Three names have been put forward by a team of academics who nominated Greek islanders and volunteer works for the Nobel Peace Prize. Because of the nomination rules, groups of people cannot be nominated so in order to meet the competition requirements that required names, the team of nominators decided on three individuals who symbolically represent everyone’s efforts, the men and women of the Greek islands, as well as so many foreign volunteers who descended upon the island to help.
The official nomination comes after Steven Katradis, an engineer from Washington DC, began a petition on the Avaaz website to bring attention to the Greek people, as well as others, who showed “philoxenia, philotimo and compassion” for the refugees arriving in Greece.
Forty year old fisherman Stratis Valiamos rescued dozens of people from drowning in an accident on October 28.He told CNN during an interview that the weather that day was bad and he could not reach the sinking boat fast enough.
“People say ‘you’re a hero,’ but this isn’t heroism, it’s the normal thing to do,” said Valiamos.
“When you’re fishing and a boat is sinking next to you and they’re screaming for help, you can’t pretend to not hear them,” he said.
In the October shipwreck where more than 240 people were rescued, Valiamos remembered “a sea of dead bodies.”
“To make the journey, the refugees must be leaving even more horror behind,” he said. “No one wants to leave their home, to take a suitcase and five babies and walk for five months and get on a plastic boat.” he said in an interview with Reuters..
An Octogenarian grandmother who was one of the famous “Lesvos Grandmothers” whose photo went viral, nursing a Syrian baby while the mother rested and undressed after arriving in their fishing village wet and tired.
Kamvisi, herself the daughter of refugees from Asia Minor, said the scenes reminded her of life under Nazi occupation.
“We saw people crying in the boats, people leaving their homes, people sleeping in the streets,” she told Reuters, adding “What did I do? I didn’t do anything,” saying that she wasn’t deserving to be included in the nomination.
Susan Sarandon brought international spotlight during her Christmas holiday visit to Lesvos where she rolled up her sleeves and took part in numerous rescue operations. Sarandon also worked with Huffington Post to document her journey, informing millions of Americans about the crisis.
She also hit the talk show circuit to share her experiences, simultaneously praising the people of Greece who worked tirelessly and above their own means, to help the refugees who were arriving on their shores.
Four months later, the grandmother, the fisherman and the Hollywood star are among three people nominated for the Nobel prize to symbolically represent the “behavior and attitude of Greece, organizations and volunteers towards the huge refugee crisis.”
Other nominees revealed publicly ahead of the closing date include Pope Francis, US intelligence whistleblower Edward Snowden, German Chancellor Angela Merkel and US Republican presidential hopeful Donald Trump.
The winner will be announced in October.