(ANTIMEDIA) United Kingdom — Anti-apartheid activist and Archbishop Emeritus of Cape Town, Desmond Tutu, has nominated imprisoned Palestinian leader, Marwan Barghouthi, for a Nobel Peace Prize. The first black Archbishop of Cape Town, himself a living symbol of a liberation struggle, was also awarded the prestigious prize in 1984 for his opposition to South Africa’s brutal racist regime.
The African-Anglican leader, who is well known for his message of reconciliation, joins a number of rights groups and politicians in nominating the senior Fatah leader for the prize. In a letter sent to the Norwegian Nobel Committee, cited by Al Arabiya, Desmond Tutu describes Barghouthi — who is often referred to as “Palestine’s Mandela” — as a symbol of the Palestinian people’s struggle for freedom.
On Wednesday, he took to his official Twitter account to make the announcement: “I have nominated imprisoned Palestinian leader Marwan Barghouthi for #NobelPeacePrize 2017. For peace and justice,” he wrote.
Barghouthi is widely respected among Palestinians. Arrested in 2002 during the Second Intifada, the senior Fatah official is one of a large number of elected representatives imprisoned by Israel, in what the Archbishop has called “a blatant attack against the Palestinian nation, democracy and rights.”
The phrase, “One man’s freedom fighter is another man’s terrorist,” has never been clearer than in Barghouthi’s nomination for the peace prize, as Israel continues to refer to him and the rest of the Palestinian political prisoners as terrorists. But human rights activist Tutu disagrees, and after witnessing the systematic humiliation of Palestinians, previously compared Israel’s treatment of them to the South African regime.
“Their humiliation is familiar to all black South Africans who were corralled and harassed and insulted and assaulted by the security forces of the apartheid government,” he said.
In a dire reflection of the imprisonment of a nation and the negation of its rights, 7,000 Palestinian political prisoners languish in Israeli jails. Archbishop Tutu claims the freedom of the prisoners is a prerequisite for the freedom of the Palestinian people.
Laying out his reasons for nominating “Palestine’s Mandela,” Barghouthi, for a Nobel Peace Prize, he added:
“I call on the members of the Norwegian Nobel Committee to seize this occasion to bring attention back to the question of Palestine and to the calls for a just and lasting peace, a prospect Marwan Barghouti continues advocating for despite years of imprisonment and isolation.”
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