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I thought I’ve seen it all!… You can love Him, you can hate Him, but you can’t ignore Him! God save the President!
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„Cine? Ce? Aşa repede?” a replicat stupefiat Lech Wałęsa, aflând de la reporteri că noul icon al Americii, Barrack Hussein Obama, a primit premiul Nobel pentru pace. Argumentarea Comitetului Nobel este de-a dreptul halucinantă: „Pentru eforturile sale extraordinare de a întări diplomaţia internaţională şi cooperarea între popoare”. Dacă stai să te gândeşti, pare o frază decupată din discursurile lui Nicolae Ceauşescu. În ce constă excepţionalitatea prestaţiei recipient-ului? În cele câteva discursuri sforăitoare ţinute prin capitale ale Orientului Mijlociu? În incantaţia obsesivă Yes we can? În ubicuitatea tâmpă a Obamaniei? Ori, mult mai veridic, reprezintă o compensaţie pentru pierderea dreptului de organizare a Jocurilor Olimpice din 2016 de către Chicago?
Oricum ar fi, se pare că linguşirea puternicilor zilei este un obicei îndelung practicat de către scorţoşii membri ai Comitetului Nobel. Ce contează că Mahatma Gandhi, omul care a conciliat cele două noţiuni anterior incompatibile – nonviolenţa şi politica –, n-a fost considerat demn de prestigioasa distincţie? Lasă că a meritat-o Yasser Arafat! Şi, pentru a demonstra încă o dată că politicienii, oriunde s-ar afla şi oricum s-ar numi, sunt judecaţi după alte standarde decât muritorii de rând, este suficient să remarcăm faptul că laureaţii oricărui alt Nobel au trebuit mai întâi să arate că pot; în cazul lui Obama a fost suficient doar să promită.
US President Barack Obama has been awarded the 2009 Nobel Peace Prize.
(by Paul Reynolds, BBC News, London)
The Nobel Committee said he won it for „his extraordinary efforts to strengthen international diplomacy and co-operation between peoples”. The committee highlighted Mr Obama’s efforts to support international bodies and promote nuclear disarmament. There were a record 205 nominations for this year’s prize. The laureate – chosen by a five-member committee – wins a gold medal, a diploma and 10m Swedish kronor ($1.4m).
The award is certainly unexpected and might be regarded as more of an encouragement for intentions than a reward for achievements. After all, the president has been in office for a little over eight months and he might hope to serve eight years. His ambition for a world free of nuclear weapons is one that is easier to declare than to achieve and a climate control agreement has yet to be reached. Indeed, the citation indicates that it is President Obama’s world view that attracted the Nobel committee – that diplomacy should be founded „on the basis of values and attitudes that are shared by the majority of the world’s population”. „Only very rarely has a person to the same extent as Obama captured the world’s attention and given its people hope for a better future,” the Norwegian committee said in a statement. „His diplomacy is founded in the concept that those who are to lead the world must do so on the basis of values and attitudes that are shared by the majority of the world’s population.” Asked why the prize had been awarded to Mr Obama less than a year after he took office, Nobel Committee head Thorbjoern Jagland said: „It was because we would like to support what he is trying to achieve”. „It is a clear signal that we want to advocate the same as he has done,” he said. He specifically mentioned Mr Obama’s work to strengthen international institutions and work towards a world free of nuclear arms.
