As if we NEEDED the Nobel
The reality is that the West treats the rest of the
world as less
November 14, 2003
I sincerely congratulate
our fellow citizen, Shirin Ebadi, for earning such a prestigious
follows is not intended
to subdue her achievement at all. Quite to the contrary, having
come to know her by how she expressed her beliefs after winning
the recognition, I believe she is indeed a woman of high moral
qualities. She seems to be searching her way out of the much
hoopla of commonplace ceremonies and the so called opposing
critiques, to cease the opportunity for taking a part in helping
or a section of it if you will, that is under tremendous pressure
from within and without.
pans out in our world (as the West insists to differentiate it
from the rest of the world to imply, if not
to express, inferiority)
remains to be seen. I will not be surprised, however, if she runs
for the executive office and even succeed Khatami. That would be
an interesting dilemma for the Guardian Council to handle her candidacy.
Nevertheless, we do not want to experience the same fate that Sadat,
Rabin, and Arafat, faced after they received the same honor.
received an email almost immediately after the news, I read
the Norwegian Nobel Committee's statement.
I tried to remain a silent observer as I kept receiving joyous
emails and telephone
calls. I read some related articles, and watched the media. Thanks
to cyber space, people expressed their opinions ranging from
the view that Islamic Republic had managed to influence the committee's
decision, to certain beliefs that she was the beginning of an
to Islamic Republic. Yet, no one seemed to care how the statement
People seemed to have won the jackpot, and were financing
the way to make all their wishes come true or the opposite as if
they have lost whatever hope they had to end tyranny in Iran!
The committee is indeed abreast of times and has certainly used
its international influence to promote peace at critical points
in the world affair. While former U.S. president Jimmy Carter was
well qualified / nominated for the peace prize several times, the
committee chose to honor him with the award only at a time of crisis
to sharply and expressly criticize the belligerent Bush when he
vied and ridiculed the international community that was trying
its best to prevent a dubious and unbalanced war last year.
As a matter of principle, I doubt the West to ever
care about the well being of our people let alone giving it a priority
own interests. Yet, it seems to me the committee followed the same
pattern again. Shirin Ebadi, as a secular who also believed in
Islamic principles, was a perfect choice for a point of reference
to mitigate the increasing apathy, if not hatred, towards the West.
Given the perception (regardless of its underlying basis) that
Iranian people are fed up with hardliners and are very much disappointed
with reformists' performance, Shirin Ebadi could boost the
morale in the secularists' camp.
Well, exercising her own free will
or "as planned" based on conspiracy theories, Shirin Ebadi seems
to side with reformists.
Whether it was intended or not is not the issue. She was never
elected by Iranian people to represent a common interest in the
international community or even within our borders. Her painstaking
professional and community works brought her a prestigious international
honor like hundreds, if not thousands, of other Iranians in the
fields of sports, science, economy, etc. who may have (or not
have) received recognitions at different levels one way or the
While we want to believe her winning the award has obligated
her to side with a particular political interest, as long as she
not elected to represent us, we can certainly enjoy her honor
by association but she is a free citizen to pursue her own goal.
every Iranian or anyone in the Moslem or third world has every
right to criticize the committee for its following two sets of
standards in honoring Nobel Peace Winners.
Gunner Berge, the
committee chairman directly attacked Bush administration for
undermining peace "(awarding it to Jimmy Carter) should
be interpreted as a criticism of the line that the current
administration has taken" the official announcement also carried
weight "In a situation currently marked by threats of the
use of power, Carter has stood by the principles that conflicts
must as far as possible be resolved through mediation and international
co-operation based on international law, respect for human
rights, and economic development.
American people are clearly not
a subject of the peace committee's official statements related
the warmonger Bush or the
pacifist Carter both of whom represented them in the past and
present. The committee, however, feels comfortable to subject
or Moslems to the less honorable tone and tenure of an official
statement as if they begged for recognition or Shirin Ebadi
was an elected Iranian representative. And as if the committee
the final authority of deciding who is in NEED of an award.
