The Nobel Peace Prize in a Time of War
October 6, 2003 10:46 AM   Subscribe

What do the pope, Bono, former Illinois Gov. George Ryan, and Michael Jackson have in common? They're all part of one of the weakest Nobel Peace Prize slates in history. Peace has been a commodity in such short supply recently that a Norwegian researcher has commented that "no political leaders have distinguished themselves in ways deserving of the prize." Another commentator said this time last year that the committee would send the strongest message to the world by selecting nobody.
posted by PrinceValium (28 comments total)
 
(In essence, of course, selecting nobody was precisely what happened last year: Many thought that the selection of Jimmy Carter was as much a protest vote against George W. Bush as it was a recognition of Carter's work.)
posted by PrinceValium at 10:51 AM on October 6, 2003


I think that all of U2 should be recognized, not just Bono. What would Bono's impassioned pleas for peace be without the soaring guitar riffs of the Edge?
posted by UKnowForKids at 10:57 AM on October 6, 2003


What would Bono's impassioned pleas for peace be without the soaring guitar riffs of the Edge?

Chumbawumba? (rimshot)
posted by stifford at 11:04 AM on October 6, 2003


selecting nobody was precisely what happened last year

PV, I'm confused - while I'm with you on the whole "Carter selection protest against Bush" thing, I'm not sure how you can draw the conclusion that selecting Carter = selecting Nobody. I think you'd be hard pressed to find anyone who said that Carter didn't deserve the prize - he's one of the few Americans (perhaps the only living American) who has been so consistently and forthrightly in the forefront of promoting peaceful conflict resolution.

Plus he's, what, 78 or 79? It would have been a shame for him to have to die to get the award.
"In a situation currently marked by threats of the use of power, Carter has stood by the principles that conflicts must as far as possible be resolved through mediation and international cooperation based on international law, respect for human rights and economic development." ::source::
posted by anastasiav at 11:12 AM on October 6, 2003


If you want to talk about a real award=no award scenario, consider the fact that various UN agencies have between them five Nobel (plus awards for at least two secretary-generals). Now, the UN does good work, but giving the prize to the UN is like giving the prize to the nobel commitee.

anastasiav - Dead people can't win the Nobel. That's why Gandhi still doesn't have one.
posted by kickingtheground at 11:21 AM on October 6, 2003


I don't disagree that Carter's work deserves to be recognized, but if the prize was intended purely as a slap to Bush, it cheapens his award. Better to have given him the prize earlier or later so the award could have stood wholly on Carter's own achievements.
posted by PrinceValium at 11:22 AM on October 6, 2003


What would Bono's impassioned pleas for peace be without the soaring guitar riffs of the Edge?

Umm... to be picky, there was that whole trip to Africa and mettings with the Pope, Jesse Helms, Donald Rumsfeld, and others to promote debt relief. He's not up for the prize just because he sang "Pride."

Although he should be.
posted by XQUZYPHYR at 11:24 AM on October 6, 2003


Dead people can't win the Nobel. That's why Gandhi still doesn't have one.

My understanding of the rules is that if you die between nomination and selection you are still eligible. Put another way - you can only nominate living persons, but a dead person can win if they were alive when they were nominated.

But I freely admit I could be very wrong.
posted by anastasiav at 11:26 AM on October 6, 2003


Bono came here to Nebraska, in the middle of nowhere, and spoke at a small church a few blocks from here. He's been busy. Give'em his props.
posted by RavinDave at 11:32 AM on October 6, 2003


I just happened to be reading stuff at the Nobel site before I came here to read MeFi today. anastasiav: dead people can't win the awards. Your statement used to be true, but the current rules state:
Work produced by a person since deceased shall not be considered for an award. If, however, a prizewinner dies before he has received the prize, then the prize may be presented. [Emphasis mine.]
So if you die between the announcement of the prize (in October) and the presentation (in December) you may receive it posthumously, but you may not be chosen as a winner if you die.

My other question after reading the rules is how are these candidates known? Are these just educated guesses about who the nominees may be? I ask since the rules prohibit the divulgence of those nominees (for 50 years).

BTW: There is a lot of interesting reading at the Nobel site. I would have made a front page post on it, but I'm sure it must have been linked before on many occasions.
posted by AstroGuy at 12:06 PM on October 6, 2003


Seems silly to award a prize if no one has earned it.
posted by rushmc at 12:11 PM on October 6, 2003


Over the past year I've declared war on exactly zero other nations. If no one else has managed to do any better I say give me the prize as I've obviously earned it.

(I have declared war on one rapper and a funk / jam band, but they deserved it for sucking)
posted by Space Coyote at 12:17 PM on October 6, 2003


Your statement used to be true

My bad. Thanks for setting me straight.