Lista completă a câştigătorilor Premiului Nobel pentru Pace:
2009 – Barack Obama
2008 – Martti Ahtisaari
2007 – Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, Al Gore
2006 – Muhammad Yunus, Grameen Bank
2005 – International Atomic Energy Agency, Mohamed ElBaradei
2004 – Wangari Maathai
2003 – Shirin Ebadi
2002 – Jimmy Carter
2001 – United Nations, Kofi Annan
2000 – Kim Dae-jung
1999 – Médecins Sans Frontières
1998 – John Hume, David Trimble
1997 – International Campaign to Ban Landmines, Jody Williams
1996 – Carlos Filipe Ximenes Belo, José Ramos-Horta
1995 – Joseph Rotblat, Pugwash Conferences on Science and World Affairs
1994 – Yasser Arafat, Shimon Peres, Yitzhak Rabin
1993 – Nelson Mandela, F.W. de Klerk
1992 – Rigoberta Menchú Tum
1991 – Aung San Suu Kyi
1990 – Mikhail Gorbachev
1989 – The 14th Dalai Lama
1988 – United Nations Peacekeeping Forces
1987 – Oscar Arias Sánchez
1986 – Elie Wiesel
1985 – International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War
1984 – Desmond Tutu
1983 – Lech Wałęsa
1982 – Alva Myrdal, Alfonso García Robles
1981 – Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees
1980 – Adolfo Pérez Esquivel
1979 – Mother Teresa
1978 – Anwar al-Sadat, Menachem Begin
1977 – Amnesty International
1976 – Betty Williams, Mairead Corrigan
1975 – Andrei Sakharov
1974 – Seán MacBride, Eisaku Sato
1973 – Henry Kissinger, Le Duc Tho
1972 – The prize money for 1972 was allocated to the Main Fund
1971 – Willy Brandt
1970 – Norman Borlaug
1969 – International Labour Organization
1968 – René Cassin
1967 – The prize money was with 1/3 allocated to the Main Fund and with 2/3 to the Special Fund of this prize section
1966 – The prize money was allocated to the Special Fund of this prize section
1965 – United Nations Children’s Fund
1964 – Martin Luther King Jr.
1963 – International Committee of the Red Cross, League of Red Cross Societies
1962 – Linus Pauling
1961 – Dag Hammarskjöld
1960 – Albert Lutuli
1959 – Philip Noel-Baker
1958 – Georges Pire
1957 – Lester Bowles Pearson
1956 – The prize money was with 1/3 allocated to the Main Fund and with 2/3 to the Special Fund of this prize section
1955 – The prize money was allocated to the Special Fund of this prize section
1954 – Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees
1953 – George C. Marshall
1952 – Albert Schweitzer
1951 – Léon Jouhaux
1950 – Ralph Bunche
1949 – Lord Boyd Orr
1948 – The prize money was with 1/3 allocated to the Main Fund and with 2/3 to the Special Fund of this prize section
1947 – Friends Service Council, American Friends Service Committee
1946 – Emily Greene Balch, John R. Mott
1945 – Cordell Hull
1944 – International Committee of the Red Cross
1943 – The prize money was with 1/3 allocated to the Main Fund and with 2/3 to the Special Fund of this prize section
1942 – The prize money was with 1/3 allocated to the Main Fund and with 2/3 to the Special Fund of this prize section
1941 – The prize money was with 1/3 allocated to the Main Fund and with 2/3 to the Special Fund of this prize section
1940 – The prize money was with 1/3 allocated to the Main Fund and with 2/3 to the Special Fund of this prize section
1939 – The prize money was with 1/3 allocated to the Main Fund and with 2/3 to the Special Fund of this prize section
1938 – Nansen International Office for Refugees
1937 – Robert Cecil
1936 – Carlos Saavedra Lamas
1935 – Carl von Ossietzky
1934 – Arthur Henderson
1933 – Sir Norman Angell
1932 – The prize money was allocated to the Special Fund of this prize section
1931 – Jane Addams, Nicholas Murray Butler
1930 – Nathan Söderblom
1929 – Frank B. Kellogg
1928 – The prize money was allocated to the Special Fund of this prize section
1927 – Ferdinand Buisson, Ludwig Quidde
1926 – Aristide Briand, Gustav Stresemann
1925 – Sir Austen Chamberlain, Charles G. Dawes
1924 – The prize money was allocated to the Special Fund of this prize section
1923 – The prize money was allocated to the Special Fund of this prize section
1922 – Fridtjof Nansen
1921 – Hjalmar Branting, Christian Lange
1920 – Léon Bourgeois
1919 – Woodrow Wilson
1918 – The prize money was allocated to the Special Fund of this prize section
1917 – International Committee of the Red Cross
1916 – The prize money was allocated to the Special Fund of this prize section
1915 – The prize money was allocated to the Special Fund of this prize section
1914 – The prize money was allocated to the Special Fund of this prize section
1913 – Henri La Fontaine
1912 – Elihu Root
1911 – Tobias Asser, Alfred Fried
1910 – Permanent International Peace Bureau
1909 – Auguste Beernaert, Paul Henri d’Estournelles de Constant
1908 – Klas Pontus Arnoldson, Fredrik Bajer
1907 – Ernesto Teodoro Moneta, Louis Renault
1906 – Theodore Roosevelt
1905 – Bertha von Suttner
1904 – Institute of International Law
1903 – Randal Cremer
1902 – Élie Ducommun, Albert Gobat
1901 – Henry Dunant, Frédéric Passy
Odd facts about Nobel Prize winners
1. Robert Lucas, winner of the 1995 Nobel Prize in Economics for his work on the theory of „rational expectations,” split his $1 million prize with his ex-wife. If there were a Nobel Prize for Foresight or Timing, she should be nominated, based on a clause in their divorce settlement from seven years earlier: „Wife shall receive 50 percent of any Nobel Prize.” The clause expired on October 31, 1995. Had Lucas won any year after, he would have kept the whole million.
