Tuesday, May 17, 2005

Nobel Laureate Emerges as Critic of America

Ira Stoll, The NY Sun:
The Iranian human rights lawyer who won the 2003 Nobel Peace Prize blamed American foreign policy for increasing terrorism.

Speaking yesterday at the Stanford Law School graduation, Shirin Ebadi offered no criticism of the government of Iran, which the State Department calls the leading sponsor of international terrorism. She did, however, offer a series of critical remarks about the Bush administration.

"As we can see, the foreign policy of the United States in the Middle East has but increased the acts of terrorism, and even in the United States you are not free of fear," she said. "We must take care that Western countries not take advantage of democracy and human rights and use these concepts as a license to attack other countries."

"The best means to help create democracies in societies ruled by tyrannies is through negotiations, and if that fails, by resorting to the United Nations," she said. "This is the only way, this is the only means. READ MORE

"It is prejudice and injustice that forces a group to engage in such acts to set themselves and others on fire," she said, arguing that one "must address and destroy the root causes of terrorism."

Ms. Ebadi called on the American government to set up a college or university in a developing country for each one of the victims of the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001. "Otherwise,resorting to violence will not solve any problems, as violence begets violence," she said.

"For several years now we have been punishing terrorists to eradicate terrorism. However, has the terrorism receded?" she asked. "Clearly the punishment of terrorism is right and needed, but it must be done within the framework of human rights law."

Ms. Ebadi was awarded Stanford's Ralston Prize in International Law, a prize for which the secretary-general of the United Nations, Kofi Annan, is one of three judges. Previous recipients of the award include President Carter and a former secretary of state, Warren Christopher.