We at Tamils for Obama want to nominate three doctors for the Nobel Peace Prize, and we want you to help us. In this long letter, we will tell you:
Why we think it is worth nominating these doctors.
Who to write to. We (and you) cannot nominate them ourselves, so we have included a list of the kind of people who can nominated them. (Members of parliament, members of congress, Professors, former Nobel Peace Prize winners, etc.) We also give links ( www.Tamilsforobama.com/Nobel/Nominators.html
)that will help you find addresses for your member of parliament, for former winners, and so forth.
Materials by and about the three doctors. These items might not be essential, but you might want (or need) to pass them on to your MP (or whomever). Links to these materials (Biographies; the letters, videos, and photos from the doctors in the war zone) are here: www.Tamilsforobama.com/Nobel/doctors.html
Why we think it is worth nominating theses doctors
We think they deserve this recognition because they, unselfishly and at great danger to themselves, worked tirelessly to save the lives and alleviate the suffering of war victims in Sri Lanka. Saving lives and reducing suffering are certainly within the “humanitarian” criteria considered by the Norwegian Nobel Committee when they are choosing candidates.
Thurairaja Varatharajah, Thangamuttu Sathyamurthi and Veerakaththi Shanmugarajah are the three doctors who worked in Vanni. When large numbers of Vanni people became refugees, these three doctors went along with them, serving the people who needed their help most. They worked under the most primitive conditions with the most basic medical facilities in a makeshift clinic inside the conflict zone. They stayed at their little hospital through bombing and shelling almost up to the end of the fighting, fleeing just three days before the war ended.
While the three doctors were in Vanni, they became one of the few independent sources of information on what was going on in the war zone. They told of regular artillery bombardment and hundreds or thousands of wounded civilians who came to their clinic seeking help. The doctors were witnesses to actions the Sri Lankan government denies, and for this they may die. The doctors were arrested and are being held by Sri Lankan government forces. We wonder whether we will ever see them alive again.
While captives of the Sri Lankan government the doctors were forced to recant their original account of events in Vanni at the end of the civil war. This account was embarrassing to the government. We can only imagine what was done to get the doctors to change their story.
The New York Times description of the doctors’ situation says “One case deserves special mention. Three Tamil government doctors and one senior health official are known to be in government custody and are now threatened with prosecution for cooperating with the Tamil Tigers. As just about the only remaining officials inside the war zone in the final weeks, they worked heroically to save lives and alert the world to the humanitarian disaster endured by civilians trapped in the fighting. On July 8, their captors forced them to recant their stories. This farce should end: They should be freed.”
These three doctors have been nominated for the Félix Houphouët-Boigny Peace Prize which is presented by UNESCO each year. Many of those who win the Félix Houphouët-Boigny Peace Prize later have won the Nobel Peace Prize.
We at Tamils for Obama have three reasons for making this nomination. First, we think that nominating these three doctors will help bring attention to the Tamil cause. Second, we think that if they become famous, it will be harder for the government to kill them in prison, so we might be saving their lives. Third, we want to honor them. If they win the prize, that’s even better.
We hope that enough of us will send enough letters to persuade these nominators to recommend the doctors to the Nobel committee.
Who is a qualified Nominator?
Not just anybody can nominate a candidate for the Nobel Peace Prize? Among those we think we can influence are:
► Members of national assemblies (Congresspersons and members of parliaments of every country where diaspora Tamils live)
► University presidents and professors of social sciences, history, philosophy, law and theology (if you work at a university or are yourself a professor of one of these subjects, you either know or are a potential nominator)
► Persons who have received the Nobel Peace Prize (We think that Desmond Tutu of South Africa, Jose Ramos-Horta of East Timor, or some others might appreciate the three doctors’ good work)
► Organizations or board members of organizations that have won the prize (We are going to submit our suggestions to American Friends Service Committee, the Quakers, who got the prize in 1947 and Médecins Sans Frontières who won in 1999)
► Active and former members of the Norwegian Nobel Committee (We hope that our Diaspora Tamil friends living in Norway can help us with this).
The complete list of qualified nominators is at: http://nobelprize.org/nomination/peace/nominators.html
The complete list of what groups of people can nominate Nobel Peace Prize candidates is below.
We have listed mailing addresses and/or E-mail addresses of a few former winners who might be useful to us, but it is a short list. If you have addresses for any other qualified nominators who are not on our list, please send the addresses to us and we will add them.
If you have a letter that might be a model for others to follow, please send that to us and we will post it.
Sample Letter to send to the qualified Nominator (Persuasion Letter)
< Name, address of your MP (or whomever) >
Re: Three doctors who deserve the Nobel Peace Prize
Dear Sir or Madam:
Three Sri Lankan doctors worked among the civilian refugees huddled in Vanni, Sri Lanka. Without adequate staff, medicine, food, or other resources they kept their makeshift clinic operating until three days before the end of the civil war there. They carried on their work amid cluster bombing and shell fire which swelled the numbers of wounded and dying.
I think they deserve this recognition because they have, unselfishly and at great danger to themselves, worked tirelessly to save the lives and alleviate the suffering of war victims in Sri Lanka. Saving lives and reducing suffering are certainly within the “humanitarian” criteria considered by the Norwegian Nobel Committee when they are choosing candidates.
Because Sri Lankan government banned all journalists and humanitarian organizations from the war zone, the doctors became the only unbiased source of news from the battle area. This made the Sri Lankan government furious. The doctors have been arrested and will be held for up to a year before being charged with harming the country, the government has revealed. Some doubt that we will ever see the doctors alive again.
I would like to propose that these three doctors be nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize. I can not nominate them, so I ask that you, as a qualified nominator, to consider doing so.
The three doctors are named Thurairaja Varatharajah, Thangamuttu Sathyamurthi and Veerakaththi Shanmugarajah.
If you decide to support the nomination of these three doctors, here is a link to a sample letter that I have written which might save you a few minutes in composing your own: www.Tamilsforobama.com/Nobel/Nomintion_letter.html
The nomination letter should be mailed to the following address:
The Nobel Foundation
P.O. Box 5232, SE-102 45 Stockholm, Sweden
Street address: Sturegatan 14, Stockholm
Tel. +46 (0)8 663 09 20
Fax +46 (0)8 660 38 47
Send this letter on your professional letter-head letter. If you don’t use your letter-head please provide your credential (Congressman, member of parliament, professor, or whichever applies)
Text of the Nomination letter
Dear Nobel Peace Prize Committee Members,
I would like to nominate the following three Sri Lankan medical doctors, Thurairaja Varatharajah, Thangamuttu Sathyamurthi, and Veerakaththi Shanmugarajah for the next available Nobel Peace Prize.
I think they deserve this recognition because they have, unselfishly and at great danger to themselves, worked tirelessly to save the lives and alleviate the suffering of war victims in Sri Lanka. Saving lives and reducing suffering are certainly within the “humanitarian” criteria considered by the Norwegian Nobel Committee when you are choosing Nobel laureates.
<name and signature>
Tamils for Obama