2. Physicist Lise Meitner, whose work helped lead to the discovery of nuclear fission, was reportedly nominated for the Nobel Prize 13 times without ever winning (though nominations are kept secret, so we don’t know for sure). This makes her the Dynasty of the Nobel Prize scene – that show was nominated for 24 Emmy Awards but never won.
3. People who refused the prize:
• Le Duc Tho was awarded the 1973 Nobel Peace Prize with Henry Kissinger for their roles in brokering a Vietnam cease fire at the Paris Peace Accords. Citing the absence of actual peace in Vietnam, Tho declined to accept.
• Jean Paul Sartre waved off the 1964 Nobel Prize in Literature. His explanation: „It is not the same thing if I sign Jean-Paul Sartre or if I sign Jean-Paul Sartre, Nobel Prize winner. A writer must refuse to allow himself to be transformed into an institution, even if it takes place in the most honorable form.”
• Afraid of Soviet retribution if he traveled to Stockholm to claim his prize, Boris Pasternak declined to accept the 1958 Prize in Literature, which he’d earned for Doctor Zhivago. The Academy refused his refusal. „This refusal, of course, in no way alters the validity of the award. There remains only for the Academy, however, to announce with regret that the presentation of the Prize cannot take place.” Yevgeny Pasternak accepted the prize on behalf of his deceased father in 1989.
• Swedish poet Erik Axel Karlfeldt won for Literature in 1918. He did not accept because he was Secretary of the Swedish Academy, which awards the prize. He was given the award posthumously in 1931. This was allowed because the nomination was made before Karlfeldt died – no candidate may be proposed after death.
4. In 2007, 90-year-old professor Leonid Hurwicz became the oldest person to ever win (one-third of the Prize in Economics); at 87, writer Doris Lessing became the oldest woman (Literature).
5. DNA expert Kary Mullis – 1993 winner of the Nobel Prize in Chemistry – was scheduled to be a defense witness in O.J. Simpson’s murder trial. However, Simpson’s lawyer Barry Scheck felt the prosecution’s DNA case was already essentially destroyed, and he didn’t want Mullis’ personal life to distract jurors (he’d expressed an affinity for LSD.)
6. Nobel Laureates you must know: Teddy Roosevelt, Woodrow Wilson, Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr., Mother Teresa, Elie Wiesel, Mikhail Gorbachev, Nelson Mandela, Yasser Arafat, Shimon Peres, Yitzhak Rabin, Jimmy Carter, Toni Morrison, William Faulkner, T.S. Eliot, Ernest Hemingway, Samuel Beckett, Pierre & Marie Curie, Max Planck and Albert Einstein.
7. Big names who never won: Dmitri Mendeleev, Leo Tolstoy, Virginia Woolf, James Joyce, Marcel Proust, Mark Twain, Gertrude Stein, Henrik Ibsen, Joan Robinson, Thomas Edison, Nikola Tesla, Jules-Henri Poincaré, Raymond Damadian and Mahatma Gandhi.
