The Irena Sendler Meme

irene sendlerAI saw this posted on Facebook by a few different people. I am not about to say anything bad about this woman. She seems pretty wonderful. However, what bothers me is how this has to end with a political statement. People have to make everything a controversy. Al Gore won the 2007 Nobel Peace Prize. I would hardly call his work with spreading awareness on climate change just a slide show.

Here is the problem with that last part about her being up for the 2007 Nobel Peace Prize:  no one knows that for sure! Allow me to explain. This comes from the Nobel Prize page.

The statutes of the Nobel Foundation restrict disclosure of information about the nominations, whether publicly or privately, for 50 years. The restriction concerns the nominees and nominators, as well as investigations and opinions related to the award of a prize.

So how would anyone know that Irena was up for the Nobel Peace Prize in 2007? They would not know that, in fact, this was basically started by a group of social workers. I understand that they want her to receive recognition, but the Nobel Peace Prize is more likely intended for living folks. Here are the statutes from the Nobel Prize page:

The provision in the will that the annual award of prizes shall be intended for works “during the preceding year” should be understood in the sense that the awards shall be made for the most recent achievements in the fields of culture referred to in the will and for older works only if their significance has not become apparent until recently.

Irena’s work had been known for years, so she would not really count because her work did not happen in the preceding year, nor was it just discovered during that year.

Work produced by a person since deceased shall not be considered for an award. If, however, a prizewinner dies before he has received the prize, then the prize may be presented.

That first sentence makes it sound like dead people will not be able to win. I think this is probably to stop people from nominating everyone that ever did anything good in history. Imagine the number of nominations they would receive each year if anyone could be nominated?

Look, I understand that some people like to post stuff without really putting much thought into it. They read this and it seemed like a cool story to share. And it really is a cool story. It intrigued me enough to decide to read about the Nobel Prize nomination process. But people need to think critically, if you see a post that turns a woman’s story into a piece of political propaganda, then they should probably ask some questions.