President Joe Biden warns us the potential for Armageddon is closer than it has been in 60 years. Only a few hours later the Nobel Peace Prize is announced. It went, of course, to an imprisoned Belarusian human rights lawyer Ales Bialiatski and two human rights organizations – one Russian and one Ukrainian.
The Norwegian Nobel Committee said the intention was to promote “a vision of peace and brotherhood among nations”.
Nothing could be more important.
Timing is everything, so the organizers of the award could not have missed the fact that it was announced on the occasion of President Vladimir Putin’s 70th birthday.
There couldn’t be a better rejection of everything he stands for. As the bombs fall and the threats of nuclear response grow louder by the hour, it is all the more important that those protecting the path to peace are not overlooked. Ales Bialiatski, the imprisoned Belarusian human rights activist who received the award, has led a nearly 30-year campaign to promote freedom and democracy.
The extreme price he paid for his dedication to his cause was both remarkable and inspiring. The same goes for those who founded two organizations created to protect the truth and ensure the cruelty of war is neither veiled nor denied. Memorial, the Russian human rights organization, arose during the glasnost era to record the crimes of the Soviet era.
Its first chairman was the late Andrei Sakharov, who also received the Nobel Peace Prize in 1975. It is understood that by honoring Memorial, the Nobel Committee will finally accept that without historical record and accountability, there is little hope for long-term peace. The Ukrainian human rights organization Center for Civil Liberties was recognized for its “outstanding efforts” in documenting war crimes. In desperate times like these, the heroic struggles of individuals must be recognized as well as the autocratic and repressive acts of the dictator.
As the writer Margaret Mead put it: “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; in fact, it is the only thing that has ever existed.” Eventually, there will be accountability for the senseless slaughter of civilians in Ukraine. Hopefully, sooner than later, the day will come when the evidence gathered by these courageous chroniclers will help ensure justice is done.
History is full of examples of courageous defiance prevailing over cowed obedience in the face of tyranny.
Civilization rests on a principle that peace cannot be maintained through violence, but only through respectful understanding. When Alfred Nobel established his foundation in 1895, his aim was to celebrate people who advocated “international brotherhood” and reduced standing armies. With the darkness of war over Europe, the priceless light of that vision must be kept alive.
https://www.independent.ie/opinion/editorial/nobel-prize-purveyors-of-peace-are-needed-more-than-ever-as-the-darkness-of-ukraine-war-hangs-over-europe-42049575.html Nobel Peace Prize winners are needed more than ever as the darkness of the Ukraine war hangs over Europe