Sunday, October 17, 2010

Message of the Peace Prize

“All men desire peace, but very few desire those things that make for peace.”— Thomas à Kempis *1380, †1471.
Alfred Nobel * 1833, †1896, was an inventive chemist with hundreds of patents, and an industrialist of great wealth. He invented dynamite, a smokeless gunpowder and other explosives. At the end of his life he owned Bofors, the iron and steel company founded in 1656. By 1894 it was becoming an arms factory, specialising in cannon.

Whether conscience or altruism, Nobel left a fortune for prizes to reward the benefactors of society. In his will, he wrote:
The whole of my remaining realizable estate... shall constitute a fund, the interest on which shall be annually distributed in the form of prizes to those who, during the preceding year, shall have conferred the greatest benefit on mankind. The said interest shall be divided into five equal parts... one part to the person...within the field of physics...chemical discovery or improvement... physiology or medicine...and one part to the person who shall have done the most or the best work for fraternity between nations, for the abolition or reduction of standing armies and for the holding and promotion of peace congresses. The prizes...for champions of peace by a committee of five persons to be elected by the Norwegian Storting. It is my express wish that in awarding the prizes no consideration whatever shall be given to the nationality of the candidates, but that the most worthy shall receive the prize, whether he be a Scandinavian or not.
Now, some awardees were those already world renowned for the greatness of their soul: 1952 Albert Schweitzer, 1979 Mother Teresa; others to political figures that led to peace treaties or peaceful transitions: 1919 Woodrow Wilson, 1990 Mikhail Sergejevič Gorbachev; some to organisations: 1917, 1944 & 1963 Red Cross, 1999 Médecins Sans Frontières. Recently, some recipients, though accomplished, sometimes highly so, have been living indictments against oppression. In 1964, Martin Luther King Jr. advanced civil rights in an often combatively unwilling US society. In 1983, Lech Walesa, founder of the Solidarity trade union and peace movement, was a challenge to communist tyranny; likewise, in 1975, Andrei Dmitrijevič Sakharov. In 1984, the South African government was not to pleased that Anglican Archbishop Desmond Mpilo Tutu was recognised. In 1989, the Dalai Lama (Tenzin Gyatso) of Chinese occupied Tibet received the award. The Chinese government has been, and still is, in a campaign of slander and vituperation against him.

It can be conjectured that gwbjr has had three prizes awarded against him: 2002 Jimmy Carter in arguing Aquinas' just war theory against the upcoming 2nd US-Iraqui War ordered by gwbjr; 2007, Albert Gore shared the prize for helping to illustrate world climatological problems, something the then US government and the Republican party did not admit to, also, the world recognised, that, he would have been president if the votes were counted, and this suggested the illegitimacy of the incumbent; and finally, 2009,Barack Obama, who succeeded gwbjr in a clean vote count, and was a hope for a better US on the world stage.

Little Norway exercises a voice of conscience on the world. The most recent awardee is Liu Xiaobo. China crushed, in 1989, the attempt to advance liberty. Communism fell in much of eastern europe that year. It began in Poland, through the agency of Walesa's Solidarity, encouraged by John Paul II, and allowed by Gorbachev. China warned Norway not to award Liu. China is on course to be the next unrivalled world power, to replace the United States. The chinese government takes no criticism, and admits no fault. In China the communists and the capitalists are one, and democracy is a theory. Liu Xiaobo was in prison (the fourth time) when he 'won'. He was there for "inciting subversion of state power". Other prison detentions were for "counter-revolutionary propaganda and incitement", and "disturbing public order". All these are orwellian language for speaking one's mind out loud in public. The government arrested his wife after the Nobel announcement. Before the arrest, she saw her husband and told him of his Nobel. He said to her,“This is for the Tiananmen martyrs.”

Liu is a democrat in a dictatorial society. He writes, speaks and teaches. He is, therefore, a threat. The outside world may applaud him. The powers he lives under punish him.
For hatred is corrosive of a person’s wisdom and conscience; the mentality of enmity can poison a nation’s spirit, instigate brutal life and death struggles, destroy a society’s tolerance and humanity, and block a nation’s progress to freedom and democracy. I hope therefore to be able to transcend my personal vicissitudes in understanding the development of the state and changes in society, to counter the hostility of the regime with the best of intentions, and defuse hate with love. Liu Xiaobo, 2009 before being imprisoned.

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