Alfred Nobel is thrashing about in his grave.
The cause of his unrest is once again the prize for peace he established to salve his conscience after inventing dynamite has become a farce. Since 1901, The Nobel Peace Prize has been awarded annually (with some exceptions like during both world wars) to those who 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”. Since its inception, an amazing array of people and organizations have won the prestigious award.
In 1905, Teddy Roosevelt won the prize for brokering the peace treaty ending the Russo-Japanese War. The International Red Cross won in 1917 and 1944 — the only awards given during a world war — for helping ease suffering. In 1953, Gen. George Marshall received the award for successfully pushing his plan to rebuild war-ravaged western Europe. The list of people and organizations rewarded for promoting peace goes on and contains names like Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., Mother Teresa, Andri Sakharov, Lech Walesa, Elie Weisel and Nelson Mandela.
Many times in the last several years, though, the awards committee was apparently drinking heavily before picking the winner of the prize meant for promoting peace. For example, in 2007, Irena Sendler was a front-runner for the award. This elderly Polish lady had helped save 2500 Jewish children from the Warsaw Ghetto at the cost of imprisonment and severe torture. Instead of giving her the award, however, the committee chose Al Gore for his “work” on bringing attention to global warming . . . because that certainly counts as working for the abolition or reduction of standing armies and for the holding and promotion of peace congresses. Similarly, US President Barack Obama won in 2009 after doing . . . pretty much nothing to win the award. He was only nine months into his first term as President! Then last year, the European Union won the award. Why? Inquiring minds would love to know. As bad as those picks were, this morning’s announcement represents one of the worst miscarriages of justice in the 112 year history of this prestigious award and is proof to me the Nobel Peace Prize Committee has become just another geo-political shill peddling some kind of watered down political correctness.
The apparent front-runners for the award this year seemed to be poised to reverse the specious trend, however. Denis Mukwege is a Congolese gynecologist who pioneered ways to rebuild women’s insides after they were destroyed by gang rapes common during the region’s civil war. He and his clinic fellows have treated over 30,000 women brutalized by soldiers. At age 86, Lyudmila Alexeyeva is one of the old school Soviet dissidents still actively speaking out against the now Russian government. She started her protesting during the black days of Soviet oppression and she’s still going strong opposing the new laws concerning homosexuality in Russia. She gets death threats often, but at 86, she figures it doesn’t matter much! Claudia Paz y Paz is Guatemala’s first female attorney general and — again despite death threats — is the first government official to arrange and pursue prosecution of the people responsible for the human rights abuses committed by the military dictatorship during Guatemala’s civil war. Until she took her post, no one had thought to try bringing these madmen to justice.
Then you have Malala Yousafzai. At the jaded and cynical age of TWELVE, she started a blog speaking out against the Taliban who held sway over her home region in the Swat Valley of Pakistan. She was upset that girls were treated so poorly and denied education and she spoke out about it, loudly. Her blog started picking up viewers and by the time she was fourteen, she’d caught the notice of Taliban “officials” to the point she was getting warnings to stop. Instead, she upped her efforts. This enraged the rabid followers of the peaceful Islamic religion to the point on October 9, 2012, a Taliban gunman stopped the vehicle she was riding home from school in and SHOT HER IN THE HEAD! Instead of dying like a normal person, she survived and was airlifted first to a big hospital in Pakistan where she was stabilized then flown to the UK where she had as much of the damage repaired as possible.
At this point, most people would get the message and just shut up. Instead, Malala kept right on going and as soon as she was able, she resumed her blogging and on July 12, 2013, she addressed the United Nations about acting to ensure the right to education for females all over the world. She’s still writing, still blogging, and still speaking. Oh, and the Taliban leadership have gone on record stating they will finish her off as soon as they get the chance. In an interview with CNN, Taliban Pakistan spokesman Shahidullah Shahid said Malala was targeted because she was used in propaganda against the militants. The Taliban would target her again if given the chance, just as it would target anyone who opposes the group, Shahid told CNN. “She accepted that she attacked Islam so we tried to kill her, and if we get another chance we will definitely kill her and that will make us feel proud,” he was quoted as saying. Wow. Just, wow. Real peaceful religion y’all got there Shahid.
So with all these worthy candidates, the committee had hard work ahead of them. Or so it seemed. Instead, they ignored all the people making a huge difference and awarded the 2013 Nobel Peace Prize to the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons “for its extensive efforts to eliminate chemical weapons”. Who? Better yet, WHAT? This year’s prize was awarded to a bureaucratic agency supposedly overseeing the dismantling of Syria’s chemical weapons, and MY, MY, MY haven’t they done a bang-up job?! So Peace takes a backseat to politics once again and I’m surprised that I’m actually surprised!
What. A. Joke.
Well, as Chicago Cubs fans always say, “Maybe next year.”
Love y’all and keep those feet clean.