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...