Greece’s proposals for the Nobel Peace Prize include an elderly woman, a 40-year-old fisherman of Lesbos and actress Susan Sarandon who volunteered to save lives of refugees.
According to Greek Deputy Migration Minister Yiannis Mouzalas, there will be “at least two Greek proposals” for the Nobel Peace Prize. Also Greece proposes actress and activist Susan Sarandon for her contribution to the refugee aid cause.
The candidates were proposed by prominent members of Greek society, namely President of the Academy of Athens Thanassis Valtinos, Rector of the University of Thessaly Giorgos Petrakos, Professor and Dean of Panteion University and Chairman of the Greek Culture Foundation Christodoulos Gialouridis and President of the Hellenic Olympic Committee Spyros Capralos.
A petition on the website in favor of the nomination of Greek islanders has amassed almost 600,000 signatures.
“We are asking that the Nobel Peace Prize be awarded to the residents and volunteers of the Aegean islands that have opened their arms to refugees and sent a message of humanity and solidarity that has touched the whole planet,” the petition noted.
The president of the Greek parliament Nikos Voutsis has expressed his support to the Greek islanders. “The citizens of the Aegean islands, and especially Lesbos, constitute an example for European civilization,” Voutsis underlined.
Who are the three candidates proposed
The picture of 85-year-old Emilia Kamvisi bottle-feeding a refugee infant became viral. Stratis Valiamos, the altruistic fisherman who refuses to be photographed, has aided hundreds of refugees come out of the water and is running his own rescue missions on his fishing boat.
Kamvisi is the child of refugees from Asia Minor. She has lived all her life in the fishing village of Skala Sykamnias. Along with two friends, the 89-year-old Efstratia Mafrapidou and 85-year-old Maritsa Mafrapidou became symbols of the Lesbos residents volunteer spirit when a photographer captured Kamvisi feeding the baby of a Syrian woman who had just disembarked on the coast.
The three women go to the coast every day and sit with refugees to offer them comfort and company.
Stratis Valiamos is a fisherman in Skala Sykamnias. When he is not fishing, he runs his own rescue missions on his wooden boat. He refuses to be photographed or talk about his volunteer work. He considers it his duty as a human being to help his fellow man in need. And so do many of his fellow islanders.
Famous actress and activist Susan Sarandon spent days last December on the coast south of the City of Mytilene on Lesbos aiding the hundreds of refugees and migrants arriving on the island.
“The international community needs to see what happens in this corner of the planet. It should be aware of the magnitude of the problem and understand it. These people must stop being ‘others’ and become refugees to whom we have to stand by and support them,” Sarandon told the Athenian Macedonian Press Agency.
“Hopefully soon, countries that do not participate in this effort of salvation of all these people will start doing so,” she added.
The money that accompanies the grand prize will be given to support health structures in the Aegean Sea islands while the commemorative diplomas that accompany it will be exhibited in the Acropolis Museum.