Lessons of the 2009 Nobel Peace Prize by Gregory Hilton

The lead editorial in today’s Washington Post says the recipient of the 2009 Nobel Peace Prize should have been Neda Agha-Soltan:

It’s an odd Nobel Peace Prize that almost makes you embarrassed for the honoree. This year, hundreds of thousands of ordinary people in Iran braved ferocious official violence to demand their right to vote and to speak freely. Dozens were killed, thousands imprisoned. One of those killed was a young woman named Neda Agha-Soltan; her shooting by thugs working for the Islamist theocracy, captured on video, moved the world.
A posthumous award for Neda, as the avatar of a democratic movement in Iran, would have recognized the sacrifices that movement has made and encouraged its struggle in a dark hour. Democracy in Iran would not only set a people free, it would also dramatically improve the chances for world peace, since the regime that murdered her is pursuing nuclear weapons in defiance of the international community.

In accepting the award lets hope President Obama says he is doing this on Neda’s behalf, and that Americans will not falter in their commitment to democracy, freedom and human rights. Neda’s death on behalf of the democratic cause places her in the same category as those patriots at Bunker Hill and Valley Forge. She will not receive the 2009 award, but the U.S. Congress should nominate her for the 2010 honor.
This morning President Obama was correct in noting “And I know that throughout history, the Nobel Peace Prize has not just been used to honor specific achievement; it’s also been used as a means to give momentum to a set of causes.”

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