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Okay, now let’s see who’s on Time’s list of The People Who Shape Our World in the category of “Leaders & Revolutionaries.”
In domestic politics, we’ve got five elected officials on the list–three Democrats and two Republicans. The Democrats are who you’d expect: Hillary Clinton, Nancy Pelosi and Barack Obama. Unfortunately, the Republicans are also who you’d expect (from Time): Arnold Schwarzenegger and Michael Bloomberg. Apparently, by “influential” Time means “…at a dinner party in the Hamptons.” It’s interesting how the further a Republican moves to the left, the more influential he becomes. What about Rush Limbaugh, Newt Gingrich, or Fred Thompson? Or how about a really daring choice, like Joe Lieberman? Talk about influential. It’s his decision to caucus with the Democrats that keeps the Senate under Democrat control.
Anyway, that’s all to be expected. The editors have to be able to show their faces at those parties in the Hamptons, after all.
It’s the choices for influential foreign “Leaders & Revolutionaries” that I’m more riled about.
There are 21 people in this category. A third of these are dictators, terrorists or supporters of terrorists, with a couple of Chi-Com apparatchiks thrown in for good measure. Exactly one of these people receives an unmitigated denunciation: Omar Hassan al-Bashir, the dictator of the Sudan.
You could argue that the write-up of Osama Bin Laden was also negative, but it was offensively “cute”:
Perhaps it all comes down to birth order. The 17th son out of 54 children is a notoriously difficult slot. And if, in addition to being a hyperactive polygamist, the father is an illiterate billionaire, then a certain amount of deviousness, among the older boys, shouldn’t surprise us.
What he has is charisma—the visionary smile and a talent for asceticism. Moderate Islam has had to decide whether Osama is a good Muslim or a bad Muslim. That many have opted for the former view owes much to the sacrifices that seem to have been made by this rich but stoic troglodyte.
Take that, Osama! You’ve been called a “troglodyte” by Martin Amis! Also, check out the illustration:
I can’t tell if he’s supposed to be sneering or smiling, but it’s the cheery wave of the hand that gets me.
The list’s lone theocrat gets a balanced write-up. I mean Ayatullah Ali Khamenei, not George Bush. Bush didn’t make the list, remember? Anyway, here’s a quote:
The intimates of Ayatullah Ali Khamenei, the Supreme Leader of Iran, call him “the great balancer.” They could as easily call him “the great hedger.” The reticent cleric refuses to make peace with the West but eschews open confrontation. He obstructs democratic reform but holds the country’s most hard-line radicals in check.
Now, if he were the scary kind of theocrat–like a democratically-elected Christian, perhaps–they’d probably be harder on him. They might even call him “divisive.”
And finally, we’ve got Raul Castro. Fidel’s little brother was a chum of Che Guevara, the noted executioner of children and other counter-revolutionaries. Here’s a candid snap from his salad days:
That’s Raul Castro tying the blindfold. He ordered and/or participated in hundreds of summary executions.
What does Time have to say about him?
…[He] recognizes the need to stimulate the stagnant economy, engage Cuba’s disaffected youth and modernize the discredited communist system. The challenge will be doing it without shaming Fidel’s memory. [Heh.] But chances are that after being consigned to the shadows for the past 50 years, Raúl yearns to be remembered for his own historic contributions.
Next up, “Heroes & Pioneers!”