One leads a terrorist cell murdering people around the world.
Another is the populist Presidential candidate J.K. Rowling has labelled “worse than Voldemort”.
And then there’s Vladimir Putin.
Welcome to Time Magazine’s annual Person of the Year shortlist. It’s the list that puts human rights activists (America’s Black Live Matter campaigners) alongside a man who wants to stop all Muslims from entering the US.
The annual Person of the Year award is a long-standing tradition for the magazine, which famously gave Man of the Year (the precursor to the Person of the Year) to Adolph Hitler in 1938.
Last year’s winner was “the Ebola fighters“.
The shortlist is picked by Time’s editors, and will be “the person Time believes most influenced the news this year for better or worse”.
Which is how terrorist Abu Bakr Al-Baghdadi got on the list.
Al-Baghdadi is the head of ISIS.
Time says he’s on the list because: “As leader of ISIS [he] has inspired followers to both fight in his self-declared caliphate of Iraq and Syria, and also stage attacks in countries like Tunisia and France.”
But his inclusion begs the question: just how valuable is this exercise?
It seems pretty clear that Time is not advocating for these people on their list. But making a man who leads a network executing people for their sexual orientation, raping women and stoning them to death, inspiring violent murders across the globe and destabilising an entire region in pursuit of its “holy war”, the “person of the year” still seems to be bestowing them with an undeserved honour.
It stunk when it was Hitler, it stinks just as much now that it might be Al-Baghdadi.