The People's Pope
Sorry Egypt, but Sisi didn't even come close to winning the title of Time's Person of the Year. Here's why we think Pope Francis beat him.
Yesterday, Time magazine announced that this year's Person of the Year is in fact Pope Francis. This may have come as a shock to the many Egyptians who went online and successfully voted General Sisi as the Time's People's Choice. So the people's pope beat out the people's general. Both men are new faces attempting to change the damaged institutions that they represent. We pondered whether the selection was justified and figured the best way to analyse the decision is to break-down the merits of these men.
Considering that both men are relatively new on the world stage but they couldn't be more different. On the one hand the people's general was able to beat Miley Cyrus in the online poll, while the people's pope was able to win the internet becoming the most talk about person online, beating Justin Bieber with his modest 10 million Twitter followers.
When the Pope needs to travel he usually takes the bus with all the other church officials, and when travelling alone has ditched the glamorous bullet-proof pope-mobile for a 20 year-old Renault, while Sisi would likely shut down the roads and have a huge army entourage protecting his bullet proof car.
General Sisi promises people that he will return Egypt to normalcy and a stronger economy with the help of capitalism, while the Pope call capitalism “a new tyranny' releasing an 84 page document called the “apostolic exhortation” as a new direction for the churche's policy. The pope truly believes in equality and that everyone should be treated equal, he can be seen getting on his knees and cleaning the feet of both believers and non-believers, ditching the swag clothing and office, and sneaking out of the church at night to hangout with homeless Romans. He also made headlines when he said “If someone is gay and he searches for the Lord and has good will, who am I to judge?”, a drastic departure from the church's stand on homosexuality. While in comparison one can argue that the General Sisi believes in equality, but only for those who believe in him, otherwise they are 'terrorists'.
When the Pope calls Russia it is to demand that they do everything they can to usher a peaceful solution in Syria. When the Sisi calls the Russians, it is to ask for more weapons. When Sisi calls on the people it is to give him permission to label other Egyptians as 'terrorists' and to able to deal with them with heavy handed violence. When the pope calls people he uses a phone line and responds to random people in the world that have written to him.
To celebrate the end of Ramadan, Pope Francis reached out to Muslims saying “I want to send a hello to Muslims around the world. I hope that Christians and Muslims engage in mutual respect, especially through the education of new generations.” It was quite the departure from the last Pope who called Islamic text “evil and inhuman”. Meanwhile Sisi celebrated the end of Ramadan by clearing Rabaa and rewarding the people with a curfew.
Still wondering how Time made this decision, then simply compare there smiles and ask who would make a better cover photo. General Sisi projects the strong man image and even when he smiles it is a frown, even though the Pope was a strong man working as a bouncer in his youth. At the end of the day these characters are both people of interest this year, but to add insult to injury, despite winning the people's poll online, General Sisi didn't even make the final top 10 list, proving, at the very least, that the Pope's PR handlers are better than the Egyptian Military's.