For 84 years, Time Magazine has named a “Person of the Year” (formerly, “Man of the Year”) in the waning days of December, ostensibly to highlight the single individual or group of people who had the greatest impact on the news over the previous 12 months. Many times, the selection has been controversial. Sometimes, obscure. But through the decades, the magazine has usually been in the ballpark when it comes to nominating a personality whose actions or achievements impacted history in big way.

For 2011, Time has designated “The Protestor” as the Person of the Year. The choice is not controversial in the sense that protests around the world didn’t dominate headlines and capture the imagination of many in the west. And the selection certainly isn’t as obscure as some other years when the magazine appeared to be trying to please a particular constituency or pressure group.

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