Adolf Hitler was nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize by an antifascist. President Obama received the Nobel Peace Prize before he had accomplished anything as President of the United States of America. Gandhi was nominated but never received the prize
The Nobel Peace Prize has a mixed-bag history. Nobel intended the prize to go to someone who had done the most to bridge nations and reduce the presence of armies in the world. But sometimes it seems this prize was a political stick.
Take the 1973 prize, for example. We all know how the Vietnam war turned out. Nobody won. We left the place a sordid mess of toxic napalm and bastard children. And yet, the 1973 Peace Prize went to U.S. Secretary of State Henry Kissinger and Vietnamese politician Le Duc Tho.
Tho wisely declined the prize. He understood the absurdity of the move and wanted nothing to do with false recognition.
Is The Prize a Joke?
Is the prize a joke? After Obama’s nomination and decoration, conservative pundits shat on the award. And for good reason.
Sure, Barack Obama was the first black President. This gave minorities a voice in America they had never known. This was an honorable and beautiful thing.
And it’s true, he promised an era of peace. He promised to reduce armies and close Guantanamo. And he tried. But the prize wasn’t about promises but action. And Obama ultimately failed at bringing about what he’d promised. Guantanamo is still open and torturing people. We’re still in Afghanistan. And the world isn’t much safer than it was when Obama entered office.
Disparate Examples Are Poor Representation
Pointing to disparate nominations isn’t the best way to characterize a prize. These prizes only represent a small fraction of the 99 prizes awarded.
Martin Luther King Jr., Nelson Mandela, Mother Teresa, Jimmy Carter, Teddy Roosevelt. Nobody could argue that these people deserve don’t deserve the prize they received. And you can’t argue that the prize always goes to powerful individuals. Mother Teresa never accepted a position of authority. MLK Jr. served his people and worked hard for liberation.
We’re coming up on another Nobel Peace Prize announcement on October 11 of 2019. Nominees are cropping up. One such nominee is Raoni Metuktire. Here’s who he is and why he’s been nominated.
The Chief Who’s Trying to Save The World
News cycles feel like IRL chicken little scenarios. A headline bursts onto the stage declaring the immanent skyfall. Social medialites shout “The sky is falling!” Half the internet freaks out. And then we move onto the next skyfall event.
Bolsonaro’s burning of the Brazilian Rainforest felt similar. And now it’s mostly disappeared from social media. People care for a moment and then move on with their lives.
A few people in this world haven’t moved on. Why? Because this disaster is real and it’s threatening their very existence.
Chief Raoni of the Kayapo is one of those voices. He’s actively seeking global support to combat the Brazilian president’s torturous landgrab. He’s seeking to bring his own tribe’s indigenous struggle in Brazil to the foreground.
And now a group of environmentalist and anthropologists have nominated him to receive the Nobel Peace Prize for 2019. They’re seeking to make him a living symbol of the fight for the rainforest and for indigenous people in the Amazon.
Will he win? It would mean a fund of $1 million to help his cause. It would mean global recognition. And it might mean forcing Bolsanaro to recognize his own involvement in the destruction of a valuable world asset.
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