The face of time

Time magazine named Russian President Vladimir Putin «Person of the Year 2007.» Maybe this was a way to excuse the «modern tsar’s» particular contribution to democracy, but the event certainly elated Greek TV prophets, who feel that Greece’s ties with Russia will be a great benefit to the country. Using other criteria – and assuming that these titles actually matter – we could also name Nicolas Sarkozy «Person of the Year 2007,» not for his political victories, but for the fact that he succeeded, by manipulating his image in a country so well informed in matters relating to the public spectacle (handed down by philosophers such as Guy Debord and Jean Baudrillard), to come across as a clone of Charles de Gaulle, even though he is little more than a Silvio Berlusconi copycat. But then again… neither deserves the title, and not because time eventually erodes all great things built of sand (as the poet Costas Karyotakis tells us), but because the face we should be looking at from 2007 and for years to come is the face of our planet, of Earth. This is the picture that should be framed and featured on the front covers of the world’s magazines. Not blue and bright as it once was, but wounded, plundered and near exhaustion as it now is, as we have all began to experience it even before the scientists told us so. Of course, we can still choose to believe and maintain that Earth had endured such disasters and climatic shifts in the past, that nature eventually regulates itself, and thus ignore the bad omens. We can also continue to blame the state of the planet on the heavens, washing man’s greedy hands of guilt, or hiding behind such explanations as «nature is exacting its revenge.» But the most honest thing we can do, the most responsible and effective course of action, is to believe that of all the scenarios of doom we have heard, the darkest is the most likely to prevail.