Wednesday, October 14, 2009


While controversy continues to swirl around the selection of President Obama as the winner of the Nobel Peace Prize, in Afghanistan, the next momentous decision facing Obama, the news is more about the Afghan woman who was nominated for the prize but didn't win.

Her name is Dr. Sima Samar and unlike the criticism of the prize being given to Obama for having not yet accomplished anything, Dr. Samar does have a long list of accomplishments and many in Afghanistan felt she should have been given the prize.

P.J. Tobia,a journalist writing from inside Afghanistan describes her as "incredibly courageous" .

Dr. Samar has spent most of the last ten years treating women and young girls in Pakistan and Afghanistan at considerable risk to her own life. She is now the chairwoman of the Afghan Independent Human Rights Commission and is the first woman to have received a medical degree from Kabul University which she obtained in 1982.

Dr. Samar fled Afghanistan during the war with the Soviet Union and returned in 2002 where she became, according to writer P.J. Tobia, Minister of Women's Affairs in the interim Karzai government.

Dr. Samar prominently and publicly opposed the Burka saying that it was a principle cause of bone disease in Afghan women because of it preventing sunlight on the skin. In a country that saw the Taliban throw acid in the faces of 8 year old girls simply for going to school in violation of Taliban law, simply being a woman and being a doctor put Dr. Samar at risk. But to be so outspoken on her opposition to the Burka, Dr. Samar knew that she was risking her life on a daily basis and yet continued with her work.

According to Tobia, Samar losing the prize to Obama was bigger news in Afghanistan than Obama winning it. And a bigger disappointment. And it takes on even greater poignancy and irony since the future of Afghanistan and the security threat represented by the Taliban is going to be decided by Obama in the very near future.


Pamela of the Poconos said...

Thank you for bringing this to my attention.

The only truthful thing I've heard the man say is "I'll take help from anyone. Even Hillary." If you examine his life, what little we know of it, you cannot help but see the truth of the one conviction he holds.

So, of course, he's accepted.

susan h said...

The same people in the U.S. who are so surprised, upset, outraged, reacting to the idea that Obama was given the Nobel prize too early, before he did anything, before he was ready, with no reason since he has done nothing for peace, etc., probably are the same ones who voted for him as president before he was ready, before he had done anything, without his having any experience or qualifications. Why the double standard? Many say that giving Obama the Nobel peace prize, lowered the standard of the prize. Didn't giving Obama the presidency lower its standard as well?

barb said...

Speaking about Afghanistan and the is something that I was not aware of until speaking to my sister in LA LA land:

U.S. defense bill would pay Taliban to switch sides

Tue Oct 27, 2009 4:48pm EDT

* Bill includes provision to woo Taliban fighters

* Plan is to emulate Iraq program

By Susan Cornwell

WASHINGTON, Oct 27 (Reuters) -

The defense bill President Barack Obama will sign into law on Wednesday contains a new provision that would pay Taliban fighters who renounce the insurgency, Senate Armed Services Committee Chairman Carl Levin said on Tuesday.

The provision establishes a program in Afghanistan similar to one used in Iraq where former fighters were re-integrated into Iraqi society, Levin told Reuters.

Obama plans to sign the bill authorizing Pentagon operations for fiscal 2010 on Wednesday, the White House said.

Reaching out to moderate Taliban members is part of the Obama administration's plan to turn around the eight-year war in Afghanistan. Levin also has advocated trying to convince Taliban fighters to change sides by luring them with jobs and amnesty for past attacks.

Under the legislation, Afghan fighters who renounce the insurgency would be paid for "mainly protection of their towns and villages," Levin said.

It would be "just like the sons of Iraq," he said, referring to the program used in Iraq which military commanders say helped turn around a failing war.

"You got 90,000 Iraqis who switched sides, and are involved in protecting their hometowns against attack and violence."

The bill authorizes using money from an existing Commanders Emergency Response Program, which U.S. commanders can use for a variety of purposes. It does not set a specific dollar amount for the fighters' re-integration program.

There is $1.3 billion authorized for the fund in fiscal 2010, which began Oct. 1. The money must still be allocated by defense appropriators, who are working to finish the legislation.