Posts Tagged ‘ Nobel Peace Prize ’

A Nobel Prize for Edhi

Pakistanis for Peace and Manzer Munir cordially and humbly request you to please sign this petition to nominate Abdul Sattar Edhi for the Nobel Peace Prize.

The Nobel Peace prize is an annual prize awarded to individuals who have made formidable contributions to the pursuit of peace and have, through their work, changed the world for the better.

As the founder of Pakistan’s largest welfare organization, the Edhi Foundation and trust, Mr Abdul Sattar Edhi embodies the spirit of this prize, and is a deserving candidate for this honour. He has single-handedly served countless Pakistani’s and has left a lasting impact on his fellow countrymen and the world.

Quite simply, there has never been anyone more deserving of the Nobel Peace prize in its entire history than Mr Abdul Sattar Edhi. Please help us get him his dues by having him finally nominated this year.

Please sign this petition to show your support for the nomination of Mr.Edhi for the 2012 Nobel Peace Prize.

 

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Norway Suspect Wanted European Anti-Muslim Crusade

As Reported by The Associated Press

The man blamed for killing at least 93 people during terrorist attacks on Norway’s government headquarters and an island retreat for young people wanted to trigger an anti-Muslim revolution in Norwegian society, his lawyer said Sunday.

A chief surgeon treating the wounded from Friday’s mass shooting, meanwhile, said he believes the attacker used special “dum-dum” bullets that cause massive internal injuries. The doctor told The Associated Press that the killer’s chosen ammo “exploded inside the body.”

The manifesto that 32-year-old suspect Anders Behring Breivik published online ranted against Muslim immigration to Europe and vowed revenge on those “indigenous Europeans” whom he deemed had betrayed their heritage. The document said they would be punished for their “treasonous acts.”

Police said they were analyzing the approximately 1,500-page document. They said it was published Friday shortly before the back-to-back bomb and gun attacks.

Breivik’s lawyer, Geir Lippestad, said his client wrote the document alone. While police said they were investigating reports of a second assailant on the island, the lawyer said Breivik claims no one helped him.

The treatise detailed plans to acquire firearms and explosives, and even appeared to describe a test explosion: “BOOM! The detonation was successful!!!” It ends with a note dated 12:51 p.m. on July 22: “I believe this will be my last entry.”

That day, a bomb killed seven people in downtown Oslo and, about 90 minutes later, a gunman began opening fire on about 600 young people at a retreat on Utoya Island. Police said the death toll in the shooting rose by one Sunday to 86.

That brings total fatalities to 93, with more than 90 wounded. People remain missing at both scenes. Police have not released the names of any victims.

Authorities revealed Sunday that one of the attacker’s first victims on the island was an off-duty police officer who had been hired by the camp directors to provide private security in his spare time. Oslo Police Union Chairman Sigve Bolstad declined to identify the victim.

That detail sheds new light on the confusion many survivors described during the 90-minute massacre. The attacker arrived dressed as a policeman, and some campers were killed when they approached the killer thinking he was there to save them.

Dr. Colin Poole, head of surgery at Ringriket Hospital in Honefoss northwest of Oslo, told The Associated Press the gunman used special bullets designed to disintegrate inside the body and cause maximum internal damage. Poole said surgeons treating 16 gunshot victims have recovered no full bullets.

“These bullets more or less exploded inside the body,” Poole said. “It’s caused us all kinds of extra problems in dealing with the wounds they cause, with very strange trajectories.”

Ballistics experts say the so-called “dum-dum” bullets also are lighter in weight and can be fired with greater accuracy over varying distances. They commonly are used by air marshals and hunters of small animals. Such characteristics potentially would have allowed the gunman to carry more ammunition and fire his weapons at varying targets without adjusting his sights.

Officials at the lakeside scene of the island shooting spent Sunday continuing to account for the dead.

Six hearses pulled up at the shoreline as orange-jacketed Red Cross searchers on small boats slowly explored the extensive shoreline.

Body parts remain inside the Oslo building, which housed the prime minister’s office. In a chilling allusion to the fact that the tragedy could have even been greater, police said Sunday that Breivik still had “a considerable amount” of ammunition for both his guns — a pistol and an automatic rifle — when he surrendered.

Police and his lawyer have said that Breivik confessed to the twin attacks, but denied criminal responsibility for a day that shook peaceful Norway to its core and was the deadliest ever in peacetime. Breivik has been charged with terrorism and will be arraigned Monday.

Lippestad said his client has asked for an open court hearing “because he wants to explain himself.”

Police Chief Sveinung Sponheim said a forensics expert from Interpol was joining the investigation Sunday.

European security officials said they were aware of increased Internet chatter from individuals claiming they belonged to the Knights Templar group that Breivik describes, in fantastical terms, in the manifesto. They said they were still investigating claims that Breivik, and other far-right individuals, attended a London meeting of the group in 2002. The two officials spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to speak about the investigation.

