October 15, 2009 Volume CXXVI Issue 5

Student ponders peace

Staff Writer

“Peace by way of war is like purity by way of fornication. It’s like telling someone murder is wrong, then showing them by way of execution…” The words of Derek Webb, a singer and master of controversy, have had me thinking. So has President Barack Obama’s win of the Nobel Peace Prize. What in the world, if it is in our world at all, is peace?

If we are speaking of inner peace, a friend of mine would tell you that, as a “state of mental calm and serenity, with no anxiety,” she is not sure she has ever experienced complete and total peace. Me neither. But of course, with respect to Nobel, the sort of “peace” for which the prize is generally awarded is more of the civil sort. It has been awarded in recognition of efforts to end the impoverished sufferings of Calcutta’s poorest by Mother Teresa in 1979. It has been awarded in recognition of the struggle to end the racism of apartheid in South Africa, both to Bishop Desmond Tutu in 1984 and to Nelson Mandela in 1993, and for helping end segregation here in the United States, to Martin Luther King, Jr. in 1964. It has recognized humanitarian work, awarded to Médicins Sans Frontières in 1999, and work for a more peaceful world, awarded to the United Nations and Kofi Annan in 2001.

But for all of these recognized 97 individuals and 20 organizations who have worked tirelessly in the last 108 years for peace in many forms, as well as all the efforts of those unrecognized, where is the peace? If you asked an Afghani mother whose son died fighting, or an Iraqi father whose daughter was an innocent civilian bystander caught in the crossfire, I do not believe they would tell you we are at peace. If you asked people still displaced from their homes since Hurricane Katrina, I do not believe they would tell you we are at peace. If you asked the poor in the slums of Calcutta, if you asked citizens of Iran or North Korea, if you asked families in refugee camps in Uganda whose children have been kidnapped by Joseph Kony and forced into LRA child soldiership, I do not believe they any of them would tell you we are at peace.

As long as there is work for which a Nobel Peace may be awarded, we are not at peace. In Martin Luther King, Jr’s acceptance speech for his Nobel Peace Prize, he related events that were taking place in the days surrounding his award, of churches burned and students met with snarling dogs and water cannons as they fought for equality and peace. It is interesting to me that the movement for which he was working, the movement for which he was awarded the prize, was incomplete. The prize was given to him not after segregation had ended, but while it was still being fought.

The difference between the “peace” Martin Luther King, Jr. and the tireless workers of the Civil Rights Movement sought and the “peace” the United States of America seeks to establish in the Middle East? The civil rights fighters were fighting with “the need for man to overcome oppression and violence without resorting to violence and oppression.” The struggle that they went through did not happen peacefully, but it aimed to produce peace. Over and over again they presented themselves peacefully and were met with violent response. But segregation did end; there was eventually some peace.

How often do we present ourselves peacefully in order to settle a disagreement? How often are we met violently? How often do we present violence and respond in violence? We are not at peace. As long as there is an oppressor and an oppressed, we are not at peace. As long as there is inequality and segregation, and racism and sexism, we are not at peace. As long as there is war which claims it will produce peace, and as long as there is violence in response to violence, we are not at peace. A state of mental calm and serenity, with no anxiety? I can only imagine what that would look like—for families struggling to make ends meet, families struggling to escape bombs and bullets to stay alive, families trying to obtain equal opportunities, families just trying to obtain some dinner.

Peace looks like living without fear of violence, or of persecution, or of hunger. Peace looks like us working together as a global community to lay down our violent arms and present peace in order to achieve peace. War will never be peaceful, and violence will never produce peace. In order to make peace, we must not resort to violence and oppression. We must strive for calm and serenity, with no anxiety. I hope one day Nobel Peace Prizes cannot be given, it being impossible to recognize everyone. I hope one day there is no need for them. I hope one day we choose to resort to calm and serenity instead of violence and oppression. I hope that one day we are all worthy of a Nobel Peace Prize.

Letter to the Editor

Dear Editor, I feel that in the midst of Homecoming week, everyone kind of takes on this alternative persona. Normal, happy beings turn into stressed, sleep-deprived monsters that flinch at the thought of adding even the slightest assignment into our schedules. People start to complain more than normal about professors, exams, homework and everything else related to the actual reason that we are here (our education!), myself included.

I would like to take the opportunity right now to apologize to those of you who teach and work at Georgetown College for the students’ behavior during this week. It is nothing against you personally when we arrive at your classes in bad moods and half asleep. I would also like to thank you for dealing with us students and understanding the stress that is Songfest and other Homecoming activities.


Cortney Thorn

Obama’s Nobel Prize given, not earned

Staff Writer

  Thorbjoern Jagland, the chairman ofthe Nobel Committee, said the committeewanted to “contribute a littlebit to enhance what [Obama] is tryingto do.”

Thorbjoern Jagland, the chairman of the Nobel Committee, said the committee wanted to “contribute a little bit to enhance what (Obama) is trying to do."

Mahatma Ghandi, the guy who was, and still is, the poster child for promoting peace and seeking peaceful resolutions to anything and everything, never actually won a Nobel Peace Prize award despite five nominations and a lifetime of nonaggression acts before being murdered in 1948. On the other hand, President Barack Obama, only nine months into his presidency, was given the Nobel Peace Prize.

I say “given” instead of “awarded” because an award is something you earn and a gift is given. First off, my disdainful attitude and any resulting disparaging remarks are not directed towards Obama, so you can put away any “typical Republican” rhetoric you may have loaded in the chamber. Rather, I’m annoyed at Thorbjoern Jagland, chairman of the Nobel Committee, who justified the decision by saying the committee wanted to “contribute a little bit to enhance what he is trying to do.” The committee wanted to make a “clear statement to the world that we want to advocate and promote” Obama’s efforts.

It’s great that they want to get behind Obama and support efforts of peace, but don’t reward his efforts. I’m a firm believer in encouraging effort and rewarding success, and the best way to encourage effort is to reward success. This is especially true of children, but if you reward effort when someone is doing something new (such as running a country with no real leadership background), then just making an effort becomes acceptable. Being pleased with a failed effort is unacceptable. Part of what makes an award worth anything is the effort and achievement that go into outdoing everyone else.

If you take into consideration that the deadline for Nobel Prize nominations is Feb. 1, it’s even more incredulous, since Barack Obama had no time to garner either effort or achievement. So the whole “we want to support Obama’s efforts” spiel is invalid. Try again, Jagland. If the NFL were to give the Cincinnati Bengals the Lombardi Trophy saying, “We applaud your pre-season efforts,” nobody would take it seriously and the Superbowl would lose all credibility and become just another Sunday game.

The only thing the Nobel Committee has succeeded in doing is making people second guess the Committee. No one expected Obama to win anything, at least not this year. Even the President himself was taken aback when he found out the Committee’s decision. If anything, the Nobel Prize Committee made a political statement that, quite frankly, they should not be making in the first place. Personally, I feel the President should also make a statement by giving the Nobel Prize back, since we all know he didn’t actually earn it.

A Comical Moment



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