It has been said that a bully who inflicts physical harm on his victims should be stood up to, as when such a thing happens, the bully backs down in the manner of a coward. After all, most bullies are in fact cowards. However, when it comes to being a psychological bully, one is best to ignore their provocations. Such is the case with Time Magazine.
Time’s multiple “person of the year” entries have caused a great deal of controversy both because of who is on the list and also because of who is not. The year-end issue is dedicated to journalists who allegedly risked their lives to tell the truth and while there is no doubt that Saudi dissident journalist Jamal Khashoggi literally died in his quest to express himself freely, on the opposite end of the spectrum is Maria Ressa whose ultra-liberal Rappler outlet has never been censored and who faces zero prospect of experiencing physical harm relating to her personal and corporate charge with tax evasion.
Ressa is little more than a liberal-imperialist foreigner’s idea of what a Filipino should be: pro-western, anti-Duterte, incredibly liberal and full of sob stories about the “fact” that Rodrigo Duterte is so evil that she is constantly freely expressing how much he is clamping down on her free expression. Never let it be said that liberals understand irony…they don’t.
Given that President Rodrigo Duterte remains incredibly popular in The Philippines, it is fair to say that Ressa is not a popular figure among ordinary Filipinos. After all, her outlet is vastly less popular than the grass roots pro-government Mocha Uson blog.
With this in mind, it becomes clear that Time wanted to achieve several things by promoting Ressa to one of several “people of the year”. First of all, they wanted to provoke pro-Duterte Filipinos into the social-media protests that have in fact occurred. Secondly, they sought to bolster the feelings of mostly white, American liberal men and women who want to hold a magazine to prove how “woke” they are in their hatred of Duterte (American liberals are far more moved by what they dislike than what they like) and finally, they may well have simply run out of ideas when trying to find actual journalists who have suffered as much as the genuinely tragic figure of Jamal Khashoggi. And yet there is in fact a real journalist who has suffered almost as much as Khashoggi and this is the de-facto imprisoned Julian Assange. Yet because Assange is opposed to the liberal agenda of the American and European elite, he was ignored by Time.
This is all the more reason that rather than growing exorcised by Time’s decision, pro-Duterte Filipinos (aka the vast majority of Filipinos) ought to ignore Time. If American liberals don’t give a damn what most Filipinos think of their political leaders, Filipinos should not give a damn about the opposite. Rather than feeding the psychological bully and provocateur that Time magazine has become, instead a more positive exercise would be offering a list of genuine candidates for person of the year.
Yet there are many other highly honourable mentions including:
–Rodrigo Duterte for pioneering a model of cooperation and dialogue based engagement with China over South China Sea issues that later inspired all of ASEAN to adopt a similar strategy at the Foreign Ministers Conference in Singapore.
All of these choices were passed up by Time in spite of their inspirational quality. Therefore, rather than become ensnared in a colonial mentality that gives an American magazine more credit than it is worth, Filipinos should name their own person or people of the year and then simply ignore a Time magazine whose editors are clearly out of touch with the genuine feelings of the vast majority of Filipinos.