Time came out with its Person of the Year honor today, and oddly enough it’s Ben Bernake, chairman of the Federal Reserve. Since the Fed did most of its work on restoring the financial sector last year, this has the feel of an acting Oscar being given out for an undeserving performance to make up for the times when the honoree was skipped over. The runners-up included Jamaican sprinter Usain Bolt, who might qualify for Athlete of the Year but was hardly a world influencer; the second-tier “people who matter” included Manny Pacquiao (a Filipino boxer); Adam Lambert (an American Idol runner-up); and tabloid fodder Jon and Kate Gosselin, who occupied a list that also included Barack Obama, Hamid Karzai, and Rahm Emanuel. Also on the “people who matter” list is the individual who I would have picked as Person of the Year, both for her own courage, and as a symbol of the struggle of oppressed people everywhere:
Neda Agha-Soltan was a 27-year-old music student in Tehran who was killed on June 20 by thugs of the mullahs’ regime during protests in the streets of Iran’s capitol city. Her name in Persian means “voice,” and from the grave her’s is an eloquent cry, one that protests the tyranny not only of the Iranian leadership, but that of every nation that treats its citizens with any less than the full dignity and human rights that every person possesses by virtue of having been made in the image of God.