8. Winners without the greatest reputations:
• Daniel Carleton Gajdusek, who won in 1976 for his research in human slow-virus infections, spent 19 months in jail after pleading guilty in 1997 to charges of child molestation.
• Johannes Fibiger won in 1926 after discovering parasitic worms cause cancer – a breakthrough that turned out to not be true.
• Yasser Arafat shared the 1994 Nobel Peace Prize with Shimon Peres and Yitzhak Rabin. This decision caused Nobel Committee member Kare Kristiansen to resign. „What consequences will result,” he asked at the time, „when a terrorist with such a background is awarded the world’s most prestigious prize?”
• William Shockley won for Physics in 1956 for his role in the invention of the semiconductor, but his support of the eugenics movement alienated the scientific community. Shockley also donated sperm to the Repository for Germinal Choice, a sperm bank developed to spread humanity’s best genes.
9. As part of his divorce settlement, Einstein‘s Nobel Prize money went to his ex-wife, Mileva Maric.
10. The Curie family is a Nobel Prize machine, winning five: Pierre and Marie for Physics in 1901; Marie solo for Chemistry in 1911; daughter Irene and her husband Frédéric Joliot-Curie for Chemistry in 1935; and Henry Labouisse – Irene’s daughter Eve’s second husband – accepted on behalf of UNICEF in 1965. No family has won more.
11. Marie Curie‘s second prize was marred by scandal. Then a widow, Curie had an affair with a married scientist, Paul Langevin – a former pupil of Pierre Curie. Love letters were involved, eventually leading to a duel between Langevin and the editor of the newspaper that had printed them (no shots were actually fired.) According to NobelPrize.org, when it was suggested that Curie not accept the prize, she wrote a shrewd letter, „which pointed out that she had been awarded the Prize for her discovery of radium and polonium, and that she could not accept the principle that appreciation of the value of scientific work should be influenced by slander concerning a researcher’s private life.”
12. Singing support –While there’s no evidence the Nobel judges can be swayed by theme songs, that hasn’t stopped Loriana Lana from composing one for Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi. „Peace Can” includes the lyrics, „Silvio forever will be / Silvio is reality / Silvio forever! /Silvio gives us trust.”
13. Alfred Nobel – inventor of dynamite – may have been inspired to create the Nobel Prize after a premature obituary in a French newspaper called him a „merchant of death.”
14. Nobel died on December 10, 1896. The formal awards ceremony is held in Stockholm each year on the anniversary of his death. The first awards show took place on December 10, 1901. (These things take time to plan.)
And in case you were wondering just how much of a say Alfred Nobel had in the prize, here’s what he wrote in his will:
„The whole of my remaining realizable estate shall be dealt with in the following way:
„The capital shall be invested by my executors in safe securities and shall constitute a fund, the interest on which shall be annually distributed in the form of prizes to those who, during the preceding year, shall have conferred the greatest benefit on mankind. The said interest shall be divided into five equal parts, which shall be apportioned as follows: one part to the person who shall have made the most important discovery or invention within the field of physics; one part to the person who shall have made the most important chemical discovery or improvement; one part to the person who shall have made the most important discovery within the domain of physiology or medicine; one part to the person who shall have produced in the field of literature the most outstanding work of an idealistic tendency; and one part to the person who shall have done the most or the best work for fraternity among nations, for the abolition or reduction of standing armies and for the holding and promotion of peace congresses.
„The prizes for physics and chemistry shall be awarded by the Swedish Academy of Sciences; that for physiological or medical works by the Caroline Institute in Stockholm; that for literature by the Academy in Stockholm; and that for champions of peace by a committee of five persons to be elected by the Norwegian Storting. It is my express wish that in awarding the prizes no consideration whatever shall be given to the nationality of the candidates, so that the most worthy shall receive the prize, whether he be Scandinavian or not.”
Myth: The prize is awarded to recognize efforts for peace, human rights and democracy only after they have proven successful.
Truth: More often, the prize is awarded to encourage those who receive it to see the effort through, sometimes at critical moments.
Myth: The prize can be revoked if a laureate does not live up to the standards of the peace prize.
Truth: There are no provisions for revoking the prize.