Wael Ghonim tops Time's 100 most influential
AFP, Thursday 21 Apr 2011
A hero of the Egyptian revolution and an Internet muckraker are among the world's most influential people, as ranked by Time magazine Thursday.
Wael Ghonim, the 30-year-old Google executive who became the face of the Egyptian revolution topped the list that included WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, German chancellor Angela Merkel and pop music heartthrob Justin Bieber.
"Wael Ghonim embodies the youth who constitute the majority of Egyptian society," read a profile in the magazine penned by Egyptian politician Mohamed ElBaradei.
"But, as with many of his generation, (he) remained apolitical due to loss of hope that things could change in a society permeated for decades with a culture of fear," wrote ElBaradei, former head of the International Atomic Energy Agency.
"By emphasizing that the regime would listen only when citizens exercised their right of peaceful demonstration and civil disobedience, Wael helped initiate a call for a peaceful revolution."
Britain's royal couple Prince William and Kate Middleton, due to be wed next week in an elaborate ceremony beamed round the world, appear together as entry number 40.
Cited at number 13 in the magazine was "Tiger Mother" Amy Chua, whose confessional book detailing her no-nonsense Chinese-inspired parenting philosophy scandalized Western sensibilities, but nevertheless shot to the top of sales charts.
The list also includes US Vice President Joe Biden, Brazil's first female president Dilma Rousseff, Korean pop music idol Rain, European Bank head Jean-Claude Trichet and French President Nicolas Sarkozy.
"They are artists and activists, reformers and researchers, heads of state and captains of industry. Their ideas spark dialogue and dissent and sometimes even revolution," Time wrote of its famous list.
The US weekly has said that its often counter-intuitive choices are "not about the influence of power but the power of influence."
Surprisingly, first Lady Michelle Obama, who takes the 22nd slot, came in well ahead of her husband President Barack Obama, who was 82nd.
And pop diva Lady Gaga, famous for bizarre costumes and chart-topping dance music, topped 2010's list, but was a surprising no-show this year.
Time's top 10, in order, was:
Economist Joseph Stiglitz
Netflix chief exeuctive Reed Hastings
Actress and comedian Amy Poehler
Education activist Geoffrey Canada
Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg
Game developer Peter Vesterbacka
Non-profit founder and activist Ron Bruder