Monday, February 26, 2007

Nobel Peace Prize

Have people been following this? There are 181 nominations for this year's Nobel Peace Prize which consists of 135 individuals and 46 organisations. Unfortunately, they don't release the full list of nominees for another fifty years, but naturally some of the names of those in the running get leaked.

So we know that Oscar winner Al Gore is in the running. A Canadian Inuit woman who campaigns on the environment, Sheila Watt-Cloutier, is also a nominee. Oprah pissing Winfrey is in there for her scary schools for girls initiative in South Africa, Sail Training International a charity that helps young people through sailing (um...), Irena Sendler who helped thousands escape the holocaust and two very worthy sounding groups in Colombia are also in the race. Naseem Shaikh a survivor of the Gujarat ethnic cleansing who set up an organisation to council thousands of other survivors has also been nominated for the prize would be a good choice and obviously the nomination that really caught my eye was that of Evo Morales, committed jumper wearer and President of Bolivia.

Now I suppose the thing I want to say though is who'd *want* to win the Nobel Peace Prize? Alfred Nobel (inventor of dynamite) said that the prize should be awarded to "to the person who shall have done the most or the best work for fraternity between the nations, for the abolition or reduction of standing armies and for the holding and promotion of peace congresses" but I'm not sure it's always worked out that way.

Now a nomination is apparently rather easy to get and previous unsuccessful nominees include Hitler, Stalin and Mussolini. I suppose Hitler worked tirelessly for the abolition of Stalin's armies and visa versa, but I don't think that's what Nobel had in mind... but the list of those who actually won the prize contains figures whose contribution to the fraternity of nations is almost as problematic. Theodore Roosevelt, Woodrow Wilson, Henry Kissinger, Jimmy Carter, Yasser Arafat, David Trimble, and Kim Dae Jung, all have their fans but no, no, no, no, no, no, NO!

Is this the kind of company that Archbishop Tutu, Martin Luther King (pictured) and Amnesty International really want to be keeping? I think not. At least the Vietnamese Foreign Minister, Le Duc Tho, had the good sense to turn down the prize in 1973 which makes him the only person to turn down a Peace Prize, although that other all round good egg Jean Paul Satre turned down a Nobel Prize for Literature in 1964.

In that vein I've a feeling the only people I'd actually support getting the prize are people who'd turn it down (although Dario Fo won the Literature Award and he's alright, isn't he?) despite the fact that I liked An Inconvenient Truth, or if Morales is awarded the prize it does actually make it objectively more difficult for the US to back one of those right-wing coups in Bolivia. I'm not sure I really care, as long as it isn't Oprah Winfrey that is.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Mixed Ideas. To say the least.
I'm on your end though, I don't really care. So long as it isn't a capitalist. Cause capitalists have it way too easy.