Over the weekend, I had a little fun with Time Magazine’s choice of Person Of The Year. I agree with Mitchell; this is going on my resume, and they’ll get the award away from me when they pry it from my cold, dead fingers. But since then, I’ve had a bit of time to think about the whole notion, and I’ve come up with my own idea who it should have been.
Now, Time says that the award is NOT one of honor or praise or distinction, but a simple recognition of the individual who has had the greatest effect on the news over the last year, for better or worse. In that spirit, past “winners” have included Hitler and Stalin. That first led me to think of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, the president of Iran. But that seemed too limiting, so I expanded my notion a little.
Here’s my idea for Person of the Year: A photo like this one, with the caption “The Mosque Militant: The Militant Islamist.”
To be perfectly fair, the militant Islamists didn’t do much more over the last year than they have over the past few years, but it’s been building for a while. Just look at a list of current conflicts: of the 21 conflicts listed, at least half of them involve Muslims on one side — if not both.
And if you factor in likely future conflicts, the numbers get worse. The struggle between Lebanese who want to be free and Syrians who want to keep them as vassals is still claiming lives. Iran is fomenting trouble in Iraq and threatening to export its own form of militant Islam.
I read a while ago that Islamists see the world as divided into two spheres: Dar al-Islam, and Dar al-Harb — The House of Islam and The House Of War. Or, as it is often described, the part of the world that is currently Islamic and the part that will be Islamic.
And the borders between Dar al-Islam and Dar al-Harb are bloody.
Militant Islam is at the root of so much of the news today, and it’s almost universally bad news. And on that basis, those people — far more than me, or you, or Bono, or Bill and Melinda Gates, deserve the recognition as Person Of The Year.
(Update: apparently the link to the photo isn’t working. I just went to Google Images, looked up “insurgent RPG,” and picked one of a guy in a mask, kaffiyeh, civilian clothes, and holding an RPG. There are enough generic terrorist images out there that you can get the gist of it.)