Monday, October 11, 2010

The Nobel Peace Prize

The Nobel Peace Prize 2010 was awarded to Liu Xiaobo "for his long and non-violent struggle for fundamental human rights in China".

What is Nobel Prize?

The Nobel Prizes are annual international awards bestowed by Scandinavian committees in recognition of the cultural and scientific advances. The will of the Swedish chemist Alfred Nobel, the inventor of dynamite, established the prizes in 1895. The prizes in Physics, Chemistry, Physiology or Medicine, Literature, and Peace were first awarded in 1901. The Sveriges Riksbank Prize in Economic Sciences in Memory of Alfred Nobel was instituted by Sveriges Riksbank in 1968 and was first awarded in 1969. Although technically not a Nobel Prize, its announcements and presentations are made along with the other prizes, with the exception of the Peace Prize which is awarded in Oslo, Norway. Each Nobel Prize is regarded as the most prestigious award in its field.

Who is Alfred Nobel?

Alfred Nobel was born on 21 October 1833 in Stockholm, Sweden, into a family of engineers. He was a chemist, engineer, and inventor. In 1895 Nobel purchased the Bofors iron and steel mill, which he converted into a major armaments manufacturer. Nobel also invented ballistite, the immediate precurser to many smokeless military explosives. Nobel amassed a fortune during his lifetime, most of it from his 355 inventions, of which dynamite is the most famous. In 1888, Alfred had the unpleasant surprise of reading his own obituary, titled ‘The merchant of death is dead’, in a French newspaper. As it was Alfred's brother Ludvig who had died, the obituary was eight years premature. Alfred was disappointed with what he read and concerned with how he would be remembered. This inspired him to change his will. On 10 December 1896 Alfred Nobel died in his villa in San Remo, Italy, at the age of 63 from a cerebral hemorrhage.

To the surprise of many, Nobel's last will requested that his fortune be used to create a series of prizes for those who confer the "greatest benefit on mankind" in physics, chemistry, peace, physiology or medicine, and literature. Nobel wrote several wills during his lifetime. The last was written over a year before he died, signed at the Swedish-Norwegian Club in Paris on 27 November 1895. Nobel bequeathed 94% of his total assets, 31 million SEK (c. US$186 million in 2008), to establish the five Nobel Prizes. Because of the level of scepticism surrounding the will, it was not until 26 April 1897 that it was approved by the Storting in Norway. The executors of his will were Ragnar Sohlman and Rudolf Lilljequist, who formed the Nobel Foundation to take care of Nobel's fortune and organise the prizes.

Nobel's instructions named a Norwegian Nobel Committee to award the Peace Prize, the members of whom were appointed shortly after the will was approved in April 1897. Soon thereafter, the other prize-awarding organisations were established: the Karolinska Institutet on 7 June, the Swedish Academy on 9 June, and the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences on 11 June. The Nobel Foundation reached an agreement on guidelines for how the prizes should be awarded, and in 1900, the Nobel Foundation's newly-created statutes were promulgated by King Oscar II. In 1905, the Union between Sweden and Norway was dissolved. Thereafter Norway's Nobel Committee remained responsible for awarding the Nobel Peace Prize and the Swedish institutions retained responsibility for the other prizes.

The Nobel Foundation

The Nobel Foundation was founded as a private organisation on 29 June 1900, to manage the finances and administration of the Nobel Prizes. In accordance with Nobel's will, the primary task of the Foundation is to manage the fortune Nobel left. Another important task of the Nobel Foundation is to market the prizes internationally and to oversee informal administration related to the prizes. The Foundation is not involved in the process of selecting the Nobel laureates. In many ways the Nobel Foundation is similar to an investment company, in that it invests Nobel's money to create a solid funding base for the prizes and the administrative activities. The Nobel Foundation is exempt from all taxes in Sweden (since 1946) and from investment taxes in the United States (since 1953).

