Time Magazine has chosen its 2010 Man of the Year: Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg. France’s Le Monde, a member of the five newspaper consortium publishing U.S. diplomatic cables disclosed by WikiLeaks, has made a different choice: Julian Assange.
In this excerpt from the long version published in Le Monde’s Sunday magazine, reporter Yves Eudes gives a sense of why the French newspaper chose Assange:
Tall, thin and elegant, Julian Assange, founder and chief of WikiLeaks, first of all strikes his interlocutors as a talented speaker with a deep and sober voice, who knows how to conduct himself with rigor, humor, emotion – but also sarcasm. Watching him work, one discovers a gifted, ultra-efficient professional: once he begins a project, he dedicates himself to it completely, night and day, to the point of exhaustion.
When asked what exactly he does, Assange’s response is long, but precise: “I’m an activist, journalist, a software programmer and expert in cryptography, specializing in systems designed to protect the defenders of human rights.” WikiLeaks, a site dedicated to disclosing confidential documents, is the fruit of his unique mélange of skills, acquired over the course of an uncommon life.
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