October 6, 2011--
The Nobel Peace Prize award is the most coveted and the most controversial of prize recipients. Here are the contenders for this year’s prize. The list is varied with some who have been nominated in the past and also some new faces.
The Guardian assembled this list.
Tunisian Girl Lina Ben Mhenni
Lina Ben Mhenni was teaching English at the University of Tunis, blogging and living with her parents when the revolutionary momentum began steadily building up in the months before Zine El Abidine was ousted in January this year.
Her blog, A Tunisian Girl, played a crucial role in the Tunisian revolution.
Ben Mhenni had been chronicling her daily life and thoughts online since 2007, dodging the ubiquitous censors and reporting on the revolution.
Memorial is a group that has seen its members beaten and killed, but soldiers on in its uphill battle to defend human rights in Russia.
The group was founded in the dying days of the Soviet Union, devoted to the grueling task of recording the political repressions, arrests and murders carried out under the communist regime. To this day, its library welcomes Russians hoping to discover the truth about relatives who have long disappeared.
He was nominated last year as well. Julian Assange, the editor-in-chief of WikiLeaks, is an outside bet for this year's Nobel peace prize, though, to some, he is a figure of some controversy.
Assange's whistleblowing website was behind the release of three of the biggest leaks in history: secret communiqués from US diplomats, military logs from Iraq, and war files from Afghanistan.
German chancellor Helmut Kohl. The Nobel committee keeps nominations a secret for 50 years, but according to Der Spiegel, the 81-year-old colossus has received a nod every single year since 1990. That, of course, was when he achieved his greatest feat, of fusing two Germanys back into one – and defying Margaret Thatcher in the process.
Israa Abdel-Fattah, also known as "Facebook Girl", worked in the HR department of a private Cairo firm when she helped to found the 6 April Youth Movement in 2008. The movement became a driving force during the street protests of the Egyptian revolution in 2011.
In Tahrir Square, she rallied young people pushing for democratic reform and became a regular spokesman in the international media for the protesters.
Wael Ghonim was an Egyptian computer engineer and Google executive who managed Middle East marketing from Dubai, where he lived with his wife and children in a villa with a swimming pool, when he became the unlikely and reluctant hero of the Egyptian revolution.
Ghonim, who had a background in cyber activism, founded a Facebook page in July 2010 titled "We Are All Khaled Said", after a 28-year-old businessman was beaten to death by police in Alexandria, sparking protests. The page, run in his spare time, gained hundreds of thousands of followers and become a rallying point for young protesters to coordinate and organise the street demonstrations which eventually toppled Hosni Mubarak.
Sima Samar, the head of the Afghanistan Independent Human Rights Commission (AIHRC), embodies the struggle for women's rights in Afghanistan at a time when the limited gains made since the fall of the Taliban in 2001 are in doubt.
She was the first Hazara woman to qualify as a doctor in Afghan history but fled the communist regime in 1984 with her son after her husband was arrested. Across the border in Pakistan, she set up a medical centre for other Afghan women refugees in 1989, which she ran during more than a decade in exile.
Private Bradley Manning
The US soldier, Private Bradley Manning, is accused of leaking more than 250,000 secret diplomatic cables to Julian Assange – as well as the haunting video of a US Apache helicopter executing civilians in Baghdad.
Of all the protagonists in the WikiLeaks melodrama, it is Manning who has paid the highest personal price. He has spent the past year and four months in custody, most of it in solitary confinement.
Aung San Suu Kyi
Aung San Suu Kyi has already won the Nobel peace prize, 20 years ago. Then, however, the Burmese political activist for democracy was under house arrest in Rangoon and unable to attend the award ceremony in Oslo. Now, with rapid political changes in Burma some believe she might be given the prize again, so this time she can accept it in person.
Please weigh in on your choice and say why.