The officials would not confirm whether they had identified Breivik as a potential threat.

As authorities pursued the suspect’s motives, Oslo mourned the victims. Norway’s King Harald V and his wife Queen Sonja and Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg crowded into Oslo Cathedral, where the pews were packed, and people spilled into the plaza outside. The area was strewn with flowers and candles, and people who could not fit inside the grand church huddled under umbrellas amid drizzling rain.

The king and queen both wiped tears from their eyes during the service themed on “sorrow and hope.”

Afterward, people sobbed and hugged one another in the streets. Many lingered over the flowers and candles. The royal couple and prime minister later visited the site of the bombing in Oslo. The royals then visited shooting survivors at Ringriket Hospital.

The attacker picked targets linked to Norway’s left-wing Labor Party. Breivik’s manifesto pilloried the political correctness of liberals and warned that their work would end in the colonization of Europe by Muslims.

Such fears may derive, at least in part, from the fact that Norway has grown increasingly multicultural in recent years as the prosperous Nordic nation has opened its arms to thousands of conflict refugees from Pakistan, Iraq and Somalia. The annual Labor Party retreat — which the prime minister, Stoltenberg, fondly remembers attending in his own youth — reflected the country’s changing demographics as the children of immigrants have grown increasingly involved in Labor politics.

The assaults have rattled Norway, home to the Nobel Prize for Peace and where the average policeman patrolling in the streets doesn’t carry a firearm. Norwegians pride themselves on the openness of their society and cherish the idea of free expression.

“He wanted a change in society and, from his perspective, he needed to force through a revolution,” Lippestad, the lawyer, told public broadcaster NRK. “He wished to attack society and the structure of society.”

Lippestad said Breivik spent years writing the manifesto titled “2083 – A European Declaration of Independence.” It was signed “Andrew Berwick.” The document later explained that 2083 was to be the year when European government would be overthrown en masse.

Sponheim, the police chief, said there was no indication whether Breivik had selected his targets or fired randomly on the island. The manifesto vowed revenge on those it accused of betraying Europe.

“We, the free indigenous peoples of Europe, hereby declare a pre-emptive war on all cultural Marxist/multiculturalist elites of Western Europe. … We know who you are, where you live and we are coming for you,” the document said. “We are in the process of flagging every single multculturalist traitor in Western Europe. You will be punished for your treasonous acts against Europe and Europeans.”

The use of an anglicized pseudonym could be explained by a passage in the manifesto describing the founding, in April 2002 in London, of a group he calls a new Knights Templar. The Knights Templar was a medieval order created to protect Christian pilgrims in the Holy Land after the First Crusade in the 11th century.

A 12-minute video clip posted on YouTube with the same title as the manifesto featured symbolic imagery of the Knights Templar and crusader kings as well as slides suggesting Europe is being overrun by Muslims.

Police could not confirm whether Breivik posted the video, which also featured photographs of him dressed in a formal military uniform and in a wet suit pointing an assault rifle.

The video contained a series of slides that accused left-wing politicians in Europe of allowing Muslims to overrun the continent. One image showed the BBC’s logo with the “C” changed into an Islamic crescent. Another referenced the former Soviet Union, declaring that the end result of the left’s actions would be an “EUSSR.”

In London, the leader of Ramadhan Foundation, one of Britain’s largest Muslim groups, said mosques are being extra vigilant in the wake of the attacks. Mohammed Shafiq told The AP he was talking to European Muslim leaders and British police about the need to increase security.

The last 100 pages of the manifesto apparently lay out details of Breivik’s social and personal life, including his steroid use and an intention to solicit prostitutes in the days before the attack.

Also Sunday, police carried out raids in an Oslo neighborhood seeking explosives. Police spokesman Henning Holtaas said no explosives were found and no one was arrested.

Police said the bomb used in the Oslo blast was a mixture of fertilizer and fuel similar to what home-grown U.S. terrorists used to blow up a federal building in Oklahoma City in 1995.

A farm supply store said Saturday they had alerted police that Breivik bought six metric tons of fertilizer, a popular terrorist component for car bombs.

Norway Attacks Shatter a Nation’s Innocence

By Edmund Sanders for The Los Angeles Times

After a bombing and a shooting rampage that left 93 people dead, some believe the open and trusting attitude that’s been a hallmark of the Norwegian psyche is forever lost. The prime minister tells mourners, ‘Our answer is more democracy, more openness, more humanity, but never naivete.’

Norwegians have always taken pride in their open, trusting society.

It’s a country where you might encounter the prime minister at the grocery store and offer a hug. Many police don’t carry guns and most government buildings are unprotected. Homicide is rare, with only a handful of gun-related deaths a year.

