News Release

Nobel Peace Prize and Protests Against Wars

Today marks ten years since the U.S. began its invasion of Afghanistan; protests against war and corporate power are underway in D.C. in coordination with protests around the U.S.

The New York Times reports: “The Nobel Peace Prize for 2011 was awarded on Friday to three campaigning women from Africa and the Arab world in acknowledgment of their nonviolent role in promoting peace, democracy and gender equality. The winners were Liberian President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf — Africa’s first elected female president — her compatriot, peace activist Leymah Gbowee and Tawakul Karman of Yemen, a pro-democracy campaigner.”

EMIRA WOODS, via Lacy MacAuley, lacy at ips-dc.org
Woods is co-director of Foreign Policy In Focus at the Institute for Policy Studies. She is originally from Liberia and appeared on Democracy Now this morning.

DAVID SWANSON, david at davidswanson.org
Swanson is one of the organizers of the anti-war and corporate power protests in D.C. now in Freedom Plaza. Today’s protests include demonstrations at military contractors’ headquarters. Swanson’s books include “War Is A Lie.” Swanson has criticized Obama’s receipt of the Nobel Peace Prize as wars are escalated, draining resources.

FREDRIK HEFFERMEHL, [in Norway] fredpax at online.no
Author of the new book The Nobel Peace Prize: What Nobel Really Wanted, Heffermehl argues that the Nobel committee has violated the terms of Alfred Nobel’s will, which established the prize. He said today: “I am happy to congratulate the three champions of women´s rights and non-violence, and the recognition of women´s essential role in the struggle for peace. It could easily have been related to Alfred Nobel´s vision of peace, but the reasons given by the committee show that Norwegian politicians adamantly keep insisting on keeping Nobel´s peace vision an invisible secret. Global cooperation on global disarmament was what Alfred Nobel intended to support with his prize for ‘the champions of peace,’ not human rights, humanitarian aid, environment. He wished to cure the international system — not solve local conflicts. At the time Nobel wrote his will, Norway was a strong supporter of disarmament based on global law. Today a Norway heavily involved in armaments and wars is directly opposed to Nobel and his vision of peace. After four years of imploring appeals I have had to conclude that Norway´s parliament adamantly ignores the legal obligation to respect the will.”

REENA, SONALI KOLHATKAR, also via Sana Shuja, press at afghanwomensmission.org,
Currently in Afghanistan and available for a limited number of interviews, Reena is a member of Revolutionary Association of the Women of Afghanistan, which warned of dire consequences of the U.S. invasion at the time:

Kolhatkar is author of “Bleeding Afghanistan: Washington, Warlords, and the Propaganda of Silence” and is co-director of the Afghan Women’s Mission, which is organizing a live video stream discussion with Reena and a live audience in Los Angeles on tonight at 7 p.m. PT / 10 p.m. ET.

Reena this morning on Democracy Now questioned the significance of the Nobel Peace Prize since a woman who was reportedly serious considered for it recently was allied with warlords, saying that the Prize seems to be given on the basis of political calculations.