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The Noble Peace Prize 2021

So it is the day for the Noble Peace Prize, December 10th.  Each year I wait to see who win's the great award.  This year... wait for it...  Maria Ressa and Dmitry Muratov for their efforts to safeguard freedom of expression; that's right, that thing that allows me to blog to you a few times a week... well, at least in theory, for if I were to tell you how I really feel about things... wait, I do... silly me, we are lucky to still have our freedoms that they don't in countries like the Philippines and of course, Donald Trumps: Russia. 

Ressa, 58, a former CNN bureau chief in the Philippines, and Rappler, the news site she founded in 2012, have faced multiple criminal charges and investigations after publishing stories critical of President Rodrigo Duterte and his bloody drugs war.  Yet, she keeps writing. 

And, equally as impressive, the other winner, Muratov is the founder and editor-in-chief of Novaya Gazeta, one of Russia’s last big newspapers to regularly criticize President Vladimir Putin, and which has reported extensively on government corruption in the country.

Both of these journalist are fighting against governments that use lies and fake news to keep in power... sound familiar?  Yes, like our very own Fox News. 

Okay, here's some fun facts about the Nobel Prize:

The award, given every year on December 10, is supposed to recognize the very best in human accomplishment in various fields of endeavor.  Giants like Einstein, Mandela, Churchill, and Curie have all been named Nobel laureates.  But so have some vastly less deserving fold who, by virtue of winning the Nobel, gave the prestigious prize a bit of a black eye.  Among them:

Fritz Haber

  Fritz Haber, 1918, chemistry, for the synthesis of ammonia from nitrogen in the air.  Thanks to Haber's discovery, which allowed for the development of industrial fertilizers, the world became far better fed.  Yet this immensely beneficial contribution to mankind was made well before World War I, by which time the chemist was redirecting his creative energy toward something his own wife condemned as "perversion of the ideals of science" and  "a sign of barbarity, corruption the very discipline which ought to bring new insights into life" -- the annihilation of Germany's enemies on the battlefield with poisonous gas.

Antonio Egas Moniz

Antonio Egas Moniz, 1949, medicine, for pioneering the lobotomy.  Besides the fact that this radical brain procedure turned many patients -- including President John F. Kennedy's sister Rosemary-- into near zombies, there was nothing particularly inventive about the drilling holes into the skull and shoving in an instrument to disable the frontal lobes.  n fact, it was kind of medieval-- not like, say, creating the artificial heart (a feat for which Robert Jarvik was egregiously overlooked by the Nobel committee).  And when a place as oppressive and cruel as the Soviet Union bans lobotomies as "contrary to the principles of humanity," as it did in 1950, that might be taken as an indication that this monstrous procedure was bad medicine indeed.

Yasser Arafat

 

Yasser Arafat, 1994, Peace Prize (shared with Shimon Peres and Yitzhak Rabin of Israel).  Yes, it's true that one man's terrorist is another man's freedom fighter.  And certainly the Palestinian people have had plenty of legitimate beefs with Israel.  Yet when the massacre of innocents--coupled with hijackings, kidnappings, political assassinations, and other mayhem--becomes the paramount means to an end, as it did for the Palestinian leader, it tends to make a mockery of the Nobel Peace Prize--especially considering the fact that Mahatma Gandhi was never awarded one.

Myron Scholes

 

Myron Scholes and Robert Merton, 1997, economics.  Less than a year after receiving their prize, "for a new method to determine the value of derivatives," as the Nobel announcement read, the laureates' esteemed hedge fund, Long-Term Capital Management, lost $4 billion in six weeks.
(Bad Days in History, Farquhar, Michael).

(See this year's 2021 winners here.)

No conversation of the Nobel Peace Prize is complete without mentioning the year 1978.  For that is the year President Jimmy Carter somehow got Mohamed Anwar al-Sadat and  Menachem Begin together to talk and Egypt became the first Arab country to officially recognize the state of Israel. In return Egypt gained control of the Sinai PeninsulaMohamed Anwar al-Sadat and  Menachem Begin
both shared the Nobel Peace Prize that year.  It was one of the few serious hopes for peace I have seen in my lifetime.  But then....


On 6 October 1981, Sadat was assassinated during the annual victory parade held in Cairo to celebrate Egypt's crossing of the Suez Canal 

 The assassination squad was led by Lieutenant Khalid Islambouli after a fatwā (death sentence) was approved by Omar Abdel-Rahman, "The Blind Sheikh," an Egyptian Muslim leader who was arrested and convicted for the first World Trade Center bombing in February 1993. 

And of course, how can we forget 2009 when President Obama was awarded the prize for his extraordinary efforts to strengthen international diplomacy and cooperation between peoples.  Well, that's what they said, truth is it was his award for finally giving us a president of color in the most powerful nation on the planet and the hopes that presented... unfortunately the backlash was Donald Trump which given us the first terrorist attach on a US Government State since the war of 1812 when the British burned our capital. 



Comparing Louis XIV with Donald Trump.

  I'm not one to make a mountain out of a molehill, but I have to wonder about the Sun.  According to a CNN Science article, &qu...

Thanks For Being!

Thanks For Being!