David Rothkopf

Person of the year: Neda Agha-Soltan

While Obama has undoubtedly made the biggest difference on the global stage this year, the most enduring image may be that of the tragic end of Neda. Iran could be the transcendental force in the Middle East, the country that could be the lynchpin to a new era of understanding and progress. No country in ...

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While Obama has undoubtedly made the biggest difference on the global stage this year, the most enduring image may be that of the tragic end of Neda. Iran could be the transcendental force in the Middle East, the country that could be the lynchpin to a new era of understanding and progress. No country in the region seems better suited to democracy or a role on the international stage. But it won't be until the voices of its people are heard.

Neda symbolized the promise of those people and revealed the Ahmadinejad regime and the ayatollahs who are the true puppet masters to be the blood-stained enemies of their own country they really are. History is not made by leaders ... as Gandhi knew ... but by the people they follow. Although she is gone, Neda bequeathed the world not only her life but an iconic image of struggle that has the power to inspire -- a power that no nuclear program, no army, no claimed relationship with the almighty can bring to thugs like Ahmadinejad and his fellow authoritarians and dictators worldwide.

Mario Tama/Getty Images

While Obama has undoubtedly made the biggest difference on the global stage this year, the most enduring image may be that of the tragic end of Neda. Iran could be the transcendental force in the Middle East, the country that could be the lynchpin to a new era of understanding and progress. No country in the region seems better suited to democracy or a role on the international stage. But it won’t be until the voices of its people are heard.

Neda symbolized the promise of those people and revealed the Ahmadinejad regime and the ayatollahs who are the true puppet masters to be the blood-stained enemies of their own country they really are. History is not made by leaders … as Gandhi knew … but by the people they follow. Although she is gone, Neda bequeathed the world not only her life but an iconic image of struggle that has the power to inspire — a power that no nuclear program, no army, no claimed relationship with the almighty can bring to thugs like Ahmadinejad and his fellow authoritarians and dictators worldwide.

Mario Tama/Getty Images

David Rothkopf is visiting professor at Columbia University's School of International and Public Affairs and visiting scholar at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace. His latest book is The Great Questions of Tomorrow. He has been a longtime contributor to Foreign Policy and was CEO and editor of the FP Group from 2012 to May 2017. Twitter: @djrothkopf

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