My other question after reading the rules is how are these candidates known? Are these just educated guesses about who the nominees may be?

To be considered eligible for an award, it is necessary to be nominated in writing by a person competent to make such a nomination.

My understanding is that people writing nomination letters sometimes leak their letters to the press, in order to get a swell of grassroots support for their candidate.

See also here.
posted by anastasiav at 12:18 PM on October 6, 2003


If Jacko ever wins a Nobel Peace Prize, I'll have to completely write off humanity as a failed experiment.
posted by KnitWit at 12:56 PM on October 6, 2003


Bono and Jacko can't win because an American won last year.
posted by donth at 12:57 PM on October 6, 2003


How do we get a write-in vote for quonsar?
posted by yhbc at 1:01 PM on October 6, 2003


umm....donth - Bono is most certainly not an American.
posted by pejamo at 1:04 PM on October 6, 2003


So if you die between the announcement of the prize (in October) and the presentation (in December) you may receive it posthumously, but you may not be chosen as a winner if you die.

E.g., William Vickrey, a recipient of the 1996 Economics Prize, died three days after his award was announced.
posted by notme at 1:10 PM on October 6, 2003


"One of the most basic principles for making and keeping peace within and between nations. . . is that in political, military, moral, and spiritual confrontations, there should be an honest attempt at the reconciliation of differences before resorting to combat."

Jimmy Carter rocks dah house. Last year was precisely the right time to give the Nobel Peace Prize to Carter, because it wasn't so much a slap in Shrub's face, as it was an acknowledgment that Jimmy has been right all along.
posted by ZachsMind at 1:21 PM on October 6, 2003


oops
posted by donth at 1:28 PM on October 6, 2003


Arafat's got one. Mr. Million Martyrs for Jerusalem himself. So'd Rabin and Peres, but then, the Nobel committee wants to take back the one they gave Peres, without mention of taking back the one for Arafat.

Kim Dae Jung got one by allegedly bribing North Korean officials.

Jimmy Carter is the hobgoblin of the left because, in the name of peace, he urged Clinton to sign the treaty with the North Koreans that they would, in turn, violated that treaty. No blame for trying though. It was a good (if failed) effort. Also, there was the who Iranian Revolution thing, that happened on his watch, and when they stormed an embassy in clear violation of that same 'international law' that I keep hearing about, he flubbed it.

It's a good award, debased by a lousy current committee.
posted by swerdloff at 1:48 PM on October 6, 2003


Bono sucks by the way. I think they should give it to Sting!

*ducking*
posted by ZachsMind at 2:16 PM on October 6, 2003


The world is a worse place because of fools like Jimmy Carter, an apologist for tyrants. He continues conflict by standing in the way of triumph of the righteous.

Hopefully Bush is never tarnished with the Nobel Peace Prize, the value of which was established when Yasser Arafat won it in 1994.
posted by paleocon at 4:20 PM on October 6, 2003


If it makes you feel any better, paleocon, I can assure you that the chances of mr. bush being "tarnished" by a Nobel are slim indeed.
posted by kickingtheground at 4:34 PM on October 6, 2003


He continues conflict by standing in the way of triumph of the righteous.

Hee hee hee...

Wait...

You're not kidding, are you?

Um... wow.
posted by nath at 6:23 PM on October 6, 2003


swerdloff - ("there was the who Iranian Revolution thing, that happened on his watch, and when they stormed an embassy in clear violation of that same 'international law' that I keep hearing about, he flubbed it.") - So (continuing in your vein of criticism about Jimmy Carter's Presidency and applying it to the Presidency of GW Bush) "there was there Sept. 11th thing that happened on his watch..."

Also, there was that little "October Surprise" incident, by now fairly well documented.

Jimmy Carter - as president - was no saint. No president is. But he has done more for peace, after his time in office, than any other U.S. president on recent history.
posted by troutfishing at 7:27 PM on October 6, 2003


>the strongest message to the world by selecting nobody.

A century of awards: no recipient nineteen times.
posted by philfromhavelock at 10:52 PM on October 6, 2003


I think the problem with Carter comes down to the definition of peace many use: The absence of international conflict.

Given that in the 20th century states killed far more of their own citizens than each others' citizens, it is open to question whether eliminating international conflict is really the most important goal. The USSR was a peace in the 1930s, when Stalin was starving and purging millions.

This notion underlies a lot of the "war liberals'" arguments this spring about the Iraq war.

Still, Carter has done a lot and he beats the heck out of a lot of recent choices.
posted by ednopantz at 7:08 AM on October 7, 2003


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