Indian Author and human rights campaigner
On 4 November 2004, Her Excellency Professor Marie Bashir AC, the Governor of New South Wales, presented the 2004 Sydney Peace Prize to Arundhati Roy. The Award Ceremony was held at McLaurin Hall at the University of Sydney.
Sydney Peace Prize Citation: Arundhati Roy has been recognized for her courage in campaigns for human rights and for her advocacy of non violence, as expressed in her demands for justice for the poor, for the victims of communal violence, for the millions displaced by the Narmada dam projects and by her opposition to nuclear weapons.
Sydney Peace Prize lecture: Peace, The New Corporate Liberation Theology
Read Arudhati Roy’s lecture: 2004 SPP_ Arundhati Roy
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From New Delhi, Ms Roy commented, ‘I am honoured to accept the prize’. On nonviolence as a criterion for the award, Arundhati Roy says ‘Today, in a world convulsed by violence and unbelievable brutality the lines between ‘us’ and ‘the terrorists’ have been completely blurred… We don’t have to choose between Imperialism and Terrorism, we have to choose what form of resistance will rid us of both. What shall we choose? Violence or nonviolence?… We have to choose knowing that when we are violent to our enemies, we do violence to ourselves. When we brutalize others, we brutalize ourselves. And eventually we run the risk of becoming our oppressors’.
Commenting on the selection of Ms Roy, the Director of the Peace Foundation Professor Stuart Rees said, ‘Arundhati Roy is a distinguished world citizen. She was chosen for her opposition to the violence of poverty in India and for her commitment to the global cause of peace with justice. As a writer she challenges the world. She is an outstanding communicator who writes with great clarity and grace. She insists that ‘silence is indefensible’, that ‘Peace is not the opposite of war. Peace is the sibling of justice’. At a time of terrible disregard for human life, we need to hear from citizens like Arundhati Roy. Her presence in Sydney will be exciting and encouraging.’
Ms Roy is perhaps best known for her Booker Prize-winning novel, The God of Small Things.