent a lifetime defying the haters; now, it seems, he's finally in position to put them in their place. As the overworked saying has it, you can't buy publicity like that. 

In 2023, the publication lucked out. Vladimir Zelenskyy was (still is) both an influential and courageous leader. In 2023, there was no such option, with the finalists being Hollywood strikers and Trump prosecutors, who are not one individual but a collection; Xi Jinping and Vladimir Putin, who were no more influential this year than in years past or in years to come; Sam Altman, who left one employer for another, then returned, which is not unprecedented; Barbie, not a real person, nonetheless glorifying anorexia; King Charles III, who had no influence upon anyone- and what's up with the love of royalty we rejected 250+ years ago, anyway?

And then there was Fed chairperson Jerome Powell, tasked with reducing inflation, preferably without sparking recession. So far, so good but we don't know where it goes from here, and no one cares about Jerome Powell. 

Then, to no one's surprise, TIME selected Taylor Swift, because of course it did, and who would look better on its cover- Taylor Swift or Jerome Powell?

Nevertheless, there would have been a better- meaning "more honest"- choice than Taylor Swift or any of the others.

He was released from an Israeli prison in 2011 with 1,000+ other Palestinian prisoners for one Israeli soldier, Gilad Shalit, In Tel Aviv's fiendish and downright devilish scheme to cover up its genocidal plot to exterminate Palestinians. My choice, then, would have been Tahya Sinwar, the ex-inmate largely unknown but both extremely influential and quite popular. .On November 3, NPR noted

The deadly Oct. 7 attack on southern Israel, dragging Israeli hostages back to Gaza, and high-stakes negotiations for their release could not have happened without the approval of one secretive man.

 Yahya Sinwar, the leader of Hamas in the Gaza Strip, is widely believed to have helped mastermind the unprecedented Hamas attack that changed the course of Israeli-Palestinian history.

 He spent more than two decades behind bars in Israel, before being freed 12 years ago in a hostage ransom deal his brother helped negotiate. In early October, Sinwar outsmarted Israel with the same hostage-taking tactic — resulting in Israel's deadliest day on record.

Sinwar will likely keep holding onto Israeli captive soldiers as a bargaining chip for his bigger goal: to secure the release of all Palestinian prisoners. Israel currently jails 7,677 Palestinian "security" inmates, according to the Israeli legal aid group HaMoke. Sinwar will likely keep holding onto Israeli captive soldiers as a bargaining chip for his bigger goal: to secure the release of all Palestinian prisoners. Israel currently jails 7,677 Palestinian "security" inmates, according to the Israeli legal aid group HaMoked.

And now

"We are ready to conduct an immediate prisoner exchange deal that includes the release of all Palestinian prisoners from Israeli jails in exchange for all prisoners held by the Palestinian resistance," Sinwar said in an Oct. 28 statement.

 Opinion polls in October showed large Israeli support for such a comprehensive prisoner swap.

"When they end the war, they will make negotiations to release all the prisoners, and then it will be the biggest picture of victory in Palestinian history," says Mansour, Sinwar's former prison mate.

If Israel is foolish enough to release all the prisoners, it will be a big moment and one of tis biggest mistakes since the Jewish state released the more than 1,000 prisoners, including the immensely successful Sinwar, in 2011.

Already, though, the war engineered by the man known as the "butcher of Khan Younis (a reference to where he was reared in southern Gaza), has resulted in the violent deaths of several thousand Gazans, in addition to the slaughter and kidnapping of over 1,000 Israelis. He has exposed Israel as the only nation that has to defend itself for defending itself. In response, one research group has estimated that there were approximately 1869 "pro-Palestinian" protests in the USA alone from 10/7/2023-11/23/23. There have been similar events in dozens of nations.

That is a heady accomplishment, one larger in impact than even Taylor Swift or Barbie. The Butcher has made popular the torture and mass murder by militant and extreme fundamentalist Muslims against Jews.. Tahya Sinwar has made terrorism cool again.


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