Saturday, October 10, 2009

On Obama's Nobel Peace Prize

I can't say I'm displeased that the Nobel Committee decided to award the Nobel Peace Prize to Mr. Obama, even if to this point he has to his credit more inspiration  than tangible results.  But I also can't say I disagree with this assessment from the WaPo - that perhaps the award could have gone to Neda Agha Sultan, the young Iranian woman who was so senselessly gunned down in Tehran during the post-election demonstrations.

On the other hand, perhaps Rachel Corrie ought to have been remembered, even more.  If you don't know (or can't remember) who she was, note this excerpt from a recent essay by Stanford Universty's Joel Beinin:

On March 16, 2003, Corrie, a senior at Evergreen State College in Olympia, Washington, was crushed by an Israeli army bulldozer in Gaza. The mammoth Caterpillar D9 bulldozer, custom-fitted with armor by Israel, was leveling the ground and demolishing Palestinian homes in the city of Rafah along the Philadelphi axis -- the road that runs along the border between Egypt and the Gaza Strip. Many homes and buildings had already been destroyed to create an open space in preparation for constructing a wall on the border. Corrie was working with the ISM, an organization dedicated to non-violent, direct action in solidarity with the Palestinian people under military occupation. She was killed as she stood, unarmed, in front of the home of a Palestinian pharmacist, Samir Nasrallah, in an attempt to prevent the bulldozer from razing it. . . . .

The death of Rachel Corrie brought a raft of journalistic inquests, all ostensibly concerned to sift through the competing claims of her fellow activists in the International Solidarity Movement (ISM), who say she was murdered, and the Israeli state, which prefers to call her untimely end a “regrettable accident.” Some of the media accounts were skeptical of the army’s internal inquiry, others less so. Many reporters seemed more eager to grill the ISM activists who were present than the soldiers, in lockstep with the Israeli army’s own counterattack: “We are dealing with a group of protesters who are acting very irresponsibly, putting everyone in danger -- the Palestinians, themselves and our forces -- by intentionally placing themselves in a combat zone.” And the army, despite Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon’s reported promise to President George W. Bush of a “thorough, credible and transparent” investigation, was hardly open to outside scrutiny. Human Rights Watch, which included a section on Corrie in a June 2005 report on faulty Israeli military inquiries, was unable to pronounce a verdict upon how she died, but did conclude that “the impartiality and professionalism of the Israeli investigation into Corrie’s death are highly questionable.”

Would that the esteemed editors of the Washington Post had raised their voices on her behalf at the time.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

it would seem that Obama winning the Nobel Peace prize represents a vote of confidence from Europe


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