2016.06.18 Snowden Awarded "Glass of Reason"
I am happy to report that my (adopted) hometown of Kassel, Germany, has chosen Edward Snowden for its annual "Glass of Reason" award. Glas der Vernunft is sometimes translated as "Prism of Reason" because the physical award (see here ) is a glass prism designed by Kassel artist Karl Oskar Blase to represent both the fragility of glass and the analytical power of reason. Following the reunification of Germany in 1990, the citizens of Kassel endowed this award with a 20,000 mark/10,000 euro financial gift to honor individuals for their special contribution to the ideals of reason, tolerance of dissent, and overcoming ideological constraints.
Snowden was chosen as the 26th recipient of this award because the jury decided (see here ) that his revelations significantly increased public and governmental awareness of the issue of uncontrolled data collection and that he acted "courageously, competently, and reasonably, sacrificing his career and risking his life for a cause greater than himself."
"However controversial, Edward Snowden has alerted us to the dangers of uncontrolled data collection and storage and triggered a discussion about how far government agencies should be allowed to infringe upon individual rights" (my translation).
The award will be presented officially on September 25, 2016 in Kassel. Snowden will obviously not be able to attend but has indicated via his lawyer in Berlin that he is pleased to accept the award. Speakers at the ceremony will include Heribert Prantl, a lawyer and editor for the Suddeutsche Zeitung, and lawyer/novelist Bernhard Schlink .
The Glass of Reason will thus be added to the long list of awards that have honored Snowden, as he continues to live in exile in Russia, outside the clutches of a U.S. government that insists on persecuting a man that the rest of the world, as well as a great many Americans, regard as a hero.