Hero of the Year Awards 2013

by Ray_North on January 3, 2014

2013_heroIt’s time for us to celebrate the good guys of 2013 – the people who have risen above the mediocrity and the mundane, the people who have excited us and inspired us and made us believe in the incomparable spirit of human kind.

We like our heroes on this site, our weekly award keeps us from the elephant trap that is cynicism; we like it when occasionally we can be like small boys and worship our sporting heroes or like recalcitrant teenagers and place some singer or artist on a massive pedestal and we like it when every now and again a politician cuts through the bullshit and the conformity and says that they are brave enough to be different, to think differently and to try to genuinely act in a way that aspires to make people’s lives better.

In the past we’ve celebrated international politicians like Aung San Suu Kyi (2010) and Jens Stoltenberg (2011) and the ace director Danny Boyle (2012) – but who will be this years winner? Well, lets start with those who made it into our top five…..

(hushed descends, crinkling of envelope being opened)

Uruguay_hero5. Jose Mujica
Viva Uruguay, Viva El Presidente Mujica! What a wonderful guy this is – a septuagenarian former guerrilla and horticulturist, who became president of Uruguay in 2010 at the head of the Broad Front, a coalition of left wing parties. Mujica though has not just preached about good works and collectivism and progress and fairness and equality – he has lived it: eschewing the presidential palace and limousine and wealth, he lives on a farm and drives and old VW Beetle, but, more importantly he has been an extremely effective politician, improving Uruguay’s standing in the region and abroad, improving social security and the country’s infrastructure and also implementing the bravest drug laws on the planet. A worthy inclusion in our list of heroes – I hope that Jose can go from strength to strength.

Texas_hero4. Wendy Davis
We like Wendy Davis a lot on this blog – and she was our hero of the week back in July when she very bravely and skilfully maintained a speech for 11 hours in order to filibuster a piece of state legislation which would make abortion illegal in Texas after 20 weeks and require any woman seeking a termination of her pregnancy to undergo arduous examination. The lawyer and Democrat State Senator spoke and spoke until the midnight bell tolled and the Bill fell.Unknown-8

We believe passionately in the right of women to control their bodies and that is why we support and celebrate the efforts of Wendy Davis – she is going to run for Governor of Texas in 2014 and I wouldn’t be surprised at all if Jackie went over there to lend his support.

NC_Hero3. Edward Snowden
Edward Snowden was also a former winner of our weekly award for heroism when he picked up the laurels back in June. What a year it has been for the young man from North Carolina – still only 31, he started the year as an analyst and computer specialist who after leaving the CIA went to work for the security consultants Booz Hamilton – and that is where he would have remained, anonymous and well paid if he hadn’t decided that the American Government’s programme of mass unregulated surveillance of its own and other country’s citizens was wrong.
PRISM, he told us, was a programme that would enable the NSA to look into the internet activities of ordinary people.

Not surprisingly, as soon as he had leaked these documents to the Guardian, Snowden’s life became a tad tricky – branded a traitor and a terrorist in the USA, he was condemned by the right wing, with some of the more extreme lunatics in that most lunatic of lands, calling for him to be executed.
Unknown-7
Bonkers.

He is currently living in an airport in Moscow or something. In any event, he totally deserves to make it on to our list of fame because we believe in the fundamental right to a private life on these pages and that means free from the snooping paranoid eyes of the Western Secret Services.

Scot_hero2. Andy Murray
Oh yes, our yearly list of heroes would not be complete without the presence of a sports star – and this year, none have reached a greater and more precariously difficult summit than Andy Murray. He won our weekly award in June, the same week that he happened to win the Wimbledon title (funny that!) – and what a great victory that was. No Brit has won Wimbledon since 1066 or something (actually Fred Perry in 1936, but it felt that long) – the pressure on Murray was absolutely totally immense, the nation held its breath and most of us willed him to win – I say most of us, because, there remains a stubborn and rather unfathomable section of the press who dislike Murray.

We at Allthatsleft love him – we love the fact that he has a bit of the surly teenager about him, we love the fact that when he was asked about whether he would support England in the football, he answered honestly, we love the fact that he has a really fit bird, but, most of all, we love the fact that he is an absolutely amazing tennis player who has worked so very hard to reach the absolute pinnacle of his sport. And what a sport – I for one, can’t even begin to imagine the difficulty of playing tennis at that level for that long with that kind of pressure heaped upon you.

Andy Murray we salute you.

….so, who will be crowned this year’s Hero of the Year…..

Dramatic Pause.

Pakistan_hero2Winner – Malala Yousafzai
This years overwhelming winner of the Allthatsleft Hero of the Year Award is the Pakistani Schoolgirl Malala Yousafzai.

In an often shite world, where men think nothing of killing others, where the most important thing seems to be acquisition of massive amounts of wealth – this young girl just wanted to go to school. She wanted to have mates and read books and learn and then perhaps become a journalist. And because of this, the maniacs whose religious and cultural and political beliefs are so completely perverted decided that she should be killed – and so, as she sat on her school bus, a gun man shot in the head.

That was in October 2012.

Thankfully, Malala recovered from her injuries (and I feel immensely proud that it was the British health service that helped nurse her). For lesser individuals that would have been the end of her involvement in public life – I mean, the tosser who organised the assassination attempt went on TV and said he’d do it again – but not for Malala, as soon as she was able, she returned to her campaign to ensure that every child was in school by 2015. In September, she visited America and took Obama to task over his use of drones, and she made a speech that speech, to the United Nations telling the Assembly that:Unknown-6

“The terrorists thought they would change my aims and stop my ambitions, but nothing changed in my life except this: weakness, fear and hopelessness died. Strength, power and courage was born … I am not against anyone, neither am I here to speak in terms of personal revenge against the Taliban or any other terrorist group. I’m here to speak up for the right of education for every child. I want education for the sons and daughters of the Taliban and all terrorists and extremists

Amazing words, from an amazing teenager – I am proud to say that for 2013, she is our hero of the year.

{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

Robin Thorpe January 3, 2014 at 3:10 pm

I can’t fault your selection of hero; Malala could truly be an inspiration to us all.
But I must find fault with your description of Andy Murray. Fred Perry was not the last Brit to win Wimbledon; Virginia Wade won the Ladies singles title in 1977, Angela Buxton the Ladies doubles in 1956, Annabel Croft and Laura Robson won the Girls singles in 1984 and 2008 respectively, Jonathan Marray won the Mens doubles in 2012 and Jamie Murray won the mixed doubles in 2007 (honorable mention to Jeremy Bates and Jo Durie who won together in 1987). That’s not to disparage his achievement in winning the Mens singles title, but there is more to Wimbledon then this.

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