Nobel Peace Prize
Millions around the world rejoiced when Malala Yousafzai won the 2014 Nobel Peace Prize. Today, Canada will embrace Malala by granting her an honourary citizenship to recognize and celebrate her efforts to educate the girls in Pakistan. Today, we must also expose and confront the distorted narratives of those in Pakistan who systematically misconstrue facts and figures to discredit her.
While the announcement that Malala Yusufzai has been awarded the Nobel Peace Prize jointly with Kailash Satyarthi of India was greeted with jubilation across the world jubilant, many in her native Pakistan have shown open hostility towards her while her admirers fear that she may now never be able to return to her birthplace.
I am Malala. I come from a lineage of women who fought stereotypes, racism and bigotry in their adapted homes in North America. I continue to fight it here in Canada. I am Malala because I understand what it is like to have others want to silence you, your beliefs and your actions. Each and every single Muslim woman who has been a victim of racism, prejudice and bigotry is Malala.
The award this year of the Nobel Prize for Literature to Alice Munro is inspiring. Less satisfactory is the Norwegian Nobel Committee's award of the Peace Prize to the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons. The organization is doubtless well-intentioned, but it has absolutely no method to achieve its ends. It might be advisable for the Norwegian Nobel Committee to specify whether it is awarding the Peace Prize for genuine achievements of designated goals of peace, or for strenuous effort in such a cause with no implication of whether the recipient's efforts will actually be fruitful.
The next Nobel Peace Prize should not go to a human, or a human organization, but to man (and woman's) best friend -- the dog. Don't laugh -- I'm serious about this. Our canine companions have been protecting and befriending us for 10,000 years or more.
But the Nobel for peace has never been awarded to a young person, or to a movement of young people for social change. There has been no shortage of contenders. When the recipient of the 2013 Nobel Peace Prize is announced on Oct 11, many expect to hear a young person's name: Malala Yousafzai.
In 1999, as Médecins Sans Frontières' international president, Dr. Orbinski, accepted the award on behalf of MSF for its pioneering approach to medical humanitarianism, particularly for its approach to witnessing -- making the atrocities they observe known to the public. We got a chance to sit down with Dr. Orbinski.
For most countries, a citizen receiving the prestigious Nobel Prize is a source of pride and honor. But it was not so for China when the Nobel committee honored Liu Xiaobo for his nonviolent efforts to promote democracy, reform, and openness in China.
We did it! After tens of thousands of Canadians and even more people from around the world signed my petition on Change.org, we got every single party leader to get behind the campaign to unanimously nominate Malala Yousufzai for the 2013 Nobel Peace Prize. I had never imagined that not one, but all of our federal parties and leaders would end up supporting the campaign to support a girl halfway around the world.
Right now, Europe is having serious economic and social problems. But that's no reason to challenge the award of the Nobel Peace prize to the European Union. When it comes to handing out peace prizes, you can't ask for a lot more than traditional enemies beating their swords into ploughshares. And lions lying down with lambs. This Peace Prize is truly well-deserved.