The mural below, by Obama iconographer and "OBEY" designer Shepard Fairey
, appears on the side of a shopping center in Harvard Square, Cambridge, Massachusetts:
[caption id="attachment_251716" align="aligncenter" width="480" caption="Source: Casablanca Soldier blog"]
Though the word "peace" appears at bottom, and there is a tulip in the barrel of the gun, the tulip is also a symbol adopted by Iranian revolutionaries in 1979, and adorns the regime's flag.
As in much of Fairey's work, the themes of "hope" and liberation are connected in the Harvard Square mural with fantasies of totalitarian violence and domination.
For Time's "Person of the Year" cover, celebrating the "protester," Fairey recycled the Harvard Square image--without the gun, and with a kerchief that is not a hijab, but rather a militant mask (Update: Big Government notes that a photograph of an Occupy protestor is Fairey's likely muse for the Time cover):
Fairey was an appropriate choice for Time, given the fact that none of the protests cited--"from the Arab Spring to Athens, from Occupy Wall Street to Moscow"--have yet resulted in what we might recognize as liberal democracy.
Some--such as the socialist riots in Athens and the anarchist demonstrations of the Occupy movement--have explicitly embraced totalitarian philosophies of one form or another.
Ironically, the mainstream media has tended to downplay the negative aspects of these movements--especially the Occupy movement, which Fairey promoted with free posters.
The Time cover is therefore not only a testament to the events of the past year, but a dubious monument to the western elites that thoughtlessly cheered the protests without due regard for their possible motivations and consequences.