Peace prize winners celebrated by relatives and friends

Mushaga BakengaTromsø. Mushaga Bakenga.Photo: Rune Stoltz Bertinussen / NTB scanpix

Peace prize winners celebrated by relatives and friends

Hundreds of family members, friends, and supporters promise a celebration when Denis Mukwege and Nadia Murad receive the Nobel Peace Prize on Monday.


The Congolese doctor, Denis Mukwege, and Nadia Murad of the Iraqi Yazidi minority will receive the prize for their fight against sexual violence used as a weapon in war and armed conflicts.

About 50 of Mukwege’s family members reside in Norway, among them, his nephew and Tromsø resident, Mushaga Bakenga. He will be in Oslo City Hall during Monday’s ceremony.

“I’ll be there and remind him how cool this is,” laughed Bakenga.

The family will also host a private gala dinner for Mukwege, which 1,000 guests from all over the world will attend.

“It will be a Congolese event, where we will really celebrate our uncle and our culture. Right now there is a lot of stress, but it is important to remember to enjoy it. This happens only once,” said Bakenga to NTB news.

Lost parents and siblings

Nadia Murad belongs to the Yazidi minority in Iraq and lost both of her parents and six of nine brothers when the extreme Islamic group, IS, attacked in 2014.

Even she was abducted with her two sisters, forced to convert and was exploited as a sex slave until she managed to escape a month later. Since then she has travelled around the world to tell about the Yazidienes and her own destiny.

The around 360 Yazidis who live in Norway are looking forward to the event on Murad’s behalf and hope that the peace prize allocation will contribute to new attention to the situation.

Many will support her in the procession to be organized, and two seminars on the fate of Yazidi, which will be held in connection with the Peace Prize.

Standing alone

“The Yazidis in Iraq are all alone and have to deal with problems themselves. Many are displaced from their homes and live in miserable conditions in refugee camps. 3,500 girls and women are still in captivity,’’ said Revin Aswad, chairman of the Yazidiene Culture House in Norway.

She came to Norway in 1992 after her father had to flee from Saddam Hussein’s Iraq. When Murad gets the award during Monday’s ceremony, she and her husband will be in Oslo City Hall.

“We feel forgotten. We hope this helps to shed light on the genocide of the Yazidis and that the peace prize will open the world’s eyes,” she told NTB news.

Asking for Norwegian support

On December the 14th, the Yazidis gather in Norway for a big party in Sandefjord, to commemorate Murad, who unfortunately will not be involved’’ said Aswad.

“We have rented a space, and musicians and have good food. There are guests from both Sweden, Germany, and Kurdistan, she said.

Aswad has a clear request for the Norwegian authorities.

“I wish the Norwegian authorities, together with the global community, will contribute to the reconstruction of Sinjar, to help those living in refugee camps, to protect the Yazidis, and to help them manage themselves,” she said.


© NTB scanpix / #Norway Today