Even the structure of the sentence is in the passive voice "one
of their citizens has been awarded the Nobel Peace Prize" instead
of an active voice that an Iranian has WON the Nobel Peace Prize.
Moslems or women of that world are free and born with equally
the same inalienable rights as any other
people. Yet the West,
America in particular, has treated them as minors who need appointed
custodians instead of elected officials. Even so a variety of
maneuvers, including coups, was needed to make sure the interests
of the self
appointed judge are protected instead of the minors'. Such
a mentality is so complacent that the Novel Peace Committee,
for which I have the greatest respect, faults a statement to imply
we hope the Prize will be an inspiration for all those who
struggle for human rights and democracy in her country, in the
world, and in all countries where the fight for human rights
It is not a coincidence
that the committee disconnects Carter and Bush administration from
American people to praise
for peace or
criticize for war. Is it a twist of fate to connect Shirin Ebadi
to her country and the Moslem world? Even if it is, the chances
of intentional bad faith are slim. It is simply a clear indicator
of a self centered culture to round up our people as minors in
Iran and the third world that they, the masters, chose one of
us to inspire and support a good homework for human rights.
New York Times noted "Mr. Carter... has stretched the
gravitas and star power of the Oval Office to promote democratic
values across the world." I have yet to see a note pointing
out the fact that Shirin Ebadi did all her work within the framework
of Islamic Republic. Meaning one can peacefully stretch the fight
for human rights within and against the boundaries of the same
regime that violated those same rights. Is it possible to do
the same for thousands who are held as prisoners and labeled "terrorists"
a charge by Bush administration?
No, I am not trying to be cynical.
I am simply pointing out the reality of how the West treats
the rest of the world
than equal. If the Bush administration forges the Patriotic
Act to limit human rights, it is the late comers to the U.S. who
If a particular tyrant is out of favor, his people are lucky
the harsh reality of economic sanctions imposed by the West
instead of an invasion. If Timothy McVeigh commits an act of terror,
it is an individual who pays for it and, at most, a cult
gets blamed. But
if it is Bin Laden, the whole Islamic World must pay for
his crimes, and religious leaders who are supposed to spread love,
time to label its prophet "a terrorist". Interestingly
enough, even if you are an atheist from the third world (based
on their ranking criteria) you are still guilty of being
by birth, looks, and ethnicity.
Iran has proved to be a country of peace for the
past three centuries. It did not invade a single country even if
it was required to take
back what was taken from her by force. While the West was busy
expanding its imperialist and colonialist greed, Iran kept losing
When the Pahlavi regime was in favor, and Iran was the most powerful
country in the region, the same arrogant Shah respected (or followed
the order for, if you prefer) the will of Bahrainis to form an
independent state or be a colony of the West.
We are a peaceful nation, and so many prominent
figures sacrificed their own interests to settle political differences
means. Mossadeq respected the international community and filed
his grievances with an international court. In return he was
welcomed by a dirty American coup against his lawful government.
stood tall against Khomaini when he violated human rights, knowingly
trading his guaranteed position to succeed him with house arrest.
So is the case with so many peace activists who paid the ultimate
price of their own lives.
Don't tell us to stop complaining about the past.
Tell the West to stop treating our people as second class citizens
of the world.
Even more to the point, tell the West to stop repeating its
past crimes in new forms. Economic, military, and technological
might is not
a cart e blanch to legitimize use of force. Don't use them
to sell your own version of democracy. We experienced centuries
of tyranny where self centered ruling caliphs oppressed people
to force their own version of Islam. As much as they abused
Islam for so long, it took the West such a short period of time
a lot more damage abusing democracy. What is the difference
between their invading sovereign nations in the name of Islam,
and the West
is doing the same in the name of democracy? Yeah, the West
does it for peace too!
Yes, the silent majority of our peace activists,
or those of the Moslem World, are busy doing the real work. Most
eastern to prefer remaining anonymous. And if one of whom
like Shirin Ebadi does apply for recognition, it is the Nobel Peace
Committee to be grateful because she took the extra step
bridge the gap between the self-centered West and the humble
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