Nobel Peace Prize

The highest honor awarded to peace maker is the Nobel Prize in Peace, awarded since 1901 by the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences. It is awarded annually to notable peacemakers and visionaries who have overcome violence, conflict or oppression through their moral leadership, those who have "done the most or the best work for fraternity between the nations". This means that these are the people who risk their lives in order to save people from evils that the world has brought upon us, or do anything else in order to make the world a better place for any living being that is living in it.

The Nobel Peace Prize is one of the five Nobel Prizes bequeathed by the Swedish industrialist and inventor Alfred Nobel. According to Nobel's will, the Peace Prize should be awarded 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”

Some of the past Nobel laureates included the following reputable and worthy peace makers, a full list however can obtained from the Nobel Foundation website.

Martin Luther King Jr.

Mother Teresa

Lech Walesa

Aung San Suu Kyi

Mikhail Sergeyevich Gorbachev

Nelson Mandela, Frederik Willem de Klerk

What is peace?

The word "peace" comes from the Greek word eirene, the Greek equivalent for the Hebrew word shalom, which expresses the idea of wholeness, completeness, or tranquility in the soul that is unaffected by the outward circumstances or pressures. The word eirene strongly suggests the rule of order in place of chaos. When a person is dominated by peace, he has a calm, inner stability that results in the ability to conduct himself peacefully, even in the midst of circumstances that would normally be very nerve-wracking, traumatic, or upsetting...Rather than allowing the difficulties and pressures of life to break him, a person who is possessed by peace is whole, complete, orderly, stable, and poised for blessing. (Sparkling Gems from the Greek, Rick Renner)

"Peace is not the absence of conflict, but the presence of God no matter what the conflict." -Anonymous

Chinese word for peace is "和平"(hépíng), "和"or He which means harmony,calm. "平" or Ping which means balance, equality. The Han character of "和",is the combination of 禾 & 口. "口"is a mouth, "禾" which means rice plant. The meaning of peace(和平) to Chinese is simple, harmony and fairness, which is derived from a mouthful of rice for each citizen. The national agenda of the Chinese government from ancient time to modern time is always the same, to feed the large population with the same mouthful of rice equally; which comprising the political wisdom of equality and self sufficiency. When there is no hungry people, there will be peace, and no war. The priority of China is food sufficiency(和), stability, harmony(和), fairness & Equality(平), that may not mean political liberty to a communist country ...... So to Chinese, their philosophy of peace is stability, harmony, fairness, and food sufficiency.

The critic of Nobel Peace Prize

Among other criticisms, the Nobel Committees have been accused of having a political agenda, and of omitting more deserving candidates. They have also been accused of Eurocentrism. This is especially true for the Literature Prize. But Nobel Peace Prize is more controversial than Nobel Literature Prize.

A major criticism of the peace-prize is the regular failure to award individuals with widely recognized contributions to peace. In 2009 Foreign Policy magazine listed Mohandas Gandhi, Eleanor Roosevelt, Václav Havel, Ken Saro-Wiwa, Sari Nusseibeh, Corazon Aquino and Liu Xiaobo as people who "never won the prize, but should have". Liu Xiaobo has since been awarded the award in 2010. Other notable omissions that have drawn criticism include Pope John Paul II and Dorothy Day. It was widely reported that Irena Sendler had been nominated for the 2007 prize, which was jointly won by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change and Al Gore.
The omission of Mahatma Gandhi has been particularly widely discussed, including in public statements by various members of the Nobel Committee. The Committee has confirmed that Gandhi was nominated in 1937, 1938, 1939, 1947 and, finally, a few days before his death in January 1948. The omission has been publicly regretted by later members of the Nobel Committee. In 1948, the year of Gandhi's death, the Nobel Committee declined to award a prize on the ground that "there was no suitable living candidate" that year. Later, when the Dalai Lama was awarded the Peace Prize in 1989, the chairman of the committee said that this was "in part a tribute to the memory of Mahatma Gandhi". Is Dalai Lama the same status as Mahatma Gandhi?, awarded Nobel peace Prize to Dalai Lama as a tribute to the memory of Mahatma Gandhi was an insult to him. Dalai Lama with his historical past in feudal Tibet, is incomparable to Mahatma Gandhi, who is the symbol and Guru of Peace for the world citizen. Dalai Lama is merely a religion leader and political leader with a questionable past.

