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Lampedusa has been officially nominated for the Peace Nobel Prize in 2014. The application has been submitted by Elisabeth Eide, Professor of Social Sciences at the University of Oslo and Akershus.
As she says in her letter to the Norwegian Nobel Committee, “over the past two decades hundreds of thousands of people have found their first landing on the tiny volcanic island of Lampedusa. Here they found rescuers, doctors, volunteers and ordinary citizens who have welcomed them in the name of peace. Lampedusa has 6,300 inhabitants, who have shown their hospitality and their courage. In several cases, they have helped to save drowning refugees”.
“Today Lampedusa – the writer and university professor continues – is one of the most important accesses to Europe and the island’s population plays a central role in providing humane treatment to refugees in boats. The inhabitants of Lampedusa have shown themselves able to live in peace with the newcomers and have been shown to have a remarkable capacity for empathy and solidarity.
“The Peace Nobel Prize to the institutions and the population of the island – said Eide – kindled the spotlight on compassion for other human beings (…) and it can also mean a glimmer of hope for those who are forced to leave their homeland in search of the peace and security that they don’t have in the country they come from. It would be a signal that someone thinks of them as something more than a number in the statistics of the dead. Last but not least, would also be a recognition for a small population whose human compassion was greatly put to the test over the last twenty years and has passed this test because it respects human dignity and shows that humans can practice peaceful coexistence”.
The news was announced by the website of the Italian weekly magazine L’Espresso, which in recent months has launched a petition pro Lampedusa, which has collected more than 50,000 signatures.