PERSON OF THE YEAR, THE PEOPLE’S CHOICE – Personally, I’m very surprised that the Russians did not hack the election to give it to Vladimir Putin. However:
Mohammed bin Salman, the crown prince of Saudi Arabia, has won TIME’s Person of the Year 2017 online reader poll, earning more votes than other world leaders, industry titans, entertainers and activists.
The 32-year-old crown prince received 24% of the “yes” votes cast. Second place went to the people around the world who shared their experiences with sexual assault and harassment as part of the #MeToo movement, with 6% of the votes.
Finishing third, with 5% of votes each, were former San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick, special counsel Robert Mueller and the Dreamers, undocumented immigrants who were brought to the U.S. as children.
Bin Salman is a fascinating choice, because he is a living proof that while the media loses its head on a daily basis about the latest Trump tweet, elsewhere in the world some very potentially important developments are taking place. The next Saudi king has been a busy boy purging the royal-industrial complex, vowing to modernise the Wahhabi Islam, and putting pressure on the Palestinians to accept a two state solution. If bin Salman is sincere, and if he is at least partly successful – both big ifs – he could one day be remembered as one of the most consequential political leaders of the modern Middle East, and that even rarer creature in the region, one who’s made a positive impact. Kudos to the “Time” readers who are smarter than the magazine.