But as Otto Lovik stood Sunday on a muddy lakeshore overlooking Utoya Island and recalled how he rescued about 60 people fleeing Friday’s massacre by a gunman, the 56-year-old prison guard, still shaking from the experience, said his country must change.

“We can’t go back to being open and trusting after this,” said Lovik, who loaded his boat with so many terrified, bleeding victims that he feared it would capsize. “This is the price we must pay.”

As Norway recovers from the initial shock of the shooting rampage and earlier Oslo bombing and begins the mourning process for 93 people who were slain, many predict the nation will never be the same.

“It’s going to have a deep, long-lasting impact,” said Atle Dyregrov, director of Norway’s Center for Crisis Psychology, which has helped other countries recover from disasters such as the 2008 China earthquake and this year’s Japanese tsunami.

“Our innocence is lost,” he said. “We used to think that these things only happened in other countries, not here. Now that illusion is shattered forever.”

He predicted that Norway’s relaxed security policies and reluctance to impinge of civil rights will give way to familiar restrictions already in place in other Western nations, including limited access to government facilities and increased surveillance of suspected extremist groups. He likened the changes to Sweden’s security tightening after the 1986 assassination of Prime Minister Olof Palme.

On Sunday, however, the nation’s focus was on grieving and healing. National flags throughout the capital flew at half staff.

At the ornate Oslo Domkirken cathedral in the heart of the capital, hundreds participated in a national mourning ceremony attended by the prime minister, King Harald, Queen Sonja and some of the young people who escaped the island attack. The suspect, Anders Behring Breivik, is expected to be formally charged Monday.

“A heavy darkness is now clouding our lives,” Bishop Helga Haugland Byfuglien told tearful mourners, urging them to maintain their faith in the goodness of Norway’s people and commitment toward an open society.

In an emotional address, Norwegian Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg said Norway would not be cowed. “Our answer is more democracy, more openness, more humanity, but never naivete,” he said.

Outside the cathedral, just blocks from the site of the Friday bomb blast that killed at least eight people, well-wishers laid flowers and candles in a makeshift memorial that by nightfall was spreading into the streets.

Waiting in line to enter the cathedral to pay her respects, Oslo resident Christine Arnese, a 47-year-old nurse, stood alone with tears streaming down her cheeks.

“I think this might bring us all closer together,” she said. “It’s important that we keep our country free and open.”

But as the scale of the tragedy sunk in, fears about possible future attacks were already leading some Norwegians to call on the government to bolster security. Some said that police guards who were dispatched to government facilities in the hours after the attacks should become permanent fixtures.

Others called for tougher punishments for terrorists, complaining that estimates Breivik that would face only 21 years in prison if convicted underscores the inadequacy of current law.

“We have to do more to protect ourselves,” said Julie Groseth, who works at a small market overlooking Utoya Island in the community of Hole. She said she worried about copy-cat attacks.

“Maybe that means not being as open to other countries,” she said. “This has showed us how weak Norway is in the war against terrorism. We are not prepared.”

At one of Oslo’s main mosques, many Pakistan-born immigrants expressed apprehension about how the attacks may affect Norwegian society and its tolerance of foreigners.

“When we first heard about the attacks, we all gathered together and prayed,” said mosque official Mohamed Sulieman, who moved to Norway 35 years ago. First they prayed for the victims, he said. Then they prayed that the perpetrators would not turn out to be Islamic extremists. The country has reason enough to fear retribution from overseas extremists: Its troops serve in Afghanistan, where 10 Norwegian soldiers have been killed.

Though he said they were relieved to hear authorities describe Breivik as a home-grown terrorist who acted alone, some remain concerned that any tighter security rules or rising public anxieties might nevertheless trigger a backlash against them. At times in the past, the increasing presence of immigrants and foreigners in Norway has come under criticism from conservative parties.

“We’ve never really had a problem before,” Sulieman said. “But still, it’s in the back of our minds.”

Dig Deeper and You’ll Find the Other Oslo

By Rick Steves,Tribune Media Services

In the Norwegian capital of Oslo, a big statue of a tiger sits in front of the train station. A local once explained that Oslo is nicknamed the Tiger City because in the 19th century, when country boys visited the wild and crazy “New York City of Norway,” it made “a mark on their soul.”

I find Oslo more of a kitten than a tiger. Its mix of grand neoclassical facades, boxy 1960s-style modernism, pastoral parks and homogenous culture always have felt a bit tame for my taste. But by digging deeper, you can find more texture here, from gritty neighborhoods to troubled artists.

The city’s grand boulevard, Karl Johans Gate (street), cuts from the train station through the center of town to the Royal Palace. Lively with restaurants, parks and people, the street is lined with landmarks, including Oslo Cathedral, Parliament and Stortorvet Square, with its lively flower and produce market.

