Deja vu: Time honours as Person of the Year the person most responsible for destruction of European society

The last time a person who was Chancellor of a United Germany was declared by Time Magazine to be Person of the year, ( Man of the year ) for 1938 it was 1939. Things didn’t go so well after that.

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On January 2, 1939, Time Magazine published its annual Man of the Year issue. For the year 1938, Time had chosen Adolf Hitler as the man who “for better or worse” (as Time founder Henry Luce expressed it) had most influenced events of the preceding year.

The cover picture featured Hitler playing “his hymn of hate in a desecrated cathedral while victims dangle on a St. Catherine’s wheel and the Nazi hierarchy looks on.” This picture was drawn by Baron Rudolph Charles von Ripper, a German Catholic who had fled Hitler’s Germany.

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Now in a spooky or perhaps ironic parallel,?Time magazine has declared German Chancellor Angela Merkel Person of the year, for her leadership in handling the turmoil in the European Union during the Greek debt and refugee crisis.

It is certainly true that Merkel has influenced events in Europe.Unlike Hitler her motivation is altruistic?,?but nevertheless her actions have had a devastating effect on Germany and the rest of Europe. The flood of economic migrants and Syrian refugees that she has unleashed on Europe, in defiance of the European Union’s asylum rules, has irrevocably changed the culture and the future of Europe. I have no doubt that historians will refer to this era as the beginning of the end of a European and Christian Europe.

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In a statement explaining the magazine’s choice, managing editor Nancy Gibbs said despite crises in the region that caused “reason to wonder whether Europe could continue to exist,” Merkel, 61, emerged as an “indispensable player.”

“For asking more of her country than most politicians would dare, for standing firm against tyranny as well as expedience and for providing steadfast moral leadership in a world where it is in short supply, Angela Merkel is TIME’s Person of the Year,” Gibbs wrote.

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Time magazine’s ‘Person of the Year’ edition, featuring German chancellor Angela Merkel, the first woman in 29 years.

In response to the news, Merkel spokesman Steffen Seibert told a government news conference: “I am sure the chancellor will cherish this as an incentive in her job.”

Merkel celebrated her 10-year anniversary as chancellor last month, making her the European Union’s longest-serving leader.

For years she was seen as a cautious, risk-averse leader who paid close attention to public opinion in formulating policy. But her leadership in the Ukraine crisis last year, her clinching of a deal this summer to keep Greece in the euro zone and her stance in the refugee crisis have changed that view.

In late August, when tens of thousands of migrants fleeing war in the Middle East streamed into Hungary, threatening a humanitarian crisis, Merkel agreed to suspend the European Union’s asylum rules and allow them to continue into Germany. She declared to skeptical countrymen: “Wir schaffen das,” which translates as, “We can do this.”

Her “open-door” stance has led to a fall in support for her conservatives and in her own popularity ratings, which have slid to 54 percent from 75 percent over eight months.

Time also noted her leadership this year in leading the West’s response to Vladimir Putin’s “creeping theft of Ukraine” and welcoming refugees to Germany despite “the reflex to slam doors, build walls and trust no one.”

Merkel topped a short list of finalists that included US Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump, who came in third, and Islamic State leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, who was runner-up.

She is the first individual woman to hold the title since Corazon Aquino in 1986, though women have been honoured as part of a group. Last year, a group of Ebola doctors and survivors won the title.

– Reuters

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