Time magazine announced on Wednesday that an unnamed, collective "protester" was its person of the year for 2011 after a year that saw successful revolutions in Tunisia and Egypt as well as protests in Syria, Yemen, Spain, Russia and beyond. Time magazine named the collective "protester" around the world as its person of the year Wednesday, citing the change brought by street demonstrations from Arab countries to New York.The shared honor for protesters beat the traditional individual contenders, who included Admiral William McCraven, commander of the US mission to kill Al-Qaeda founder Osama bin Laden."There's this contagion of protest," managing editor Richard Stengel said on NBC television. "These are folks who are changing history already and they will change history in the future."
The magazine, featuring a cover photo of a female Arab protester, goes on the newsstands Friday.Last year, the magazine picked Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg, whose competitors included another 21st century communications guru, WikiLeaks maestro Julian Assange.This time, the list centered on heavyweight political figures such as McRaven, Chinese dissident Ai Weiwei, and influential Republican Congressman Paul Ryan.There were also an emotional nod for Kate Middleton, who was credited for putting a spring back in the British monarchy's step with her wedding to Prince William.
"Admiral McCraven captured bin Laden and (Middleton) captured our hearts. They represent people who affected us in one way or another who swayed the conversation -- captured our imagination," Stengel said.However, in the end, the selection committee was unanimous on backing street protesters: "the men and women around the world, particularly in the Middle East, who toppled governments, who brought democracy and dignity to people who hadn't had it before," Stengel said.Referring to the North African popular revolts, he said: "We thought 'these dictators are not going to be toppled.' And then these people who risked their lives, risked their livelihoods to go out there and brought about change that nobody had expected.
"It really is a transformational thing and I think it is changing the world for the better," he said.