Time Magazine has named Russia's president, the "steely and determined" ex-KGB officer Vladimir Putin, as its Person of the Year for "imposing stability on a nation that has rarely known it" (didn't some guy named Adolf get praised for doing the same thing in Germany back in the 1930s?)
Time is at pains to point out that its designation is a reflection of Putin's historical significance, not an endorsement of his placing "stability before freedom". Here at Private Beach we have a different approach - it is not enough to change the world, our person of the year must reflect this blog's values as well.
Private Beach's first annual "People of the Year" award this year therefore goes to the courageous monks of Burma for doing the exact opposite of Putin: putting freedom before stability, even at the cost of their own lives. Their brave nonviolent stand against one of the world's ugliest regimes - a military dictatorship that has maintained "stability" for decades through repression, murder, torture, forced labour, rape and genocide - is in the finest traditions of Gandhi and Martin Luther King, and though unsuccessful in the short term, has reawakened world awareness of their country's woes and placed Burma's rulers on the defensive. One day the country's people will be free.
[Picture by "Forest of Orchids", found on Flickr; I hope he/she doesn't mind me using it in a good cause.]