At this time of year, the Nobel prizes are announced. One of the most interesting, and the most controversial, is the Peace Prize. It has been awarded mostly annually to those who have “done the most or the best work for fraternity between nations, for the abolition or reduction of standing armies and for the holding and promotion of peace congresses”
What makes this interesting to me is that the Norwegian inventor, Alfred Nobel developed dynamite, and owned an arms factory. Granted, the original purpose of dynamite was to produce a safer explosive for industrial use but to have someone who manufactured arms create a peace prize is odd, to say the least. Many believe it was his friendship with the prominent Austrian pacifist Bertha von Suttner inspired him to establish the prize for peace, but no one knows for sure.
As a Quaker, I am proud that the American Friends Service Committee received the award for their work in rebuilding Europe after World War II. Other well deserved winners have been those like the Red Cross, Amnesty International, Nelson Mandela Jimmy Carter, Malala Yousafzai, and the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons, who received the award in 2017.
However, the Peace Prize has also been controversial, both for the people who have received it, and those who have not. For instance, Gandhi never received the prize, though Martin Luther King Jr. did, as one who followed his ways. Many feel Eleanor Roosevelt should have received the prize, but she did not.
Some who seem odd choices to me are Theodore Roosevelt, Henry Kissinger, and Mikhail Gorbachev. It has not been disclosed how the committee decides on who gets the prize.
Controversial or not, it is good to celebrate peace. May we always work towards that in our world.
Quotes by Nobel and others about peace
My dynamite will sooner lead to peace than a thousand world conventions. As soon as men will find that in one instant, whole armies can be utterly destroyed, they surely will abide by golden peace.–Alfred Nobel
I intend to leave after my death a large fund for the promotion of the peace idea, but I am skeptical as to its results.–Alfred Nobel
Good wishes alone will not ensure peace.–Alfred Nobel
For my part, I wish all guns with their belongings and everything could be sent to hell, which is the proper place for their exhibition and use.–Alfred Nobel
The arms race can kill, though the weapons themselves may never be used…by their cost alone, armaments kill the poor by causing them to starve.–Vatican statement to the U.N., 1976
Every gun that is made, every warship launched, every rocket fired signifies, in the final sense, a theft from those who hunger and are not fed, those who are cold and are not clothed. This world in arms is not spending money alone. It is spending the sweat of its laborers, the genius of its scientists, the hopes of its children… This is not a way of life at all, in any true sense. Under the cloud of threatening war, it is humanity hanging from a cross of iron.–Dwight David Eisenhower
For it isn’t enough to talk about peace. One must believe it. And it isn’t enough to believe in it. One must work at it.–Eleanor Roosevelt
If we are to have peace on earth, our loyalties must become ecumenical rather than sectional. Our loyalties must transcend our race, our tribe, our class, and our nation; and this means we must develop a world perspective.–Martin Luther King, Jr.
Mankind must put an end to war, or war will put an end to mankind… War will exist until that distant day when the conscientious objector enjoys the same reputation and prestige that the warrior does today.–John F. Kennedy
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