The boulevard also is the address of the Grand Cafe, once the meeting place of Oslo’s intellectual and creative elite. At the back of the cafe, a mural shows Norway’s literary and artistic clientele enjoying this fine hangout, from playwright Henrik Ibsen (who came in every day at 1 p.m.) to Edvard Munch, leaning against the window, looking drugged.

Munch is Norway’s most famous and influential painter. To see his most important work, head to the nearby National Gallery. Munch helped to pioneer a new style, expressionism, using lurid colors and bold lines to “express” inner turmoil and the angst of the modern world. His most iconic painting is The Scream, which he described as “the work of a madman.”

A few blocks down from the National Gallery is Oslo’s people-friendly harbor front, situated at the head of the 60-mile-long Oslofjord. As in many European cities, residents are reclaiming their waterfront area. In the past, you would have dodged several lanes of traffic to get to the harborfront, but now, most traffic has been diverted through tunnels under the city.

Facing the harbor, Oslo’s striking city hall is famous for hosting the Nobel Peace Prize ceremony. Completed in 1950 to celebrate the city’s 900th birthday, the building was an avant-garde thrill in its day. Entering here, I’m reminded that in this most highly taxed corner of Europe, city halls, rather than churches, are the dominant buildings. Though the state religion is Lutheranism, people rarely go to church. Instead, they seem to almost worship good government. The main hall actually feels like a temple.

Along the eastern harbor, the marble Opera House seems to rise like an iceberg from the sea. This is the only opera house in the world that doubles as a public plaza, with a roof designed to be walked on. Opened in 2008, this cultural venue is a huge hit. On my last visit, I joined 8,000 people on the rooftop to watch a hot English group named Antony and the Johnsons (with a lead singer who looks like a cross between Meatloaf and Marilyn Manson) perform on a stage raft anchored just offshore.

In summer, Norwegians practically live outdoors. Frogner Park not only offers a great peek at Norwegians at play but also features a fine sculpture garden showcasing a lifetime of work by Norway’s greatest sculptor, Gustav Vigeland.

From 1924 to 1943, Vigeland created a world of bronze and granite statues — around 600 nude figures in all. The centerpiece is a teeming monolith of life, with 121 figures carved out of a single block of stone rocketing skyward. Like Munch, Vigeland was troubled. Those who know his life story can read it clearly in the granite and bronze, but I ignore it all and simply see his art as observations on the bittersweet cycle of life.

As much as I love Norway, goat cheese and my blond cousins, sometimes I need to inject some color into my days. At night, I head to two trendy multiethnic zones. Grunerlokka is the Greenwich Village of Oslo. A former working-class district, this neighborhood of funky shops, old hippies and bohemian cafes is a favorite of Oslo’s artsy set. Locals come here for its convivial night scene and colorful eateries.

Oslo’s rough and tumble immigrant zone is a stretch of a street called Gronland. This is where Turks, Indians, Pakistanis and the rest of Oslo’s immigrant community congregate. Colorful green grocer carts spill onto sidewalks. Various kebabs and spicy borek cost just $2 to go. Dueling tandoori restaurants offer meals for under $10, otherwise unheard of in Oslo.

I love dining street-side here. It’s cheap — and seeing a rainbow of people and a few rough edges makes the city feel less like Wonder bread. But that’s the beauty of Oslo. Just when you think you have it figured out, it gives you a taste of something different.

Rick Steves (ricksteves.com) writes European travel guidebooks and hosts travel shows on public television and public radio. E-mail him at rick@ricksteves.com and follow his Facebook blog.


Unending Love By Rabindranath Tagore

I seem to have loved you in numberless forms, numberless times…In life after life, in age after age, forever. My spellbound heart has made and remade the necklace of songs, That you take as a gift, wear round your neck in your many forms,In life after life, in age after age, forever.

Whenever I hear old chronicles of love, it’s age-old pain, It’s ancient tale of being apart or together. As I stare on and on into the past, in the end you emerge, Clad in the light of a pole-star piercing the darkness of time: You become an image of what is remembered forever.

You and I have floated here on the stream that brings from the fount. At the heart of time, love of one for another. We have played along side millions of lovers, shared in the same Shy sweetness of meeting, the same distressful tears of farewell-Old love but in shapes that renew and renew forever.

Today it is heaped at your feet, it has found its end in you The love of all man’s days both past and forever: Universal joy, universal sorrow, universal life. The memories of all loves merging with this one love of ours – And the songs of every poet past and forever~ 

– Rabindranath Tagore was the first non-European to win the Nobel Prize as he won in Literature. He was a de facto Poet Laureate of his day before India’s independence from Britain and this is Pakistanis for Peace’s homage to the man and to the human sentiment of love. 

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