Today was an exciting day for me. It was the announcement of who would get the Nobel Peace Prize. I think it is more exciting than Christmas Eve. The leader of the Nobel committee walked out of the brown doors with a paper in his hand, press photographers were as many as shoppers on Boxing day. When the name was read, it felt so right. Liu Xiaobo. A man who fearlessly has fought for human rights in China. Who was sentenced to 11 years in prison for help writing and signing a charter that called for greater freedom of expression, human rights, and for free elections in China. That he was the right man to receive the prize is confirmed by China who immediately banned his name from all internet sites, and also the expression Nobel Peace Prize. They have promised that Norway will suffer for giving such a prestigious prize to a “blasphemer” —whatever they mean by that.
Makes me humble to think of all the men and women around the world who serve severe prison sentences as punishment for their fight for righteousness and freedom, not only for themselves, but for their people. Many may die before they see their goal reached, yet they keep fighting. Aung San Suu Kyi is still imprisoned, 19 years after she got the Nobel Peace Prize. Andrei Sakharov got the Prize in 75, but was not allowed to leave the Soviet Union to receive it. Lech Walesa could not leave Poland to receive his prize. But think about the mark these men and women have made on the world! I am glad they did not give up. That they, by their stubborn fight, kept the hope up for millions who were, and are, in bondage.
I can imagine that as they sat, or still sit, in their prison cells they are wondering if they ever will see daylight again, if they ever will see and hold their children and spouses, if they ever will walk down a country road, free to whistle, free to sing. I think they may have been, or are discouraged and wonder if their sacrifices were, or are, worth it. We, on the outside of the prison walls know that, yes, their struggles are worth it.
Would we do the same? Could we? Would we think the cause was worth dying for? I must be honest and say that I am not so sure. My comfort and my security means so much to me that I am willing to let others do the dying. Meanwhile I enjoy freedom that they may never get to experience. Meanwhile I go to bed feeling safe and comfortable. Meanwhile I even forget to pray for them.
As I go to bed tonight my prayers and thoughts are with Liu Xiaobo, alone in his prison cell in China. While the world celebrates that the right person was awarded the most prestigious prize anyone can get, I pray that he will be comforted by knowing that his sacrifices are worth it.