Know who any of these guys are? Ever hear of any of them?
Charles Gobat – Ernesto Moneta – Alfred Fried – Fridtjof Nansen – Arthur Henderson – John Mott – Arthur Lutuli – David Trimble
Can’t say that you have? Well, they’re all men, aren’t they? How about a woman? Okay, let’s throw in Betty Williams? You know her, don’t you?
They’re all Nobel Peace Prize winners. Every one of them. Sure, some of them won their Prize many years ago, but not David Trimble. He won the Prize in 1998. Almost yesterday, and he’s English too. Looks like us. Speaks our language. But you don’t know who he is or who they are. Some prize, huh? Really important. Marks a man’s life forever, right? Hey, it is the Nobel Peace Prize.
How much do you know about the 2008 Nobel Peace Prize winner, Martti Ahtisaari? Not much? Maybe nothing at all? Ahtisaari, who’s from Finland, was the key negotiator in the Namibian independence agreement from South Africa in 1990. In 1999, Ahtisaari was credited with convincing the Serbian leadership to call it quits in Kosovo. And six years later, in 2005, he successfully negotiated a settlement between Indonesia and the rebels in Aceh Province. He won the Nobel Prize – now you know why - and you’ve still never heard of him.
Perhaps you are familiar with these men - Henry Kissinger and Le Duc Tho. Who hasn’t heard of the likes of Russia’s Gorbachev, the Israelis Rabin and Peres, and of course Palestinian leader Yassir Arafat? A fine group of dictators, terrorists, insurrectionists, warmongers… even an international war criminal in this bunch. Surely none of them could be a Nobel Peace Prize winner. It is a "peace" prize. Right? Wrong. They all are. Everyone’s a winner. And only Le Duc Tho, from North Vietnam, had the good manners and common decency to decline the honor.
So, what’s the “Big Deal” about Barack Obama winning the Nobel Peace Prize this year? The Golden Globes are just around the corner. Can the Oscars be far behind? Don’t they have something called the Teen Spirit Award? Doesn't country music have some kind of winners? When is the Miss America Pageant?