Posted by Wordsmith on 10 October, 2009 at 5:01 pm. 15 comments already!

An Afghan woman carries a girl while standing in line at a polling station in Herat, western Afghanistan, August 20, 2009.
REUTERS/Raheb Homavandi

“To be honest, I do not feel that I deserve to be in the company of so many transformative figures that have been honored by this prize. Me and women who have inspired me and inspired the entire world through their courageous pursuit of peace.”
-President Obama, from his gracious (yes it was) Nobel Peace Prize acceptance speech October 9, 2009

How about not feeling worthy of standing above those “transformative figures” who haven’t been honored by the peace prize? Who are the ones who stand in the shadow of “The One we’ve been waiting for”?


A record 205 nominations (72 individuals and 33 organizations) were made for the 2009 Nobel Peace Prize. And President Barack Hussein Obama beat them all. Notable among these? Dr. Sima Samar:

here in Afghanistan the big story is about the nominee who didn’t win the prize. That would be Dr. Sima Samar, an incredibly courageous Afghan woman who has risked her life for much of the past decade, treating women and girls in Afghanistan and Pakistan.

Dr. Samar is the chairwomen of the Afghan Independent Human Rights Commission, a very influential organization in Kabul. She has won more awards from human rights organizations than I can list here, but you can see them for yourself on her Wiki page.

Dr. Samar was the first Hazara woman to obtain a medical degree from Kabul University, back in 1982. After a four-month residency at Wazir Akhbar Khan Hospital in Kabul, she was forced to flee for her life as Soviets and Mujahedeen fought bloody street battles in the capital. She returned to her home village of Jaghoori, where she began treating the sick in rural Afghanistan. Soon the Russians arrested her husband and, once again Dr. Samar fled, this time with her young son, to Pakistan. In Pakistan she founded a clinic to treat refugees of the war in Afghanistan and has since described the conditions in the refugee camps as “appalling.”

Dr. Samar returned to Afghanistan in 2002, where she assumed the post of Deputy President and later Minister of Women’s Affairs in the interim government of Hamid Karzai. She was forced to resign after making negative comments about sharia law and her life was constantly under threat. She is vocally opposed to the Burka, saying the the lack of sunlight on women’s skin causes Afghan women to have an unusually high instance of bone diseases.

Dr. Samar has likely saved the lives of countless women and girls who’s medical problems would otherwise have been ignored and their eventual deaths, unnoticed. Guess that’s not enough for the gang up in Oslo.

Better luck next year, Doc.

A schoolgirl sits in a classroom at Syed Pasha school, which was built by Canadian troops, near Kandahar Air Field September 8, 2009.
REUTERS/Finbarr O’Reilly


In the face of threats to her own safety, Dr. Samar has defied the Taliban’s edicts that deny women and girls their basic rights to education, employment, mobility and medical care. Since 1989, Dr. Samar has been operating schools for girls and health clinics in many of the provinces of Afghanistan as well as in the refugee camps in Quetta, Pakistan. She has shown an incredible commitment towards assisting Afghan women in their struggles to end their oppression and to provide them with access to healthcare and education services. She is a strong advocate for the involvement of Afghan women in government and the reconstruction of civil society in Afghanistan.

Sima Samar was born in February 1957 in Ghazani, Afghanistan. As a child in school, she learned what it meant to be a minority in Pushtun-dominated Afghanistan. She is Hazara, one of the most persecuted of the ethnic minorities in Afghanistan that comprise some 17 percent of the population. Moreover, as a female in a conservative Muslim society, she was doubly second class. At 18, she married and began her medical education. She obtained her degree in medicine in February 1982 from Kabul University, the first Hazara woman to do so. Soon after came the Russian invasion, and as a doctor, she aided the anti-Soviet resistance movement, the mujahideen. When her husband was arrested in 1984, never to be seen again, Sima Samar and her young son fled to the safety of nearby Pakistan, where she worked as a doctor in a refugee camp in the small border town of Quetta. Thousands of refugees from war-ravaged Afghanistan lived there in appalling misery, particularly the women, who were forbidden to visit male doctors, venture from their homes to work or attend school.

With other women, Dr. Samar established her first hospital for women in 1987 and later in 1989 established the Shuhada Organization, a non-governmental and non-profit organization committed to the reconstruction and development of Afghanistan with special emphasis on the empowerment of women and children. Dr. Samar and her medical staff now run four hospitals and ten clinics in Afghanistan and another hospital in Quetta that provide much needed medical assistance and education for Afghan women and children. Worried about where the next generation of female physicians will come from, Dr. Samar also provides medical training courses at the hospitals she runs. She runs schools in rural Afghanistan for more than 20,000 students as well as a school for refugee girls in Quetta attended by over 1,000 girls. Her literacy programs are accompanied by distribution of food aid and information on hygiene and family planning. Services also include mobile health clinics and medical outreach workers who go door to door. Last year, the Taliban succeeded in closing two of her hospitals in Afghanistan but the others are still running.

Dr. Samar refuses to accept that women must be kept in purdah (secluded from the public) and speaks out against the wearing of the burqa (head-to-foot wrap), which was enforced by the Taliban. She also has drawn attention to the fact that many women in the area are suffering from osteomalacia, a softening of the bones, due to an inadequate diet. Wearing the burqa reduces exposure to sunlight and aggravates the situation for women suffering from osteomalacia.

Dr. Samar is also part of the international network Women Living Under Muslim Laws, which has links in 40 countries and a powerful voice at the United Nations. She received the prestigious Ramon Magsaysay Award for Community Leadership in 1984.

And who is it that beat out this woman and 203 other nominations for the 2009 Nobel Peace Prize? Who is it that will be the clarion “call to action” for Americans? Whose personal story and commitment to appeasement is an inspiration for everyone around the world? Why, none other than our own illustrious, dear leader who, on the same day as his win, snubbed the 1989 peace prize recipient: Barack Hussein Obama.


And we Americans better applaud the choice and be proud of our president’s win. We wouldn’t want to be called “unpatriotic” and accused of siding with the Taliban, now would we?

Hat tip for the story: CJ

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