The selection of Bill and Melinda Gates and Bono as Time's Persons of the Year for 2005 was applauded by readers who admire the trio's powerful efforts to combat global poverty and disease. Other readers singled out different heroes, those who withstood the year's many challenges of disaster and war
Your choice of Bono and Bill and Melinda Gates as Persons of the Year was inspired [Dec. 26, 2005–Jan. 2, 2006]. In a year marked by unusual tragedy, it was heartwarming to read about an unprecedented outpouring of generosity. Your honorees are not only appropriately symbolic of that philanthropy, but also unique examples of individuals who, by virtue of their wealth and fame, can change the course of history. What your story revealed, however, was that not just their wealth and fame heightened their impact. Credit the Gateses for learning firsthand about the diseases of the poor, then making careful choices about the deployment of dollars to ensure the greatest possible return for humankind. Credit Bono for his uncommon ability to build trust and empathy across an eclectic group of influential people. That is the kind of story that gives us hope.
Mill Valley, California, U.S.
What a stunningly brilliant choice. It's enough to restore faith in the essential wisdom of Homo sapiens. Bless you.
Minneapolis, Minnesota, U.S.
I hope that future person of the year choices follow the example of the selection of Bono and the Gateses, and signal recognition of what truly matters globally.
Although I appreciate what bill and Melinda Gates have done for the unfortunate, perhaps in the future Time will choose not only people who give because they are wealthy, but also those who give despite their poverty. They are the true Good Samaritans.
While I'm sure many people will question the choice of an Irish rock star and a pair of billionaires as Persons of the Year, Bono and the Gateses are bold and refreshing selections. 2005 was a year of great pain and frustration as a result of the war in Iraq and devastating natural disasters. It would have been easy and predictable to choose someone who personified the war or the horrific Hurricane Katrina disaster, but in a time of despair and anguish, Bono, Bill and Melinda bring hope. The work that unlikely team does for the world's poor makes me believe that if we band together, it really is possible to change the world for the better.
Homewood, Illinois, U.S.
I was pleased with Time's choice. global health is a major problem. There is hardly any issue that deserves more attention. Of primary importance is making the problem visible. Thank you for giving us the example of rock stars, philanthropists, doctors and activists who are fighting a battle that seems impossible to win. That truly is journalism that makes a difference.
Highlighting the unique alliance of Bono and Bill and Melinda Gates will bring new hope for solving the global health crisis. Having practiced medicine for almost 50 years, mostly in France, I recently returned from a teaching mission in sub-Saharan Africa. I was appalled to see patients there with acute pneumonia (very likely related to aids) sent home to die, unless the family could pay $180 in cash for hospitalization. I am reassured to read that the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation demands strict accountability from its grantees.
I am sick and tired of seeing bono in the news posing as a superhero saving the poor. The world is full of organizations and unknown individuals who could achieve considerably more than Bono has in the fight against poverty if they were granted a fraction of the media coverage that self-promoting rock stars get.
Seldom does a written work come along that truly deserves to be in every library and on every bookshelf. Your Persons of the Year issue is one such example and should be recommended to all as essential reading for years to come.
Sturminster Newton, England
After a year in which disasters struck different parts of the globe, Time has rightly picked the icons of a generation who, after achieving success in their respective fields, have ventured to make the world a better place. The Gateses and Bono have taken the road less traveled but have done so with such passion, zeal and influence that they are sure to leave a mark. Gates, the richest man in the world, accused of being a ruthless businessman, has confounded his critics and become an excellent global campaigner. Bono has the rare ability to affect many, not only with his music but also with his deeds. Such people and the initiatives they have undertaken will have a profound effect on millions of lives.
I was very pleased with Time's choice. The Gateses and Bono are breaking through people's apathy about the poverty that kills millions every year. That trio is waking us up to the world's problems. Here is a son who lost a mother because of aids. There is a father who lost a daughter to malaria. How can we be indifferent to those sorrows? We have no excuse. Those three are pioneers, leading us to end that injustice.
Most of us who live well in the developing world look the other way when it comes to dealing with the appalling poverty and diseases burgeoning in our own backyard. Unfortunately, pressing social issues still take a backseat to pretentious religious ones in many developing nations.
The article about the alliance be-tween former Presidents Bill Clinton and George H.W. Bush [Dec. 26–Jan. 2] should be required reading for every politician in the country. You agree on some things and you disagree on others, but you work out the differences with dialogue and respect for each other. That is the way things are supposed to be. What an amazing concept!
Grand Rapids, Michigan, U.S.
Praise and Blame
Joe Klein's column "It's Time To Pin A Few Medals," in which he pays "homage to those who have taken risky stands on principle" even when he has disagreed with them, left me feeling as if I were living in an alternate universe [Dec. 26–Jan. 2]. Klein's praise of President George W. Bush for his words about the importance of freedom and democracy holds little weight against Bush's inept response to the Hurricane Katrina disaster or his mostly failed approach to curtailing global terrorism. Perhaps it would be more appropriate for Klein to examine our President's actions rather than his words.
Bethesda, Maryland, U.S.
Re James Poniewozik's article "The Year Of Charitainment" on charitably active celebrities [Dec. 26-Jan. 2]: Those stars are to us what the ancients used to regard as angels or gods. In the midst of the congestion of issues and concerns of modern life, celebrities and opinion leaders clear the paths. They deserve our attention and even encouragement, not doubt, scorn or jealousy. But those modern little gods must also be reminded that the archangel Lucifer became a devil. Herein lies the wisdom and a caveat, that each man who is worthy of the respect of others must choose to be an angel or a devil by his acts or inaction, by his voice or reticence. Choose!
The Book vs. the Movie
I don't see how Corliss could pick the movie version of Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire over the book [Dec. 26-Jan.2]. While I really liked the movie it was fast and action-packed none of the film adaptations of J.K. Rowling's books, that one included, have been able to fully capture the essence of Harry. They cannot put us inside Harry's head the way Rowling so deftly does.
Marianne L. Adams
Diamond Bar, California, U.S.