New Delhi, Jan. 2: Sandeep Pandey, social activist and General Secretary of Socialist Party (India), who is also known for co-founding Asha for Education, has decided to return his Magsaysay Award in protest against the role of US in the Gaza war.
Sandeep Pandey, while speaking to Radiance, said, “I think that the time has now come. Magsaysay Award is primarily funded by Rockefeller Foundation and the category in which I received the award is funded by Ford Foundation, both American foundations. Given the role of US in blatantly supporting Israel in the current offensive against Palestinian citizens, more than 21,500 of whom are dead, and still continuing to sell arms to Israel, it has become unbearable for me to keep the award. I, therefore, am deciding to finally return the award too. I would like to apologise to the people of Philippines if they feel hurt because of President Ramon Magsaysay’s name is associated with this award. My protest is only because of the American connection with the award.”
“As I return the Magsaysay award, I also feel that I should relieve myself of the degrees I have obtained in US. Hence, I am also taking a decision to return my Dual M.S. degrees in Manufacturing and Computer Engineering to Syracuse University in upstate New York and my Ph.D. in Mechanical Engineering degree to the University of California at Berkeley,” said the Magsaysay award winner.
“Again, let me make it clear that I am not against the American people or even the country. In fact, I think the US is one country which respects the human rights the most and offers the best freedom of expression, but sadly it is true only within the country. Outside the US, it seems to have little regard for human rights, especially of the third world countries. If it respects justice then it should stand with the side facing oppression in any war. It took the correct position in the Russian war on Ukraine but when it comes to Israel against Palestine, it is inexplicable why the US chooses to turn a blind eye to the misfortunes and sufferings of the Palestinians and overlooks the crimes of Israeli defense forces. Had it been any other country, it would have imposed sanctions against it, like it did along with the rest of the world against South Africa, when apartheid was still practiced there,” he added.
“I have to take the hard decision because I think US is singularly responsible in encouraging Israel to continue its aggression against Palestinians contrary to the popular world opinion. It could have played the role of mediator, like it once did, and tried to negotiate peace between Israel and Palestine. Creation of the sovereign state of Palestine and its recognition by the United Nations as a full member is essential towards the solution of the problem. But it is strange that US, which not very long back handed over Afghanistan, much bigger in area, to Taliban on a silver platter knowing very well that it was jeopardizing the civil liberties of common Afghans, especially the women, parrots the Israeli position about Hamas being a terrorist organisation ignoring the fact that Hamas has won an election in Palestine, unlike the Taliban. I feel that it is time to call out the double standards of US government,” argued Pandey.