Sunday, October 25, 2009

Follow Up: I Keep Waiting for Somone to Say "Joke"

Stuff ain't cool unless it's secretive. See how it worked for Nixon? He was about as un-cool as they come until ... well, you know.

In that vein, the Nobel Peace Price nominees are kept secret for 50 years in order to avoid offending anyone ... and to respect Alfred's will, in which he ordered that the Peace Prize be the "coolest" of all prizes offered.

So we'll never know which deserving candidates really got snookered in this year's run-off for said prize. In lieu, more than one reader/friend (you know who you are) has suggested I come up with my own list. I'd never be so presumptuous as to assume I knew better ;-) but here are just a few names I might have offered if asked:

The US Military - How many lives HAS the US Military saved? Seriously, folks, is there any other entity on the planet who has actually DONE more to quell conflict? Every life is valuable - everyone is someone's son or mom. These guys are the only group on the planet willing to make the REALLY tough decisions about life - their own and those of others. If this is too big a group for ya, pick the current leaders - Gates, McChrystal, Mullen.

Ronald Reagan - Jeez, where to begin. Not only did he take the first steps to de-escalate the Cold War, he finished the job he started. He understood this had to be done from a position of power. Along the way, he left us with guiding principles that serve us well even today. "Trust but verify" would get us a lot further along with the Evil Leaders League than sending the Clinton twins for photo-ops.

The faceless, nameless, and thankless who dedicate their lives selflessly to promote peace one person at a time - Each of us knows one, but no one can see them all.

SOS Children’s Villages - In their own words, the "world's largest charity dedicated to orphaned and abandoned children"

Morgan Tsvangirai - Pick your metaphor. He put his life on the line. He went all-in. He took a leap of faith. He spoke truth to hideous power. He stood toe to toe ... and continues to do so in the most peaceful, calm manner possible.

Mordechai Vanunu - On a one-man lifelong crusade against military escalation.

Japan - For quietly fostering over 50 years of peace in Asia

Romeo Dallaire - Betcha don't know this one. Look 'em up.

Bono - If you don't know this one, your name must be Osama.

Wei Jingsheng - Oft mentioned as a candidate, and for good reason. Standing up to the People is beyond ballzy.

Helmut Kohl - Yeah, really. How quickly we forget. He accumulated and then spent incredible political capital to see through the peaceful reunification of a nation. Who'd have thought a commie police state could be turned into a beacon of democracy and capitalism in a mere decade? Who'd have thought West Germans could be convinced to effectively donate a quarter of their income for a decade or more to fund the reconstruction of the rusty East

Gerry Adams, Martin McGuinness, Ian Paisley, Hugh Smyth, Tony Blair, and Bertie Ahern - One of the world's best examples of conflict resolution, de-escalation, de-militarization, empowerment, and legitimization. They dealt with an incredibly sticky wicket with patience and trust from the grassroots up. In a scary world, they proved that, at least in some cases, there IS a way out of terrorism ... err ... I mean 'troubles.'

Gates Foundation - I'll never understand why anyone considers it novel or controversial that development creates stability creates wealth creates peace. There are too many examples to list, yet the Gates foundations is one of the few major benefactors attempting to take whole economies from zero to a stable platform for development in order to facilitate true wealth (and thus peace) creation.

Safaricom, the M-PESA, and the Safaricom Foundation - Along the lines of the above, these guys are establishing the factors of development in order to let poverty-stricken people bootstrap themselves.

The 150 (and counting) Russian Journalists murdered for speaking truth to power

OFAC - Struggling, albeit bureaucratically, but fairly successfully to cut off the lifeblood of conflict.

Rodrigo Lara Bonilla - Colombian Minister of Justice who sacrificed his life in the fight against the collapse of his country into a cartel-owned narco-state.

Virgilio Barco Vargas, C├ęsar Gaviria - Colombian politicians at a time when that was a decidedly ill-advised career choice.

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