Monday, November 21, 2005 ... Français/Deutsch/Español/Česky/Japanese/Related posts from blogosphere

Scholars at risk

If you know about a scholar who is prosecuted or discriminated in her or his country, you may want to remind me about the scholar so that I would nominate her or him for Lawrence Summers' "Scholars at Risk" fellowship.

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reader nigel said...

Dear Lumos,

Surely those people who speak out who "got themselves" persecuted by the authorities under communism?

Apart from a number of uprisings (Hungary 1956, Prague 1968, etc.), the majority had to put up with communism in order to reduce the risk of persecution. Only in the late 80s when the authority of communism eroded, did the majority people have the confidence to attack status quo.

In such a situation, those who speak out can be labelled troublemakers. The Nazis has a trick of making use of this, by shooting innocent people deliberately selected at random, as the penalty for attacks by the French resistance. Therefore, they could claim that the resistance was composed of cowards whose actions led to the deaths of innocent people.

Doubtless this was largely unnecessary under communism, where there were secret police everywhere who could prevent "subversion" arising.

The contenporary recommendations for the award are going to be accused of having a big mouth and being an egotist. Really you need to recommend someone who has been persecuted in the past but is not being persecuted any longer.

Hence, Nelson Mandela won the Nobel prize in 1993 - after, rather than during, his 1962-90 imprisonment for sabotage.

Further, he shared the prize with F.W. de Klerk.

It would not really have been possible to give such an award while he was still imprisoned, as officially in South Africa he was a convicted prisoner.

Best wishes,
Nigel