Other high profile individuals with widely recognized contributions to peace have been missed out. As well as Gandhi, Foreign Policy lists Eleanor Roosevelt, Václav Havel, Ken Saro-Wiwa, Sari Nusseibeh and Corazon Aquino as people who "never won the prize, but should have."

One of the controversial Peace Prizes was the 2009 Nobel Peace Prize awarded to Barack Obama. Nominations had closed only eleven days after Obama took office as President, but the actual evaluation occurred over the next eight months. Obama himself stated that he did not feel he deserved the award, and that he did not feel worthy of the company the award would place him in. Past winners of the Peace Prize were divided, some saying that Obama deserved the award, and others saying he had not yet earned it. Obama's award, along with the previous Peace Prizes for Jimmy Carter and Al Gore, prompted accusations of a left-wing bias. This was the Nobel Peace Prize for global joke, with clear political agenda.

Among the most criticised Nobel Peace Prizes was the one awarded to Henry Kissinger and Lê Ðức Thọ, who later declined the prize. This led to two Norwegian Nobel Committee members resigning. Kissinger and Thọ were awarded the prize for negotiating a ceasefire between North Vietnam and the United States in January 1973. However, when the award was announced hostilities still occurred from both sides. Many critics were of the opinion that Kissinger was not a peace-maker but the opposite; responsible for widening the war.

Yasser Arafat, Shimon Peres, and Yitzhak Rabin received the Peace Prize in 1994 for their efforts in making peace between Israel and Palestine. According to journalist Caroline Frost many issues, such as the plight of Palestinian refugees, had not been addressed and no lasting peace was established between Israel and Palestine. Immediately after the award was announced one of the five Norwegian Nobel Committee members denounced Arafat as a terrorist and resigned. Additional misgivings about Arafat were widely expressed in various newspapers. The prize did not bring peace to Palestine, the conflict still continue until today, where is peace?....

(source: mainly extract from wikipedia)

Nobel Peace Prize remain the most controversial, the reputation as the highest award for peace has faded and less regard by the global citizen. Many times the committee may not understand the meaning of peace, which must be neutral without any political, religion and racial bias. It was accused of Eurocentrism. Can it be the global award? Or merely European award?

Many time it was tinted with political intention. Nobel Peace Prize bring more controversial, not qualified as peace award. This award was only given by Norway and Swedish ideal of peace, or the western ideal for peace…. Not the global peace award…..Is it time the Nobel Foundation going global and with membership consist of global citizen?...... Did the nominee committee understand the intention of Nobel, who was armaments manufacturer, a dynamite inventor. His purpose of the Nobel Peace Prize was to award the prize to a worthy person who promote peace, especially global peace(the best work for fraternity between nations), abolition and reduction of standing armies, promotion for peace congresses….This was the most value prize that Nobel cherish, as it related to his personal background of armaments manufacturing, a peace that he so desperately looking for….

If it is given for political reason; it is not Nobel Peace Prize, but Nobel Politic Prize. Nobel Peace Prize is also not Nobel Human Right Prize; nor Nobel Opposition Prize, not Nobel Democracy Prize, it is not Nobel Dissident Prize. Nobel will never want to involve in political ideology which normally create conflicts and wars. He will never want to discredit a nation by using Nobel Peace Prize as a tool.

What is the purpose of Nobel Peace Prize? is it for the peace of the world? or for the political development of the world, following the definition of peace by the selection committee?......The political system of the country is for the people of the said country to decide, not other people, not even the foreign institutions or leaders...any intentional involvement of the external parties,into the affairs of the country, without the consent of the people of the said country, is the source of conflict and war, not peace. Only the people of the country can decide their future, their political system, they have the right to say "No" to the external influence; that is the meaning of liberty, the ability to say "No" under undue pressure. The ability to scarify little personal freedom to achieve peace for the country and other people. that is the effort of peace....

