Malala wins the Sakharov Prize, Nobel Peace Prize Next?

Malala Yousafzai, the courageous 16-year-old who has championed education for all in the face of Taliban thuggery, has been awarded the European Parliament’s Sakharov Prize for Freedom of Thought. This comes in the wake of her appearance on The Daily Show last night, where her generosity of spirit was once again on display, as it was in her extraordinary speech at the United Nations earlier this year.

Tomorrow the winner of the Nobel Peace Prize will be announced. There are a number of strong candidates, including: Denis Mukwege, medical director of Panzi Hospital in eastern DRC; Claudia Paz y Paz, Guatemala’s Attorney General; and a number of human rights and democracy activists from Russia, China, Vietnam, and elsewhere. There are also a number of candidates who would be embarrassingly awful selections, including: Vladimir Putin, Edward Snowden, and Chelsea Manning.

Malala meanwhile seems to be the perfect choice—someone admired by those whose top priority is human rights and also by those who value nonviolence above all else. The education and empowerment of girls and women around the world would make a tremendous contribution to the global common good. Malala may be young, but that just makes her incredible courage, poise, and compassion even more extraordinary. Mukwege would be an outstanding and truly worthy selection, but my personal preference is for Malala.


Around the Web: A Week of Violence and Brutality Around the World

The week was full of articles detailing horrible acts of violence, brutality, and terrorism around the world.

Suicide Attack at Church in Pakistan Kills Dozens by NY Times: “A suicide attack on a historic Christian church in northwestern Pakistan killed at least 78 people on Sunday in one of the deadliest attacks on the Christian minority in Pakistan in years.”

Terrifying Images From A Terrorist Attack At A Mall In Kenya by Rachel Zarrell, Buzzfeed: “Warning: Very graphic images. According to the Red Cross, 68 people have been killed and more than 175 injured in a terrorist attack on an upscale Nairobi mall by al-Shabab, a Somalian militant group.”

Nigerian Islamists kill at least 159 in two attacks by Reuters: “Islamist Boko Haram militants killed 159 people in two roadside attacks in northeast Nigeria this week, officials said, far more than was originally reported and a sign that a four-month-old army offensive has yet to stabilize the region.”

Attacks Kill Scores in Iraq as Violence Surges by AP: “A suicide bomber detonated his explosives-laden car near a funeral tent packed with mourners and another bomber on foot blew himself up nearby in a Shiite part of Baghdad on Saturday, killing at least 72 people and wounding more than 120, officials said.”

The heroes inside Syria by Samer Attar: “The situation in Syria is not just about chemical weapons. It is about the systematic killing of innocents by a tyrannical regime violently lashing out to stay in power.”

The Forgotten Crisis in the Central African Republic by Lewis Mudge: “Little known outside France, its former coloniser, CAR has been bedeviled by the twin curses of poverty and misrule. Its former strongman president, François Bozizé, who took power in a coup in 2003, was overthrown by the Seleka in March this year. Emerging from the remote and impoverished northeast, the Seleka, or “alliance” in the national language, has engaged in widespread abuses.”

On Invoking the Deaths of Children: Where Does the Real “Moral Obscenity” Lie?  by Eric Reeves: “Antonov attacks take place on a virtually daily basis according to multiple Darfuri reports from the ground in Darfur; similar reports come from the Nuba Mountains and Blue Nile. Destruction of wells and villages, the loss of livestock and an unrelenting death and despair — these are the “bombs” the Antonovs drop. And sometimes the children, invisible to us because we choose not to look, or even compel UN observation, are terribly wounded by these bombs. To suggest that their terrors, their pain and agony, their deaths are any less “morally obscene” than gas attacks on children in Syria is a painfully invidious comparison — the more so since in the end, it is politically expedient.”

U.N. Investigator: North Korean Prisons Like Nothing Seen Since Nazi Atrocities by Hayes Brown: “North Koreans forced into prison camps live out an existence unlike any seen since the killing fields of Cambodia or the horrors of World War II, according to the head of a U.N. panel assigned to investigate Pyongyang’s human rights violations.”

D.C. Navy Yard gun attack kills 12, injures 8 by Washington Post: “A gunman killed a dozen people as the workday began at theWashington Navy Yard on Monday, creating an improbable moment of horror at a military facility with armed guards at every gate and leaving investigators seeking clues about what spurred the attack.”