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BRAMA News and Community Press

BRAMA, Dec 17, 2004, 3:00 pm ET

Op-Ed

Time Magazine's 'Person of the Year': Brama's petition
By H. Krill

In 1981, Time Magazine chose to grace its "Person of the year" cover with the face of the man who "who struck first blows against Kremlin's empire" - Poland's Lech Walesa who led the Solidarity movement, a critical component in the process that led to the eventual breakup of the Soviet Union.

In 1989, Time chose Mikhail Gorbachev "for being the 'patron of change'."

Viktor Yushchenko

Lately, the media has been dominated by yet another figure from that part of the world, a man who along with the aforementioned two before him is now ushering in profound changes to the entire region once occupied by the USSR. That man is Viktor Yushchenko, the Ukrainian presidential candidate who was poisoned but lived to continue the race for the top seat in the government. It is this man that has brought literally millions of people out into the streets of Ukraine, Russia, Belgium, France, and even the United States, in protest of the rigged elections in his country.

The impact of Yushchenko's leadership will likely change the face of Europe, and possibly even the political landscape even in parts of Central Asia. Moreover, he may be the catalyst in turning the tide of recent Russian neoimperialism spearheaded by President Vladimir Putin.

Like George Washington, Yushchenko is not a man who asked for this pivotal role in his country's history. If Yushchenko is elected on December 26 (and not prevented from taking office), for the first time in its history Ukraine is going to have a truly democratic leader that was chosen by its citizens. Like George Washington, this president is likely to be written into the history books as the "Father of the Country." And just as in George Washington's time, it is happening 13 years after his country's birth as an independent nation.

What better candidate for the cover of Time can there be?

Yet last night on the television talk show Charlie Rose, guest Jim Kelly, Time's Managing Editor who is ultimately responsible for choosing the face for the cover, did not even mention Yushchenko as a potential candidate for this distinction!

The names of George Bush, Karl Rove, Hollywood actor Mel Gibson, Michael Moore (of "Fahrenheit 9/11" fame), and even several terrorist leaders are on his list of possible contenders, with Rove (!) being closer to the top as a likely winner.

For the last several days, an email campaign initiated by Dr. Daria Markus - editor of the Encyclopedia of the Ukrainian Diaspora, a publication of the Shevchenko Scientific Society (U.S.) - supporting the choice of Viktor Yushchenko has been gaining steam. But it may have started too late to have an effect on Mr. Kelly's decision. He must make a decision by Saturday night - the issue goes to print on Sunday.

Late as it may be, readers are urged to send their choice for Time Magazine Person of the Year addressed to letters@time.com or by fax to 212-522-8949. Include your full name, address, telephone!

Subscribers to TIME Magazine Online can use the form:
www.time.com/time/contactus2

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