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Sunday, October 14, 2007

Nobel Peace Prize?

New Hampshire's Union Leader newspaper says the Nobel Peace Prize "is no longer a serious international award". Not just because it was awarded this year to the International Panel on Climate Change and the Algore, but also such "distinguished" individuals as the 1992 winner, Rigoberta Menchú (a fraud), the 1994 winner, Yasser Arafat (a terrorist, murderer, liar and all around thug), and the 2001 winner, Kofi Anan (former Secretary General of the United Nations and Iraqi oil Shyster-Meister). Let's also not forget Jimmy Carter (validator of dictators) who won the award in 2002. As a commenter on the Union Leader's editorial reminds us, the Nobel Chairman, Gunnar Berge, said the choice of Jimmy Carter was meant to be "...a kick in the leg to all that follow the same line as the United States".

Even though the names of all the nominees are not released publicly until 50 years after the award is given, many of the groups invited to present nominations to the prize committee make public their choices. I thought it might be interesting to take a quick look at a few of the other purported candidates for the 2007 Nobel Peace Prize.
Irena Sendler: An unfamiliar name to most people, but this remarkable woman defied the Nazis and saved 2,500 Jewish children by smuggling them out of the Warsaw Ghetto. As a health worker, she sneaked the children out between 1942 and 1943 to safe hiding places and found non-Jewish families to adopt them. [...]

...the Nazis became aware of Irena's activities, and on October 20, 1943 she was arrested, imprisoned and tortured by the Gestapo, who broke her feet and legs. She ended up in the Pawiak Prison, but no one could break her spirit. Though she was the only one who knew the names and addresses of the families sheltering the Jewish children, she withstood the torture, that crippled her for life, refusing to betray either her associates or any of the Jewish children in hiding. Sentenced to death, Irena was saved at the last minute when Zegota members bribed one of the Gestapo agents to halt the execution. She escaped from prison but for the rest of the war she was pursued by the Nazis.

Buddhist monk Thich Quang Do: ...one of Vietnam’s most prominent dissidents. Buddhist monk and Deputy leader of the outlawed Unified Buddhist Church of Vietnam (UBCV), he has spent more than 25 years in detention for his peaceful advocacy of religious freedom, democracy and human rights. He is currently detained at the Thanh Minh Zen Monastery in Saigon. Thich Quang Do is also an eminent scholar, lecturer in oriental philosophy and Buddhist studies, and well-known writer. He has over a dozen published works including novels, poetry, translations and studies of Vietnamese Buddhism.

Born on November 27th 1928 in Thai Binh Province (former North Vietnam), a monk since the age of 14, Thich Quang Do witnessed the summary execution of his religious master by a revolutionary People’s Tribunal in 1945. Profoundly disturbed by this image, he resolved to devote his life to the pursuit of justice through the Buddhist teachings of non-violence, tolerance and compassion.

His convictions led him into prison under successive political regimes. In the 1960s, he was jailed for opposing the anti-Buddhist policies of the Ngo Dinh Diem regime in South Vietnam. But it was in 1975, after Vietnam’s unification under a Communist government, that Thich Quang Do began a cycle of quasi-systematic detention for his advocacy of religious freedom, human rights and democracy : in 1977, he was detained for 20 months in solitary confinement for denouncing abuses of human rights; in 1982, he was sent into internal exile for 10 years for protesting the government’s ban on the independent UBCV and the creation of a State-sponsored Buddhist organization; in 1995, he was sentenced to 5 years reeducation camp at an unfair trial in Saigon on charges of “abusing democratic freedoms to harm the interests of the State” for sending a critical essay to the Communist Party leadership and organizing a UBCV Relief Mission for flood victims in 1994.

Former Finnish President Martti Ahtisaari: Mr. Ahtisaari was elected President of the Republic of Finland in February 1994. He held office from the 1st of March 1994 to the 29th of February 2000.

Upon leaving office, Mr. Ahtisaari founded the Crisis Management Initiative, where he is the Chairman of the Board.

His post-presidential activities have included facilitating the peace process between the Government of Indonesia and the Free Aceh Movement, chairing an independent panel on the security and safety of UN personnel in Iraq, appointments as UN Special Envoy for the Horn of Africa and Personal Envoy of the OSCE CiO for Central Asia, inspection of the IRA's arms' dumps with fellow inspector Cyril Ramaphosa, and the drafting of a report on the human rights and political situation in Austria as a member of a group of "three wise men". He is a member of Independent Commission on Turkey that examines the challenges and opportunities presented by Turkey's possible membership in the European Union. In 2007 Mr. Ahtisaari became a member of an independent Consultative Group on the Past seeking a consensus in Northern Ireland on how to best deal with the legacy of the past.

President Ahtisaari is active in numerous non-governmental and non-profit organisations. He acts as Co-Chair in European Council on Foreign Relations (ECFR). He is the Chairman of the Governing Council of InterPeace, serves as Director-At-Large of the ImagineNations Group, Chairman of the Balkan Children and Youth Foundation as well as Global Action Council of the International Youth Foundation. He is member of the board of the New York-based EastWest Institute and member of the board of trustees of Inter Press Service International Association.

Save the Children: ...is the world’s largest independent organisation for children, making a difference to children’s lives in over 120 countries. From emergency relief to long-term development, Save the Children helps children to achieve a happy, healthy and secure childhood. Save the Children listens to children, involves children and ensures their views are taken into account. Save the Children secures and protects children’s rights – to food, shelter, health care, education and freedom from violence, abuse and exploitation. [...]

Save the Children works to give all children the best possible start in life. For over 85 years we have been working to ensure that children have adequate food, shelter, healthcare and education, and are free from violence, abuse and exploitation.

As long as there are children in need, Save the Children will find innovative ways to help them survive and thrive.

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