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Greta Thunberg as Time’s Person of the Year divides Twitter, critics call it ‘wrong choice’

Other finalists for the title were Donald Trump, whistleblower who set off impeachment probe against Trump, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi & Hong Kong protesters.

Greta Thunberg
Greta Thunberg at the UN Climate Action Summit in New York, US | Photo: Jeenah Moon | Bloomberg

New Delhi: US President Donald Trump again attacked Swedish climate activist Greta Thunberg and said she “needed anger management”, after the teenager was named Time magazine’s ‘Person of the Year’ earlier this week.

Trump had in September this year similarly mocked the climate activist.

In true Thunberg fashion, the teen activist hit back by changing her Twitter bio accordingly.

She did the same a few days ago when Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro called her a ”pirralha” (Portugese for “brat”) when she expressed concern over the killing of native Brazilians in the Amazon.

On Twitter, though, there have been equal amounts of praise and criticism for the honorific given to the young activist by Time. While some have praised the magazine for its bold choice, others thought it was wrong.

Thunberg, the youngest person to be chosen in the magazine’s 92-year history, was “a bit surprised” by the nomination and dedicated the honour to other young activists.

She had recently turned down a prize and cash award worth $52,000 for her activism from the Nordic Council, saying: “It is a huge honor. But the climate movement does not need any more awards.”

The teenager was also nominated by Norwegian lawmakers for the Nobel Peace Prize in March this year.


Also read: Americans are finally worried about climate change


 

‘Gutsy woman’

Former US Vice President Al Gore patted Time on the back for making a “brilliant choice”.

#gutsywomen is how former US secretary of state Hillary Clinton signed off her tweet congratulating Thunberg.

Thunberg’s critics, however, felt Time made the wrong choice.

Donald Trump Jr. also hit out at the magazine by saying “How dare you?” — a line Thunberg had used at the United Nations Climate Summit in September – and added that the Hong Kong protesters were more deserving of the title.

After the US President suggested “anger management” to the young activist, US Senator Richard J. Durbin (D-Ill) asked Trump to stop “slinging insults at a teenager & start acting like an adult”.

First Lady Melania Trump, a vocal anti-bullying advocate, has been silent on her husband’s response to Thunberg’s nomination.

Why Greta

For ‘Person of the Year’, Time magazine features an individual, a group, an idea, or an object that has “for better or for worse…done the most to influence the events of the year”. Adolf Hitler, Bill Clinton, Jeff Bezos have also been on covers of the magazine in the past.

This year, Thunberg features on the cover, looking out into the ocean from a rocky beach near Lisbon. “Meaningful change rarely happens without the galvanizing force of influential individuals, and in 2019, the earth’s existential crisis found one in Greta Thunberg,” said Time’s CEO and Editor-in-Chief Edward Felsenthal.

The magazine’s other finalists this year included President Trump, who is currently in the centre of impeachment proceedings, the whistleblower who set off the impeachment inquiry, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Hong Kong protesters.


Also read: Greta Thunberg going radical won’t help Planet Earth