A Tunisian democracy group was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for its outstanding contribution in establishing a multi-ethnic democracy in the North African country.
The Nobel Peace Committee recognized the group’s contributions in establishing one of the first and most successful Arab Spring Movements. Applauding the Tunisian National Dialogue Quartet’s efforts, the Norwegian Nobel Committee explained their decision.
“We applaud the Tunisian National Dialogue Quartet for its decisive contribution to the building of a pluralistic democracy in the North African country following its 2011 revolution. It established an alternative, peaceful political process at a time when the country was on the brink of civil war.”
It is interesting to note that the Nobel Peace Prize Committee bypassed much prominent figures and crusaders of peace, like Pope Francis or German Chancellor Angela Merkel, and handed the award to the democracy group of a tiny nation in North Africa that been recently rocked by not one, but two separate extremist attacks this year itself. Needless to add, the attacks were quite vicious and resulted in the deaths of 60 people and devastated the tourism industry; on which a majority of Tunisians base their livelihood.
Then again, the Nobel committee operates with remarkable secrecy. The Tunisian group did not figure in the popular speculation or in the favorites named by betting organizations, reported CNN. Notwithstanding the attacks or the global appreciation that Nobel laureates usually have for their contributions, the democracy group does deserve recognition for its untiring and unflinching efforts at establishing a peaceful and long-lasting democracy that involves the local ethnicities, of which, there are quite a few. The Nobel Committee emphasized this in their decision.
“The Quartet was formed in the summer of 2013 when the democratization process was in danger of collapsing as a result of political assassinations and widespread social unrest. It established an alternative, peaceful political process at a time when the country was on the brink of civil war. It was thus instrumental in enabling Tunisia, in the space of a few years, to establish a constitutional system of government guaranteeing fundamental rights for the entire population, irrespective of gender, political conviction or religious belief.”
The National Dialogue Quartet is so called, because it is made up of four key organizations in Tunisian civil society: the Tunisian General Labour Union; the Tunisian Confederation of Industry, Trade and Handicrafts; the Tunisian Human Rights League; and the Tunisian Order of Lawyers, reported the Times of Israel.
Though the Nobel Committee stressed that the Nobel Peace Prize for 2015 has been awarded to the Quartet as a group that has been working collectively for the stable democracy in Tunisia, and not the individual organizations, the prize seemed to acknowledge the Arab Spring movement, which incidentally began in Tunisia in December, 2010.
Though the Arab Spring movement began with optimism, idealism, and hope, its ideals aren’t reflected in the ground reality in the North African regions where civil wars have spurred one of the biggest human migrations. Still the Nobel Committee awarded the Peace prize to the Quartet, perhaps because it recognized its efforts to sow the seeds of a peaceful democracy and accord fundamental rights to the local citizenry.
This year’s Nobel Peace Prize had 273 viable candidates, five fewer than last year. Interestingly, the Nobel Committee chose to bypass American Edward Snowden, Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos, Dmitry Muratov, and many others who were considered as most likely to win the coveted Nobel Peace Prize.
The Arab Spring Movement began when a street vendor set himself on fire to protest harassment by authorities. The act has since caused a fundamental change spurred by widespread protests against the atrocious regional administrations. The Nobel Committee might have felt the recognition was more than due for organizations that worked for peace despite such huge odds.
[Image Credit | Chris Jackson, Fethi Belaid / Getty Images]