TIME's Person Of The Year: The Ebola Fighters
The globally influential publication makes a bold and beautiful move.
TIME Magazine's Person of the Year list ('Man of the Year' until 1999, when that gender bias got nipped in the bud) is usually reserved for presidents, popes, scientists and human rights leaders. Every now and then though, TIME choose a concept to represent something that's had the most influence over the past year. In 2006 the Person of the Year was You, representing the role of all of us in advancing the information age via user-generated social media like Wikipedia, Facebook and Youtube. Yesterday, TIME chose another concept for this year's cover: The Ebola Fighters. The annual issue features five covers honoring Ebola fights who have worked on the ground in West Africa to put an end to the outbreak, including a surgeon who turned his hospital's chapel into one of the country's first treatment centres, a survivor of the disease who lost both her parents then began helping others, an ambulance supervisor and survivor, a US health educator, and Kent Brantly, the first US person who was infected by, and survived, the disease.
Over 6,000 people have died of the disease over the past year, and its officially an epidemic in Liberia, Guinea and Sierra Leone. "Ebola is a war, and a warning. The global health system is nowhere close to strong enough to keep us safe from infectious disease, " wrote Time editor Nancy Gibbs in her editorial. "The rest of the world can sleep at night because a group of men and women are willing to stand and fight...for buying the world time to boost its defences, for risking, for persisting, for sacrificing and saving, the Ebola fighters are Time's 2014 Person of the Year."
Runners up in the eight-person long shortlist included Jack Ma, the Chinese entrepreneur who founded the company Alibaba, Masoud Barzani, the acting president of the Iraqi Kurdish Region since 2005, who has deftly threaded the region’s push for independence, and The Ferguson protesters.