Since 1975 in every year ending with the number “5,” the Nobel Peace Prize has gone to a group dedicated to eradicating the world of nuclear weapons. Considering that this usually coincides with the fact that such years coincide with some anniversary of the Hiroshima and Nagasaki bombings, this should not be a surprise. This year, there are about five such groups on the suspected list of nominees. But, this could and should be the year that this coincidental trend ends. According to most accounts, there are six primary other nominees under serious consideration that do not involve nuclear non-proliferation, so the nuclear groups will not be considered for purposes of this article. My personal choice is Ayaan Hirsi-Ali, but I am realistic and know she would never be nominated or seriously considered. A group that awards a Nobel Peace Prize to the likes of Al Gore and Barack Obama would never seriously consider someone who speaks real truth to power. But, on to the short list by most accounts in reverse order of preference and probability:
Edward Snowden: Living in exile in Russia, this former low level operative in the NSA created a controversy by exposing he extent of NSA spying efforts in the war on terror. If you are going to give the award to this traitor then you should also seriously consider Bradley “Call Me Chelsea” Manning, who was also nominated. While he may have stirred a debate over surveillance to catch terrorists in an increasingly dangerous and sophisticated world and how it potentially conflicts with civil liberties, the fact remains he is an American traitor. In the aftermath of 9/11, the government’s intelligence agencies came under severe attack for not connecting the dots. When the tools were given to connect the dots, they are taken away and a traitor becomes the patron saint of civil liberties. Also left out of the discussion is the reaction by some about the government collecting this information, yet nary a word when your ISP does the same, then sells your information to data mining companies. I guess we are more accepting of coupons in our spam folder than we are of national security.
Iraq Body Count- This group was founded in 2003 after the US invasion that toppled the regime of Saddam Hussein. While civilian deaths are unfortunate, no military action by anyone in the entire history of mankind was without civilian casualties. Documenting and chronicling them is now worthy of a Nobel Peace Prize? Iraq Body Count should go back a little further and also count how many Iraqi citizens were killed, raped, tortured, gassed and otherwise repressed by Hussein and include those in their “body count.” Hopefully, but doubtful, they are also documenting the many civilians executed or otherwise killed by Muslim extremists like ISIS. But, never mind- that is all the fault of George W. Bush.
Pope Francis- As a practicing Catholic, I have nothing against this Pope as long as he sticks to religious issues. It is when he drifts into discussions of social justice and the environment when his message goes a little askew. Some could rightfully count some of his comments as critical of capitalism. Yet, capitalism has raised more people out of a life of misery in a shorter period of time than any other economic system. In fact, it will be the tools of capitalism which will solve any alleged environmental problem, not socialist tinkering. Every Pope has endorsed ideas of social justice since it is an underpinning of the teachings of Jesus Christ. In that regard, I fail to see how Pope Francis is breaking any new ground in this area.
Denis Mukwege- I know- who? Dr. Mukwege is a Congolese doctor and gynecologist who has brought the world’s attention to an ugly fact often ignored by the press. Namely, I am speaking of the ugly practice of the gang rape of innocent females. This soft-spoken doctor has quietly gone about the sorrowful business of helping these innocent women rebuild their lives, let alone their ravaged internal sexual organs. This is one of those under-the-radar potential nominees who could bring the world’s attention to something we would rather ignore. While feminists here in the United States talk about an alleged “war on women,” perhaps they should be focusing on a real war on innocent women.
Mussie Zerai- I know- another who? Zerai is a Catholic priest who, like Mukwege, quietly goes about his business while the world turns the other way. Christians in sub-Sahara Africa- especially in Nigeria and surrounding countries- have a bulls eye on their backs as groups like Boko Harem regularly target them for unspeakable atrocities. From ethnic cleansing to gang rapes and mass executions, these are almost a daily fact of life for Christians living in Africa. Father Zerai is at the center of protecting these people with his life as he tries to help them emigrate to Europe. These are true refugees who live in fear because they happen to believe in the teachings of Jesus Christ. He has probably done more practical good for these people than all the countries of the world put together.
Novaya Gazeta– This is a Russian newspaper highly critical of Vladimir Putin and his policies. A Nobel Prize would throw additional light on the Putin regime’s suppression of a free press. Then again, we are talking about Putin here- a man who guns down opposition leaders in the streets when he is not poisoning them while he invades neighboring countries as the world looks on. It would be too much to ask of the Nobel committee to consider a publication like Charlie Hebdo since the committee members might find their heads on the wrong end of a machete. But, Novaya Gazeta would be the next best thing to affirming freedom of the press not only in Europe, but the world. In an era when rights enshrined in our First Amendment are under serious attack, this would be a nice reminder and reiteration of freedoms we largely take for granted, but which we today in America see under attack.