As it is Nobel Peace Prize; Mahatma Gandhi, Mother Teresa, Corazon Aquino, Aung San Suu Kyi, these are the right person to award the prize, who are accepted by people of the world….. a peace maker…..the person who practice peace and use it as a way to bring peace to people.

If there is no worthy recipient, please do not award to anyone … a respect to Nobel’s last wish.

“ ...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 reminder to Nobel Peace Prize Nomination Committee, "Peace describes a society or a relationship that is operating harmoniously and without violent conflict. Peace is commonly understood as the absence of hostility, or the existence of healthy or newly healed interpersonal or international relationships, safety in matters of social or economic welfare, the acknowledgment of equality and fairness in political relationships".

In international relations, peacetime is the absence of any war or conflict. The study of peace also involves the causes for its absence or loss. These potential causes include: insecurity, social injustice, economic inequality, political and religious radicalism, and acute racism and nationalism.

Another issue is will democracy ensure peace?; will liberty ensure peace? .....some of today's most violent country are from democratic country; are liberal country with freedom, where even guns can be easily obtained, did the country produce peace?. Some religion country promote war. Democracy, demon go crazy when there is no peace, which provide room for more military dictators. Singapore has less liberty according to some critic, but under a responsible government, it is better than many liberal countries. It is peaceful and developed. How did the Nobel Prize Selection Committee define peace?

Will Liu Xiaobo has peace to come personally to receive the Nobel Peace Prize? Will China has the confident to allow the dissident Nobel Awardee to travel to Oslo? Will the award bring peace or rather democracy, human right, liberty to China in future? or will it bring political chaos or more control in China?.......(Note: the blogger is neutral on 2010 award). Will Nobel Peace Prize bring real peace to China? or turning China into westernized country according to Western ideal?.....or will it bring improvement to human right, and better treatment for all political prisoners in China?...we may ask China to free political prisoners, but is there any political prisoner in the west? we must differentiate political prisoners and criminal prisoners, however some political prisoner may become criminal terrorist....will the Nobel peace prize lead to release of peaceful political prisoners?....we hope for the positive in China. The change from communism to democracy is for Chinese citizen to decide, not outsiders, not Nobel Peace Prize......Chinese people have enjoy much freedom, have enjoy better standard of living than many democratic countries; it is only they are having different political system, different tolerance level to dissidents and opposition views....

May be it is the Chinese people, the ordinary citizen who deserve the Nobel Peace Price; their spirit to excel and improve the economy, and to maintain stability of the country, where every people have a bowl of rice to eat in China. The heavy task on them to be self sufficiency, and improve their standard of life......despite some limitation of political freedom... but they are able to maintain peace....rather than political chaos....

Best wishes to China.....

Congratulation , Liu Xiaobo.....

"Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid." (John 14:27)"

Gandhi Peace Prize

There is another peace award, Gandhi Peace Prize, named after a peace maker worthy of Nobel Peace Prize but was never awarded, despite numerous nomination. The Peace Prize from Asia.

The International Gandhi Peace Prize, named after Mahatma Gandhi, is awarded annually by the Government of India. It is launched as a tribute to the ideals espoused by Gandhi in 1995 on the occasion of the 125th anniversary of his birth. This is an annual award given to individuals and institutions for their contributions towards social, economic and political transformation through non-violence and other Gandhian methods. The award carries Rs. 10 million in cash, convertible in any currency in the world, a plaque and a citation. It is open to all persons regardless of nationality, race, creed or sex.

Will it become an alternative to Nobel Peace Prize, and suppressed them for a more meaningful peace prize, without political biased?. But sad to say the last award was in 2005. May be since 2005, there is no one worthy of the award?....

They shall beat their swords into plowshares and their spears into pruning hooks;
nation shall not lift up sword against nation,
neither shall they learn war any more.
(Isaiah 2:4)

Related articles/websites
1. The Nobel Peace Prize 2010,
2. Nobel Prize,
3. Nobel Peace Prize,
4. Nobel Laureate Liu Xiaobo weeps at prize honoring Tiananmen dead,
5. The Gandhi Peace Award;

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