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October 23, 2006

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The Peace Prize being the most political of all the Nobels, there are some "unworthies" on its recipients list.

Elie Wiesel troubles me a lot. Unlike Kissinger and Arafat, Wiesel is considered a humanist, not a political nomination. Given his own personal sufferings one would expect him to be sympathetic to the sufferings of others. Yet Wiesel has repeatedly made the distinction between one kind of human suffering and another.

Particularly churlish was his dispute in the 1990s with the Holocaust Committee about the inclusion of Gypsies among the victims of Hitler's atrocities. Isabel Fonseca notes this in her fabulous book "Bury Me Standing" on the plight of European Gypsies. (My review of the book here.)

Then his support of the Iraq war. All this makes Wiesel a political figure in my eyes and not a human rights champion as he would have us believe.

Ruchira: Thanks for the comment and the link. It's a very well written review of what sounds like a fascinating book.

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