Nadia Murad’s Nobel Peace Prize
Amid all the tragedy that has befallen Iraq over the last two decades, on October 5 Iraqis had a reason to celebrate.
On that date, Nadia Murad, a 25-year-old Iraqi Yazidi woman who fell victim to the Islamic State’s inhumanity, was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize, the first in Iraq’s history. Along with Congolese doctor Denis Mukwege, she was recognised for her “efforts to end the use of sexual violence as a weapon of war.”
In 2014, Murad was kidnapped by the Islamic State (ISIS) and repeatedly tortured and gang-raped. Most of her family was killed.
She escaped after three months in captivity and bravely spoke out about the barbarity she faced, giving powerful testimony about the depravity of an extremist group that reduced women to sex slaves and sought to annihilate members of other religious sects and faiths.
ISIS may have been defeated on the battlefield over the last few years but its ideology remains a threat to the region and all of humanity.
Murad’s fate recalls that of thousands of Yazidis who are still missing, as well as the millions of others belonging to Middle East religious minority groups victimised by the bloodthirsty fanatics of ISIS.
Murad’s dramatic journey is a stark reminder of the tragic fate of all Iraqis who have suffered from terrorism. The US State Department’s annual report on terrorism stated that Iraq was hit with at least 1,951 terrorist attacks in 2017, killing an estimated 4,269 people, by far the heaviest toll of any country in the world.
Iraqis are right to feel proud of Nadia Murad but, like all other populations in the region, they should also look forward to seeing more Arab citizens become Nobel laureates and join the ranks of leading scientists and contributors to universal progress. That will obviously have to be preceded by an Arab scientific revolution and the end of war and strife.
Announcing the award, Nobel Peace Prize Committee Chairwoman Berit Reiss-Andersen said: “A more peaceful world can only be achieved if women and their fundamental rights and security are recognised and protected in war.”
In the Arab region, a more peaceful and prosperous world would be more achievable if women are protected and their rights promoted in times of war and peace.