Friday, August 26, 2005

Peace in our time (not!)

The German Constitutional Court has given the go-ahead for an early German elections and the campaign has been continuing unabated.

Chancellor Schröder has been trying to replicate his rather narrow 2002 victory. He has already made rather laughable and unnecessary anti-American statements, assuming that these might, just, get thim through again.

And then, joy of joys, there is flooding in parts of Germany again – an opportunity, as most commentators in that country have noted, for the Chancellor to play the strong and generous leader. He has promised to send money to the affected areas but has also promised not to use that in his electoral campaign. And is that a little piglet I see flying by?

There is news of an even more exciting development: Chancellor Schröder’s friend, the Nobel Prize winning author Günther Grass has nominated him for the Nobel Peace Prize. And why not, you might ask. If the late unlamented crook and mass murderer Chairman Yasser Arafat could get one, why not Schröder?

Actually, he is unlikely to win. There seems to be rather a large number of nominees, that include former Secretary of State Colin Powell, and former Czech President Vaclav Havel. 199 people have been nominated so far, 166 of them individually.

The reasons for Scröder’s nomination apart from the fact that he and Grass are buddies? His opposition to the American-led Iraq war. Excellent.

A rather devious electoral ploy not unconnected with shoddy previous financial dealings, whose international aim is to keep an extremely unpleasant, crooked and bloodthirsty dictator in power, is deemed to be worthy of the Noble Peace Prize.

There is a problem with the whole concept of that prize. With the scientific ones, arguments nothwithstanding, one can point to specific work and discoveries that may or may not deserve the prize.

The literature prize works on the principle of buggins’ turn and most writers remain unknown across the world, apart from the inevitable political overtones of the nominations. Nevertheless, there is a body of work one can point to.

But the peace prize? How much peace is there in the world and if there is, how much of that had been achieved by the various nominees?

Let us face it, if it is peace and democracy we are honouring then we should look to the body of men (and some women) who have done more than anyone else to bring both those concepts to parts of the world that have, in the past, known little of it.

This blog hereby nominates the US Marine Corps for the Nobel Peace Prize.

And if that is not a positive suggestion, I don’t know what is.


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