Beyond the Cusp

March 12, 2014

Vladimir Putin Nominated for Nobel Peace Prize

The fact that Russian President Vladimir Putin is among the nominees for receiving the 2014 Nobel Peace Prize is strangely amusing in a sick way but is nothing compared to the reasoning given by the International Academy of Spiritual Unity and Cooperation of Peoples of the World, a Russian advocacy group that broadly pursues peace, for their nominating him. They claim that since United States President was awarded the 2009 Nobel Peace Prize and was reputedly on the verge of launching minimally a withering bombing attack against Syria and Bashir al-Assad as a response and fulfilling a threat for the use by the Syrian military of chemical agents in that nations raging civil war, and as it was Russian President Vladimir Putin who interceded and prevented what could have resulted in a horrendous loss of life including many innocent victims, then fairness dictates that President Putin also should be awarded with a Nobel Peace Prize. The Nobel Committee will be meeting in the near future to begin to whittle down the choices from the record setting two-hundred-seventy-eight nominees to a more manageable number somewhere around forty, then subsequently to around twenty-five, then to a slim dozen or so and then finally to a single winner which will be announced some time in October.

 

On what I hope is a more serious note, some of the other nominees are Pope Francis; Denis Mukweg, a physician who for more than a decade “has given medical treatment to survivors of sexual violence and in 1999 he founded the Panzi Hospital in Bakuvu, DR Congo;” Edward Snowden; Chelsea Manning, formerly known as Bradley Manning (and these people wish to be taken seriously?); the protesters against the governments of Thailand and Venezuela; Novaya Gazeta, a newspaper “set up in 1993 at the initiative of Mikhail Gorbachev, who devoted part of his Nobel Peace Prize money for the purpose. The newspaper has since experienced the killings of several of its journalists. Its website has been exposed to numerous cyber-attacks;” and finally the one I would proudly support, Malala Yousafzai, the Pakistani teen who was shot by the Taliban because of her outspoken support for the education of girls who was a nominee last year and should have already been awarded this prize. With the history of some of the modern awardees of the Nobel Peace Prize such as Albert Gore for his work on global warming or Yasser Arafat for what, introducing the concept of hijacking airliners for political concessions and forcing the release of terrorist murderers? Yes, some Nobel Peace Prizes have been well deserved having the status, accomplishments and selflessness of a Mother Teresa, a worthy Nobel Peace Prize Awardee. I am sure we all would desire that the Nobel Committee would actually award what should and could be a most prestigious of international awards to less controversial and obviously political awardees such as President Obama who apparently was given one for getting elected President of the United States and the aforementioned Al Gore and Yasser Arafat. We will hopefully get an awardee worthy of Albert Nobel’s original intents and purpose returning some of the presumed dignity that a Nobel Peace Prize should confer. Edward Snowden; Chelsea Manning, formerly known as Bradley Manning; and this is supposedly a serious list? Puleeeeze!!

 

Beyond the Cusp

 

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December 7, 2013

Eulogy for Nelson Mandela

Eulogies can be purely complimentary telling only the great and commendable acts, leaning towards humorous where some of the more quaint and amusing events are recounted usually only with those closest friends or it can be honest praising the praiseworthy while also noting those items less desirable from the person’s life, this will be an honest Eulogy for Nelson Mandela. Nobody can take away from the fact that Nelson Mandela was the right man in the right place at the right time speaking the right words for equal rights and an end to the persecution and dehumanizing effects of Apartheid in South Africa. Nelson Mandela was not the only leader or even the preeminent leader of the cause but will always remain the most noteworthy and inspirational speakers and the man credited for leading the fight against injustice. Nelson Mandela will also be remembered for his continuing to speak out against those places, people and governments from which he perceived injustice and persecution. Likely one of the singular stands that will reflect most honorable was his choice to call for calm, eschewing violence and vengeance, and taking an angry people in a constructive direction using the energies to establish constructive ends rather than destructive ends. Whether Nelson Mandela’s actions as President of South Africa and the path he placed South Africa upon after Apartheid will be measured by historians further in the future when an objective and honest assessment is possible as such a perspective would be difficult to record as an official history now so close after his passing.

 

There was another side of Nelson Mandela, the politician, who saw Communism as the only true answer to uneven wealth distribution and the system which gave the poor and formerly oppressed any chance at equality within society. It was this view which led Nelson Mandela to see Apartheid wherever he witnessed poverty, especially if the poverty was mostly found in an oppressed peoples within the society. This view led Nelson Mandela to praise Fidel Castro and declare that Communist Cuba had achieved the “systematic eradication of racism”. He also laid a wreath on the grave of Ayatollah Khomeini, the father of the Iranian revolution, and to warmly greeting his successor, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei stating, “We are indebted to the Islamic Revolution”. Nelson Mandela praised Yasser Arafat upon his passing claiming that Arafat was an “outstanding freedom fighter”. Nelson Mandela was a strong supporter of the Palestinian cause which lead to his referring to Israel as an Apartheid state where racism is practiced and the Palestinians in the occupied lands were oppressed and persecuted. Seated next to Yasser Arafat in Gaza in 1999 Nelson Mandela proclaimed, “All men and women with vision choose peace rather than confrontation, except in cases where we cannot proceed, where we cannot move forward. Then if the only alternative is violence, we will use violence”.

 

The greatest detractor to claiming Nelson Mandela worthy of universal acclaim as being nearly a saint on Earth was his blind distrust of Capitalism which he viewed as another form of Apartheid. It was through this lens that he referred to the United States as a flawed nation and to declare that Israel was an Apartheid state every bit as bad and oppressive as was South Africa. This denouncing of Israel was probably the single strongest witness giving support and affirmation to the campaign against Israel and the often repeated denunciation of Israel as practicing Apartheid. It was this view of an Apartheid Israel that allowed for Nelson Mandela to condone and support Palestinian terror attacks claiming that this was their sole recourse to right the wrongs perpetrated against them. Nelson Mandela never saw, or refused to take accounting of the fact that Arabs, Muslims, Christians, Druze and every race of peoples living in Israel have equal rights and that there are Arab Muslims serving in the Knesset, Israel’s parliament, and serving as judges in courts which stand to adjudicate every Israel citizen equally, and there are Muslims and every other faith and peoples working as doctors, lawyers, and every professions side by side with the Jews of Israel with total equality. All religions are permitted to be practices in Israel and every religion is free to build a place to practice their religion be it a Synagogue, Church, Mosque, Temple or other structure. But when you view the world seeking out inequality and are firm in your belief that the main cause of any inequality is because of Apartheid, then you see and bear witness to Apartheid almost everywhere you look. It is unlikely that any streets, bridges, buildings, schools, parks or other honorable titled objects will ever be dedicated to Nelson Mandela in Israel, at least not any time soon. All in all, Nelson Mandela will remain the man who liberated South Africa from Apartheid and for that reason alone the man who was Nelson Mandela will be remembered favorably and receive the honors of which he is due. No person is perfect but some rise above their detractions to greatness in their remembrance and Nelson Mandela was most certainly such a man.

 

Beyond the Cusp

 

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