2011 Nobel Peace Prize

Who is this years Nobel Peace Prize winner? I had not even heard the name Tarwakul Karman, so it was with appreciation that I read this Huffington Post article. Sahar Taman reports, “Tawakul was among those who ignited Yemen’s anti-government protests in early 2011. However she did not just start on February 3rd, the Day of Rage, but throughout the year before she had led weekly protests at the Girl’s College of Sana’a University demanding women’s rights and freedoms. Since 2007, even before Tunisia and Egypt, Tawakul’s was a non-violent movement. She organized and led demonstrations of media professionals against censorship and for the right to create a free radio station. The government usually responded with violence, initially showing some restrain by not beating her directly. She told me that it was her husband, Mohamed, who readily agreed to take the blows instead of his wife by walking before her in the demonstrations. Despite the peace movement, Tawakul was arrested for inciting protests, but continued unabated after she was released. Unfortunately, at this time the violence is extremely bloody and hundreds of activists have been shot dead by government forces. For several weeks Tawakul has been sitting in a tent in Sana’a Square witnessing and reporting on the deaths and injuries.”

“Tawakul is a humble woman, choosing to dress simply and modestly. She wears long overcoats and at one time she wore the face veil willing until she just took it off. She said that she was about to address an audience when she realized that it was in the way and needed to go. Tawakul, in her role as advocate for women’s right, does not advocate for women to remove the face veil. She said this kind of focus in diverts from priorities. Instead she advocates for women to be able to do as they wish.

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