So it looks like Malala hasn’t won the Nobel Peace Prize. As I have blogged elsewhere, I have mixed feelings. And according to speculation from Norwegian news sites it seems as though the committee also had reservations about her tender age.
The channel speculated that the five-strong Committee was concerned that awarding the prize to Malala risked encouraging another assassination attempt from Islamic extremists, and that, at just 16 years’ old, she might be too young to cope with the weight of the prize.
Three things to say about this:
- The first reason smacks of appeasement. The Pakistan Taliban has already tried to kill her and will try again. Malala will continue to put herself in danger, Nobel prize or not. Extremists’ threats should not be a factor in the decision
- I happen to agree that the prize would bring a huge burden on such young shoulders. Give her a chance to complete her schooling – and she will continue as a powerful campaigner, whatever happens. She will win another year
- And I hope the eventual winner is a worthy recipient, whose award will highlight a noble cause. If it is Denis Mukwege, the Congolese doctor helping victims of rape, then who can argue? He is doing important work in a forgotten war. If as is being reported it goes to the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons, then it will be another risky political decision by the Nobel committee, sending a message on Syria