Friday, October 9, 2009

Nobel Peace Prize - What's It Really About?

This morning I woke up to the news that Barrack Obama had won the Nobel Peace Prize.

Growing up, this prize always seemed to be revered in my household as given to the brightest, and most world changing individuals. These ladies and gentleman were distinguished because of the work that they have done to benefit mankind. Of course my mother studied political science, among other things, at Yale University. She was liberal. Regardless of her political views, she treated this award with the highest esteem, and so have I until the last few years.

The history of the Nobel Peace Prize, and the Laureates that have won it, is rich. What is the Nobel Peace Prize really? It is an award for peace - and anti-war. However; one reader put it this way, "It is fodder for the right-wing talk show hosts."

According to, this is how the Prize came into existence.

""On 27 November 1895, Alfred Nobel signed his last will and testament, giving the largest share of his fortune to a series of prizes, the Nobel Prizes. As described in Nobel's will, one part was dedicated 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".""

There are some more facts about the Nobel Peace Prize HERE.

I would have thought Mahatma Gandhi would have been a winner, but he was assassinated before it could be given out -- they don't award them to dead people - one of the rules.

As a Christian, one would think that a "peace prize" should be given to any folks that create peace. After all, the Bible says that we should live peaceful lives, feed the poor, take care of the widows and preach the gospel-- nothing violent about that. As far as I know, there is no violent religion (god believing) except some factions of Islam. Even Islam is mostly a peaceful religion. Oh, and don't forget the Crusades- as Christians we own that one.

There have been many religious leaders have had an effect on world peace; many of them Christian. In my life time, as a child of the Cold War era, there was nothing more joyous then the fall of the Berlin Wall. This is attributed to both Pope John Paul II and Ronald Reagan. Regardless of your political views, both men contributed to the fall of the wall, calling for an end of the Cold War in 1989. That was the year the 14th Dalai Lama (Tenzin Gyatso) won the prize. (Mikhail Gorbachev also received one.) This is the same fellow, that in 1951, was pressured by the Chinese military to ratify a seventeen-point agreement which permitted the People's Republic of China to take control of Tibet. I am sorry, I find the fact that he did that a little cowardly-- am I missing something?

Another one of the rules of nomination is that the world waits 50 years to find out who the nominees are-- so it won't be easy to tell who Barrack Obama ran against-- I doubt it was William Ayres of the Weather Underground - but I could be wrong. Here are a couple of characters that were nominated over the decades.

Joseph Stalin, the Secretary General of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union (1922-1953), was nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize in 1945 and 1948 for his efforts to end World War II.

Adolf Hitler, was nominated once in 1939 by E.G.C. Brandt, member of the Swedish parliament. Brandt changed his mind, however, and the nomination was withdrawn in a letter dated 1 February 1939.

Has the Nobel Peace Prize lost any appeal yet? Well, here is one more likely nominee that didn't get the prize. Her name is Irena Sendlerowa. You may have heard her story via email-- I have received it a few times. I checked it out on Snopes, and it is marked “true”. She is the inspiration behind 1993 film, Schindler's List. had this to say: A Los Angeles Times obituary for Irena described how Irena, a social worker, passed herself off as a nurse to sneak supplies and aid into (and children out of) the Warsaw Ghetto, and the punishment she endured when she was finally caught by the Nazis: She studied at Warsaw University and was a social worker in Warsaw when the German occupation of Poland began in 1939.

In 1940, after the Nazis herded Jews into the ghetto and built a wall separating it from the rest of the city, disease, especially typhoid, ran rampant. Social workers were not allowed inside the ghetto, but Sendler, imagining "the horror of life behind the walls," obtained fake identification and passed herself off as a nurse, allowed to bring in food, clothes and medicine.

By 1942, when the deadly intentions of the Nazis had become clear, Sendler joined a Polish underground organization, Zegota. She recruited 10 close friends -- a group that would eventually grow to 25, all but one of them women -- and began rescuing Jewish children.

She and her friends smuggled the children out in boxes, suitcases, sacks and coffins, sedating babies to quiet their cries. Some were spirited away through a network of basements and secret passages. Operations were timed to the second. One of Sendler's children told of waiting by a gate in darkness as a German soldier patrolled nearby. When the soldier passed, the boy counted to 30, then made a mad dash to the middle of the street, where a manhole cover opened and he was taken down into the sewers and eventually to safety.

Most of the children who left with Sendler's group were taken into Roman Catholic convents, orphanages and homes and given non-Jewish aliases. Sendler recorded their true names on thin rolls of paper in the hope that she could reunite them with their families later. She preserved the precious scraps in jars and buried them in a friend's garden.

In 1943, she was captured by the Nazis and tortured but refused to tell her captors who her co-conspirators were or where the bottles were buried. She also resisted in other ways. According to Felt, when Sendler worked in the prison laundry, she and her co-workers made holes in the German soldiers' underwear. When the officers discovered what they had done, they lined up all the women and shot every other one. It was just one of many close calls for Sendler.

During one particularly brutal torture session, her captors broke her feet and legs, and she passed out. When she awoke, a Gestapo officer told her he had accepted a bribe from her comrades in the resistance to help her escape. The officer added her name to a list of executed prisoners. Sendler went into hiding but continued her rescue efforts.
Felt said that Sendler had begun her rescue operation before she joined the organized resistance and helped a number of adults escape, including the man she later married. "We think she saved about -- 500 people -- before she joined Zegota," Felt said, which would mean that Sendler ultimately helped rescue about 3,000 Polish Jews.

When the war ended, Sendler unearthed the jars and began trying to return the children to their families. For the vast majority, there was no family left. Many of the children were adopted by Polish families; others were sent to Israel.

She lost to Al Gore, promoter of the Global Warming farce in 2007.

I just don't have the energy to write about the prizes Yasir Arafat and Jimmy Carter received.

In the end, I think the award, for a president that has two wars on his hands, and potentially two or three more conflicts in the wings,-- well, it i just a bit too early to see if he'll give peace a chance. I believe the peace prize should be for peace, not rumors of peace.

As a Christian, I think that men should be rewarded for what they do, not what they say they are going to do. To use a well know verse, "talk is cheap." ;o)


TeVeT said...

Great read that convicted me about what we in the US consider having it 'rough'. It also makes me wonder how many more people are actually out there working for peace and doing what they can for humanity without a microphone and cameras in front of them.
Think of the 'awards' Jesus will give to Obama compared to Irena Sendlerowa.
Mathew 6:3-4, 1 Corinthians 3:13

photogr said...

David: I am so glad you decided to do this article about Irena Sendlerowa. It has been said Al Gore won the award with a slide show presentation. Considering he live in an energy wasting expansive home,how insulting was that?

Great article.

eaglegirl said...

When I first heard about it I was like "huh ? how can that be ? He has only been president such a short time?" It makes no sense, but not a lot does on the 'world scene'.
Guess we should just write the Nobel Peace Prize off.
It was a good blog David. I think I heard about Irena Sendlerowa, but not about the situation with the prize. I know I am being sarcastic here, but maybe Al Gore really won because he invented the internet you know.

Tony C said...

How'd I miss this one?

Apparently, we think a lot alike. I promise I didn't plagiarise!

(Although immitation is the ultimate form of flattery)

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