Nobel Peace Prize! (Aliyah)
This blog is one that I have been waiting three weeks to write, and finally the time has come. The wait has been long and perhaps unnecessary.
On 6th June, Veerasamy called me into the office. Amma was off on one of her many visits to the Nagapattinam Collector’s office. Veerasamy handed me a letter and asked me to explain it to him. The letter informed us that Krishnammal Jagannathan had been selected, out of over 2,000 names submitted, to be one of the 1.000 Women for Peace being nominated collectively for the 2005 Nobel Peace Prize. (you can read about the nomination and about all 1,000 amazing women at www.1000peacewomen.org.) I had heard something somewhere about this movement before, but I don’t remember where. The effort is aimed at giving greater international exposure to 1,000 activist women who work fairly invisibly and are not widely noticed for the Nobel Prize this fall. Women are very underrepresented in the history of the prize, especially as they are overrepresented among peacemakers as a whole. I burst into a big grin and told Veerasamy, “This is good news.”
At the bottom of the page, just where I would read over it the first time, it said: please keep this news confidential until 29th June. Thousands of people probably know about it already. This is not a secretive society, though I did refrain from telling anyone about it except my parents when I was trying to figure out who nominated her. We still don’t know.
Of course, I am far more excited about it than Amma is. She has no time for excitement, with 15 brick-making centers to deal with. “When I win the prize, then I will be excited,” she told me. As a result of a letter to the government from a 14-year-old boy, she is going to meet the President of India when he’s in Nagapattinam tomorrow. Or rather, as I see it, the President will meet Amma. She wants to talk about prawn farms. Jagannathan seems to be planning to come as well. It’s going to be an absolute zoo, I’m sure. I wonder what will be busier -- this, or Bill Clinton’s visit just before I arrived in May.
It’s unbelievable that it’s been a month since I left home. I don’t want to go back. I could spend my life here watching the chickens peck in the yard and the rice grow in the neighboring field, making soup for Appa and whomever else wants it, and learning this activism, as quiet and slow and strong as mangrove roots pushing into the sand.