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Posted on on October 7th, 2011
by Pincas Jawetz (

Before today’s  announcements from Oslo, 12 women had been honored previously with the PEACE PRIZE, including Mother Teresa, Jane Addams, and Wangari Maathai, the 2004 winner who died two weeks ago.

Speculation had centered on whether the prize would be awarded to leaders involved in the Arab Spring protests that toppled leaders in Tunisia, Egypt and Libya. But the deadline for nominations is February 1, when President Hosni Mubarak was still in power in Egypt and before protests had spread to much of the rest of the Arab world.

“I very much appreciate the bloggers,” Jaglund said when asked why Karman and not others involved in the protests had received the prize. But Karman’s “courage was long before the world media was there and reporting,” he said.

For  Nobel Prize for Peace – THIS WAS THE YEAR OF THE WOMEN. The Three Recipients are: Liberian President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf, Liberian activist Leymah Gbowee and Tawakul Karman, a Yemeni opposition leader, honored for their “non-violent struggle for the safety of women and for women’s rights to full participation in peace-building work.”

Karman, 32, is one of Yemen’s most vocal and well-known activists and a member of the country’s main Islamic opposition party, Islah. Wearing her trademark pink floral headscarf, and using text messages, Facebook and other social media, she organized the first student demonstrations at Sanaa University challenging the rule of President Ali Abdullah Saleh.

The Nobel committee hopes that the prize “will help to bring an end to the suppression of women that still occurs in many countries, and to realize the great potential for democracy and peace that women can represent,” Jagland said. He said that in the fight for democracy in the Arab world, “One must include the women and not set them aside.”

It seems that before the onset of the Arab Spring – or the larger upheaval in the Arab World, this was supposed to have been the African Women Year.

So we have – Johnson-Sirleaf, a 72-year-old, Harvard University-trained economist, was elected president of Liberia in 2005, becoming the first female democratically elected president of an African nation.

Sirleaf faces an election next week, and Jagland was questioned after the announcement as to whether the Nobel committee was interfering in politics by announcing the prize so close to a poll. He said that the committee’s decision had nothing to do with the domestic affairs of the country. Seemingly the prize to her is pure recognition of a woman’s achievements in the African male world.

Gbowee, a social worker and trauma counselor, organized the Women of Liberian Mass Action for Peace, a non-violent group of women who demonstrated wearing white t-shirts to symbolize peace, and, in 2003 she has worked this way to mobilize the women across ethnic and religious dividing lines and helped bring an end to Liberia’s civil war.


SANAAFri Oct 7, 2011

(Reuters) – Yemeni winner of the Nobel Peace Prize Tawakul Karman said on Friday the award was a victory for Yemen’s democracy activists and they would not give up until they had won full rights in a “democratic, modern Yemen”.

“This is a victory for the youth first and foremost. We are here to win our freedom and dignity in their entirety. Our youth revolution wants our complete rights,” she told broadcaster Al Jazeera, from “Change Square”, centre of the protest movement.

“We will not allow our revolution to be left incomplete. We want a democratic, modern Yemen. That’s what the youth and the martyrs and the wounded have vowed to gain. We will continue our peaceful movement.”

Tawakul has been a key figure among the youth activists since they began camping out at Change Square in central Sanaa in February demanding the end of President Ali Abdullah Saleh’s three-decade rule.

She has often been the voice of the street activists on Arabic television, giving them on the ground reports of the situation at the square outside Sanaa University, where dozens of activists have been shot dead by government forces.

Karman said all Yemenis she was in contact with were thrilled about the award.

“Yemen will go down in history thanks to Tawakul Karman. She deserves the prize. She has kept fighting for the sake of her peoples’ freedom,” said Abdulbari Taher, a protest leader in Sanaa.

A government official also praised Karman’s award, expressing hope it would lead to a resolution of a crisis that has ground Yemen’s economy to a halt.

Saleh, who survived an assassination attempt in June, has repeatedly refused to sign a peace deal arranged by Gulf Arab countries that would see him step down ahead of new elections.

“I’m very happy with the news that she won the Nobel Prize and it’s something that all Yemenis can be proud of,” Deputy Information Minister Abdu al-Janadi said. “I hope this prize will be a step toward rationality.”

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