So here’s why public diplomacy can’t be conceived as a popularity contest: Marathon Pundit points out that in early voting early voting in Islam Online’s Person of the Year poll, Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah is leading with 69 percent of the votes so far. In second place is Hamas leader Ismael Haniya with 15 percent. Running third is the world’s most prominent Holocaust denier, Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad with 7 percent.
Very few votes are coming in for pioneering entrepreneur Muhammad Yunus or (relatively) moderate Shia cleric Ayatollah Sistani. (And Pope Benedict XVI is at 1.5 percent.)