Give the Nobel Peace Prize to Malala Yousafzai!

Wow. We called out Obama’s Peace Prize in 2009 as Orwellian, but the Nobel committee have now sent the irony-meter into full tilt. An appropriately exasperated commentary in Spain’s El Diario, wryly titled “That Which the Nobel Prize Calls Peace,” states: “The Nobel Prize goes to a European Union being ruled for the banks and financial power, at the expense of the increasing asphyxiation of the people: In Spain the misery index has already reached 26.4%… In Greece, operations are being denied to cancer patients who have lost their health coverage and cannot afford treatment. There are growing cases of diseases such as tuberculosis. Public hospitals limit the supply of vital medicines, and are denying care to the needy…” And the debacle that Euro-unification has become is actually causing a bitter divide in Europe—not this time between Germany and France, but between Germany and the Mediterranean nations of Greece, Spain and Portugal—where a new austerity budget sparked angry protests yesterday, AP notes. And we should probably add Italy, where students clashed with police in protests against austerity measures nearly across the country, Reuters reported Oct. 4. Greek protesters against German-led budgetary whip-lashing have been quick to recall that their country was occupied by the Nazis in World War II, reopening old wounds—even as a Greek neo-fascist movement has emerged to exploit the misery with the usual bogus populism that scapegoats immigrants, leading to a wave of violent attacks. Wow, what an astonishing advance for world peace the European Union represents!

Wouldn’t it be nice if the EU and Nobel committee would agree to transfer the prize to the truly heroic Malala Yousafzai? She has deeply earned it—perhaps (hopefully not) with the ultimate sacrifice, of her life. And giving her the Peace Prize would make a real statement to totalitarians, thugs and violent fundamentalists of every stripe around the planet—as well as to those standing up to them nonviolently, demanding their fundamental rights that the intolerant minions of ultra-orthodoxy would deny them. It would do what the Peace Prize is supposed (in theory) to do, and revive the legacy of such deserving recipients as Martin Luther King and Shirin Ebadi, helping to atone for such egregiously poor calls as Barack Obama, Menachem Begin and Henry Kissinger. Finally, the award money (less than a million euros, an infinitesimal fraction of the EU annual budget) would be meaningless in addressing Europe’s crisis; for Malala, who raised funds to support her school in the impoverished Swat Valley, it would make all the difference in the world. She could even fund schools across Pakistan, making a real difference in the lives of a generation of girls in her country.

Malala has now been transferred to the UK for medical treatment. In Islamabad, a group called the National Youth Assembly has appealed to Pakistan’s government to nominate her for the Nobel Peace Prize. (The News, Pakistan, Oct. 16) We endorse this call, but go further—transfer this year’s prize to Malala. Maybe if we raise the cry loudly and quickly enough, we can make it happen…

  1. Malala Yousafzai speaks
    Malala Yousafzai gives her first interview since getting shot by Taliban, in a brief video clip online at The Guardian. Her faculties are clearly intact, her spirit clearly unbroken. Very inspiring.

  2. Pakistan: girls’ school principal killed by Taliban
    From CNN, March 30:

    A principal was killed and eight other people were injured in a grenade and gun attack on a school in the Pakistani city of Karachi, a police spokesman said Saturday.

    An unidentified motorcyclist hurled the hand grenade at the private middle school in the Baldia Town area of Karachi before letting off a volley of shots, police spokesman Asif Nawaz Sheikh told CNN.

    The school principal, named as Abdul Rasheed, was badly hurt and later died of his injuries in the hospital, the spokesman said.

    The eight others injured included a teacher and students at the school, he said. They were transferred to the Jinnah Post Graduate Medical Center and the Civil Hospital.
    Caretaker Prime Minister Mir Hazar Khan Khoso condemned what he called a cowardly attack on innocent children, the official Associated Press of Pakistan (APP) news agency reported.

    The targeting of school children, including girls, reflected the brutality of the terrorists, he said, according to APP.

    In some good news, AP reports that Malala Yousafzai has been released from the hospital and is attending school again in England. She is working on a book, entitled I am Malala, to be published by Weidenfeld & Nicolson in the UK and by Little Brown in the US. “I hope the book will reach people around the world, so they realize how difficult it is for some children to get access to education,” Malala said. “I want to tell my story, but it will also be the story of 61 million children who can’t get education.”

  3. Malala’s victory
    From MSNBC, July 12:

    Wearing a pink shawl that had once belonged to slain Pakistani Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto, education rights activist Malala Yousafzai stood before the United Nations and made an impassioned call for women’s and children’s  education on her 16th birthday—just nine months after a Taliban gunman tried to silence her by putting a bullet through her head…

    “Dear friends, on the 9th of October 2012, the Taliban shot me on the left side of my forehead,” Yousafzai told the assembly. “They shot my friends, too. They thought that the bullet would silence us. But they failed. And out of that silence came thousands of voices. The terrorists thought that they could 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.”

  4. Taliban non-apology for Malala shooting
    A Tehrik-i-Taliban commander by the name of Adnan Rasheed has apparently issued a letter to Malala Yousafzai, saying the attack on her was “shocking” and “I wished it would never happened.” But the missive stops well short of an actual apology: “Taliban attacked you, was it islamically correct or wrong, or you were deserved to be killed or not, I will not go in this argument now, let’s we leave it to Allah All mighty, He is the best judge.” It also denies that Malala was attacked for advocating education, but: “Taliban believe that you were intentionally writing against them and running a smearing campaign to malign their efforts to establish Islamic system in swat and your writings were provocative.” He quickly moves on to how Pakistan’s education system is controlled by Jews and Freemasons. Go figure. See QMI Agency.

  5. Malala Yousafzai in bad company

    Daily Beast reports Sept. 26 on the Clinton Global Initiative gala at which its annual Global Citizen award went to the truly heroic Malala Yousafzai (for "Leadership in Civil Society")—and, perversely, to freedom-hater Michael Bloomberg (for "Leadership in Public Service" [sic!]). Malala, we understand that CGI has more money for your efforts to promote girls' education in the Swat Valley, but we were more comfortable when you were hanging with revolutionary Marxists

  6. Malala Yousafzai and double standards

    Well, we go what we wanted, and Malala Yousafzai now has her Nobel Peace Prize. India's First Post responds in an editorial, "The other Pakistani girl: Malala got the Nobel peace prize; here's why Nabila won't." The Nabila in quesiton is Nabila Rehman, who testified on Capitol Hill last year about how her grandmother was killed in a US drone strike. First Post writes: "There will be no Nobel prizes for Nabila, no fawning acknowledgements of her heroism, no tears of sympathy for the plight of Pakistani girls like her, who leave alone the right to education, are not even accorded the right to life."

    Yeah, we know… (Sigh…)

  7. Malala redeems herself… again

    Nobel Peace Prize Laureate Malala Yousafzai announced Oct. 30 that she is donating $50,000 to rebuild schools in Gaza. The amount represents the full proceeds of the World Children's Prize for the Rights of the Child, sometimes called the "Children's Nobel," which the 17-year-old education activist was just awarded in Sweden. Nearly two million children voted to give the award to Malala, who is the first person to win the Nobel Peace Prize and World Children's Prize in the same year.

    "I am donating these funds to the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA), which is performing heroic work to serve children in Gaza, in very difficult circumstances," she said. "The needs are overwhelming—more than half of Gaza’s population is under 18 years of age. They want and deserve quality education, hope and real opportunities to build a future." (Raid Punch)