by Anna Borshchevskaya

This week marks not one but two dictators mentioned in the context of the Nobel peace prize.

Syria’s Bashar al-Assad jokingly mentioned, as reported by the Lebanese Al-Akhbar, that he deserved a Nobel Peace Prize after it was awarded on October 11 to the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) currently working on destroying his murderous regime’s chemical arsenal. And Former British Labour Party peer Lord Truscott actually—not jokingly— nominated Russian President Vladimir Putin actual to receive the same prize.”Many people would argue that the Russian-led Syrian peace plan is the most significant peace initiative this year,” Lord Truscott told peers, “To recognise this and to encourage Russia in its peace-making endeavours, a few hours ago, I nominated President Putin for the Nobel peace prize.”

The Labour Party, to its credit, quickly disassociated itself from this nomination. Still, it’s hard to decide whether to laugh or cry when in one week two authoritarian thugs—one responsible for brutal ongoing violence in Syria which to date claims over 100,00 lives, and one who has been perhaps his strongest supporter since the civil war began—get mentioned in the context of an award for the world’s most prestigious prize for peace. While Assad only joked, his jest can hardly be considered appropriate.  This idea also has serious support among Assad’s backers.  And that a former British official would think to actually nominate Putin is equally disturbing.

Perhaps the real Nobel Peace prize should have gone to one of the actual runners-up— the courageous  Malala Yousafzai, a young Pakistani woman who survived being shot in the head and neck by the Taliban gunmen in Pakistan for her advocacy of education for girls.

Anna Borshchevskaya is Communications Director at the American Islamic Congress