There has been some talk that when he accepts his Nobel Peace Prize, President Obama should mention Neda Agha-Soltan, the young Iranian woman whose death came to symbolize opposition to the Ahmedinejad/Khamenei regime, or Rebiya Kadeer, the inspirational Uighur leader.
There are two more people Obama should talk about when he receives this undeserved prize: Liu Xiaobo and Yangkyi Dolma.
December 10, the day that President Obama receives his Nobel Peace Prize, is also International Human Rights Day. The Chinese regime decided to celebrate this special day in the usual way: by charging one of their most prominent critics, Liu Xiaobo, with "incitement to subvert state power" -- a serious crime that carries a potential 15-year prison sentence. Mr. Liu is one of the primary authors of Charter 08, an amazing manifesto of freedom that was released on Human Rights Day 2008. The day before the release of the Charter, Mr. Liu was taken into custody and has been held without charge since. During this past year, more than 10,000 people -- including leading Chinese intellectuals and artists -- have signed Charter 08. Many have gotten a visit from state security or worse for their trouble.
Also out of China this week comes news that Yangkyi Dolma, a 33-year-old Tibetan nun, died in Chinese custody on December 6 under suspicious circumstances. Yangkyi Dolma was taken into custody in March 2009, after engaging in a peaceful two-person protest with another nun in the Gandze Tibetan autonomous prefecture in China's Sichuan Province, on the anniversary of large protests that had taken place in Gandze the prior year. She and her sister nun were apparently viciously beaten during their arrest. Some human rights sources are claiming she was tortured to death.
It is important to name the names of those who are giving up their freedom and lives fighting for human rights and peace. But it seems unlikely that President Obama will do much more than obliquely refer to those more deserving of this prize, as he did in his http://www.whitehouse.gov/the_press_office/Remarks-by-the-President-on-W... target=_blank>acceptance remarks in October. For someone with such a overweening sense of history about everything he does, President Obama seems to sadly underestimate the value of calling things by their right names and speaking up for those who have been denied a voice.