Friday, December 9, 2011

Burden of Peace for theree wise women, Nobel Peace Prize 2011

Gentle smiles of enduring peace
Leymah Gbowee, Nobel Peace Prize winner and Patricia Howell from Jamaica in Oslo 8th Dec 2011

Nobel Peace Prize  2011- the feet of them that bring news of peace!

Celebrations now come on! There are some reflections, one can only make with the body! It ached then. It dances now. Three women have journeyed from afar.  See their first steps, barefeet and full of pain. See them dance today.

Celebrations now.. come on!

See me dance for them. See me. I am full of joy. Three wise women. They are in Oslo this historic day, of December 10th. This is the day when every year some outstanding personalities stand before us and make us one in hope. It is Human Rights Day.

I know there are controversial issues but today let me rejoice in these women. After all, it was in a workshop titled Defending Defenders in Nairobi  where I met one of these women, Leymah Gbowee. It was organized by  Urgent Action Africa then directed by Betty Kaari Murungi. There were women from Africa and Asia.

Many great sisters were there and I know today they are recalling that workshop in many parts of the world with joy because Leymah was there and because women are on the worlds’ podium for honor today.

There is a party going on right here..

The Nobel Peace Prize and its history still retains  great prestige and meaning. It remains a high peak. It is a big responsibility to receive it. I love the fact that this onus is on our wonderful sisters Tawakul, Leymah and Ellen Jonson Sirleaf in 2011.   

To walk in the company of Mother Teresa, Martin Luther King Jr., Chief Luthuli, Wangari Maathai, Nelson Mandela,  Kofi Annan and so many great people is a great thing!

Should I liken these three sisters to the three kings of yore? No. They are not all from the orient and the one that is may not have the three kings in the hadiths. Is this story part? It is December 10th 2011. Well, from that story let me steal the lesson that they must remain people who are moving towards others who are seemingly lowly as it was with kings travelling miles on camels to see a little baby in that Christmas story. Leymah Gbowee Prayed the devil back to hell sometime back with a large group of women. You can see the documentary on this today. She led.

Muslim and Christian women came out and challenged Charles Taylor who had taken liberty from Liberia.  They wanted their children back. They wanted to see their boys grow up and their girls and mothers not raped. They like many queens insisted their children had to live. It is about time women showed no fear in uniting even across religious groups. The world is challenged by serious divisions. Will women bring us the frankincense and myrrh we need for our healing?

United across age groups. Ellen Jonson is a torch bearer, Leymah runs strong and Tawakul is the youngest in age and certainly wise... they are all youthful!
 So celebrations..

I could be in my warm winter bed sleeping. It is so early. It is one of the days that my 4am alarm has rang after I have woken up. I thought I switched it off on my mobile phone and then it sweetly rang again after ten minutes. I remembered as I put it off how one feels when sleep embraces the eyes forcing them closed and an alarm rings. That you want that snooze. It is that snooze I cannot afford in life. And, I am in Oslo, how can I not write about this?

Part of Oslo will show great excitement  today. Sadly, some other people got used to it.  I am part of the ones trembling with joy, excited, even as I sit and write and am not invited to the concert which only big people go to. We can’t wait for the public torch parade and for the brief appearance of the Nobel Peace Prize winners at the historic window!  It is the land of equal opportunities! I am honored that  I read a poem in a gathering where one of the Nobel laureates was invited. I am contented that we- a group of African women-  saw one of the Nobel laureates barefoot  . and we joked about the dignity of the Nobel Prize!  Who would not celebrate the feet of women like these? It is not always our turn to mourn.  We loved seeing their families happy. We celebrate!

Tawakul, what is the use of the revolution if we only die and not dance? I hope for you so much. I hope the best. My mother says part of you name means lamp in her language.. Tawa, and so it was to be, and my son says that the other part is ‘cool!’ This is how domestic you have become in my village too.. so... Drive that energy into changing the world! All three of you, the work has only just begun. The world needs real changing, even here on the ground on which you receive the Nobel. Ask us.

Let me not dwell on what others say regarding deserving. This will always come up. It is not new. Give these women a break! Put your fears regarding this or that into something else.

Ellen Johnson Sirleaf has played a big part in peace building at home regardless of what some say. For me, it is just that. What they must say. Three women will receive the Nobel Prize for Peace. Tawakul is the youngest. She is from Yemen. She moved the revolution forward in the Arab Spring, in her country.

I am reminded of Martin Luther King Jr. I am reminded of non violence. I am reminded of some aspects of his amazing life and his ever living dream.

I am reminded of Martin Luther King Jr’s own acceptance speech of the Nobel Peace Prize on the 10th of December 1964 where he spoke more about the masses than about himself.

“Everytime I take a flight I am always mindful of the many people who make a successful journey possible, the known pilots and the unknown ground crew. ..You honor the ground crew without whose labor and sacrifices the jet flights to freedom could never have left the earth.”

We will always celebrate those who come and return to the people with words of peace regardless of a world that would rather they were not celebrated. Celebrate now!


  1. I enjoyed your reflections covering the historic events of Christmas celebrations through movements and experiences of Africa, as well as the comparison ot laureates to earlier distinguished memebers. We need your perspective!

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