Saturday, 8 October 2011

The Nobel Peace Prize

often courts controversy. The most recent award will no doubt be scrutinised and criticised as well.
If you have not already heard who the winners are they are Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, Leymah Gbowee and Tanwakkul Karman.
Who? Oh yes, this will send a few journalists rushing to type the names into a search engine and then do some more research.
Sirleaf is the current President of Liberia. I can see a few more rushes to the search engines to find out where Liberia is - and what the capital is. (Alternatively you can ask me and I will tell you that Liberia is in Africa. The capital is Monrovia. It may not leave you much the wiser but now you know.)
Gbowee is a social worker turned activist and Karman is a journalist-activist - the latter comes from Yemen. (Yemen? It is a country in what might be described as the Middle East. It is also one of the poorest. The capital is Sana'a.)
All three women have taken risks - and done much for the women of their respective countries as they try to bring about peace and stability.
Readers of my witterings may actually be aware of all this but I am certain the world at large will have far less idea. Women do not often win the Nobel Peace Prize. The latest announcement makes it fifteen women in 115 years.
A look at the list of winners of the Nobel Peace Prize is instructive. Many of the figures are, naturally, well known. The choices sometimes seem strange. More than one American President and other public figure has been awarded the prize when many would say they were simply doing their job. There are others who have been given the prize and the choice has been criticised as "political". The Chinese government was certainly upset by the choice of Liu Xiaobo in 2010 and the Dalai Lama in 1989. The Burmese authorities saw the 1991 award to Aung Sun Suu Kyi as a threat to their existence. I am not sure that even the Indian government was that pleased by the award to Mother Teresa in 1979.
I sometimes wonder what Alfred Nobel would have made of some of the choices. What did he really want? Would he always approve? No, I am sure he would not. There will always be some worthy person who does not even get a nomination. There are unworthy persons who do get nominations. It is all very political even while it can do great good.
Winning the Nobel Peace Prize might actually be more of an outside honour than an inside honour. It brings with it more responsibility. The 1984 winner, Desmond Tutu, is still speaking out - and rightly so. Those truly worthy of the award know that they must now spend the rest of their lives working for the cause of peace. It is a heavy burden to bear if you really deserve the prize.
Peace is something which must be constantly worked at and watched over.

4 comments:

Donna Hosie said...

Worthy winners in my opinion, although it does not redeem the Nobel in my eyes for the award to Obama.

Anonymous said...

Agree - why should anyone like a President get it for doing their job?

catdownunder said...

Far more appropriate than the previous award Donna!

Rachel Fenton said...

Always so much controversy with the Nobel Peace Prize - irony, anyone?