Skip to main content

The Politics of Peace


Today I've been watching the coverage of President Obama's acceptance of the Nobel Peace Prize in Oslo, Norway. I watched as he attempted to explain why a leader in wartime can simultaneously be working toward peace. I nodded my head as he acknowledged that he casts a short shadow standing next to former great recipients of the Nobel Peace Prize who received it after they'd accomplished something worthy of the prize rather than in anticipation of greatness as seems to be the case with Mr. Obama. I watched as Mr. and Mrs. Obama stood on the balcony waving to the parading crowds below and thought that they looked like royalty, a foreign concept to most Americans conception of their political leaders.

Yesterday, in the First Read newsletter, Chuck Todd of MSNBC compiled a revealing list of the other candidates for the Nobel Peace Prize this year. Included among the group was a familiar name: Greg Mortenson founder of the Central Asia Institute, whose book Three Cups of Tea introduced all of us to his valiant efforts to build schools, especially to educate young girls, throughout Afghanistan. Greg Mortenson has a new book coming out: Stones into Schools which continues the chronicle of his school building efforts in Afghanistan and Pakistan.

When I read that Greg Mortenson had been considered for the Nobel Peace Prize and instead it had been given to President Obama, it gave me pause to consider the intended  purpose of the Peace Prize versus its actual use. There is probably no greater award in the world that carries more gravitas than the Noble Peace Prize and in the past it has been given to men and women who after years of hard work, often in life threatening conditions, have made a difference in the lives of the most desperate. Greg Mortenson certainly fits criteria and I would bet that one generation from now, when the young girls he has provided schools for are grown women, we will see a greater impact on Afghan society than any war effort. On the other hand, I am at a loss to understand what humanitarian accomplishment Mr. Obama was being honored for, what civil society cause he has risked his life for? To say that he is being given the award in anticipation of what he will do in the future seems like a stick disguised as a carrot. 'Here's your treat, now let's see if you can form your foreign policy in a way that pleases us.'

And then there's that $1.4 million dollar award that comes with the prize. I wonder how many schools for young girls in Afghanistan that would have built? By my rough calculations of $20,000 per school, $1.4 million would have built 70 new schools. I wonder what good cause Mr. Obama will put his prize money toward, and will it have the same lasting impact as those 70 schools for girls?

Comments

larramiefg said…
Well...I'm afraid it's all political. *sigh*
Anonymous said…
well said...
Beth said…
definitely well said!

Popular posts from this blog

Women are Highly Esteemed in the Eyes of This Man

I enter the sanctuary of Our Lady of Peace Church and my eyes adjust to the dimmed lights as the only illumination comes from candles on the altar and their glowing reflection in the monstrance holding the Blessed Sacrament.
My friend and I had come to join the Mary and Martha’s quarterly meeting which started with an hour of Adoration.
I took my seat in one of the pews, knelt, and surreptitiously glanced around the sanctuary. In the gloaming, I could see thirty other women kneeling like sentinels in silent prayer. 
Over the course of the hour, we would remain in contemplative silence.
As I slipped in and out of my prayers and wandering thoughts, I considered how pleased God must be when he sees us gathered in the simple and divine act of Adoration.
But in fact, women are highly esteemed in God’s sight not matter where we are. 
We only look at the life of Jesus Christ to understand how dearly he cherishes every woman.
In the Gospel of Saint John, a group of men bring a woman caught i…

When our spirit hungers

The precocious toddler’s interest in talking to her mother grew in insistence as the gathered group settled in for an hour of silent prayer. Shushing didn’t work, so the mother led her child into an adjoining room where she would still be part of the sanctuary, but sound would be dampened. Despite the closed door and heavy glass walls, the child’s fervent desire to speak with her mother was still audible.
I said a prayer for the patient mother determined to stay, and for the child who was either tired or hungry or impatient for Mom’s undivided attention. And then tried to bring my wandering thoughts back to prayer. I had come to Adoration with my own pressing need for answers.
Over the past few weeks I’ve noticed a growing emptiness in my heart. A void, as if something is missing. It’s not psychological. Not physical. After doing an internal check, I determined it’s a spiritual void that I’m experiencing.
No, I’m not doubting God, his existence or goodness. I have full confidence in…

If you are tired of the guilt trip you usually feel at church, here’s a different perspective

I am counting the days until I fly to Fort Lauderdale to see Mom for Christmas. Yes, I speak with her every day, sometimes twice a day. But as you know, phone calls just aren’t the same as being with someone you love. I look forward to seeing Mom’s smile, to holding her hand, to going for a drive along the beach with her. Spending time in the presence of someone we love enriches our relationship with them.
I believe the love I feel for Mom, is a sliver of what God feels for each of us. I believe God longs to share that love with us. Which is why we are called to spend time in God’s presence daily. We experience God’s presence when we meet him in our prayers, in church, and hopefully in one another. If I could make one wish for each of us, it would be that at some point during the next four weeks of Advent we would experience how much Jesus loves us.



The Best Christmas

During my morning devotions, I read these two verses of Psalm 117:
Praise theLord,all you nations;
extol him, all you peop…