Friday, July 6, 2007

Nobel Prize -Carter 02-10-20

Nobel Peace prize for President Carter

Mirza A. Beg
Written on October 14, 2002
Tuscaloosa News, Sunday Oct. 20, 2002

The recognition of former President Carter was long overdue. The Nobel peace prize for Mr. Carter does more honor to the distinguished name of the Nobel Prize than the other way around. There are some very glaring omissions from the list of recipients from the Nobel roster, the most important being Mahatma Gandhi. The name M. K. Gandhi has become synonymous with peace, but for political reasons he never received the coveted honor. For that oversight, actually intended omission the name Nobel peace prize will forever be less luminous than it could have been.

In general the peace prize has been awarded to people who eminently deserved the recognition but over the years there have been some glaring omissions as well as strange inclusions. The prestige of the prize suffered by its award to some very questionable people. Some of the names that jump out are Le Duc Tho and Henry Kissinger in 1973; Anwar Sadat and Menacham Begin in 1978; and Shimon Perez and Yassir Arafat in 1997. Of these only Le Duc Tho had the decency not to accept it.

The Nobel peace Prize has acquired such prestige because of its association with people who have genuinely worked for peace and the uplift of humanity, some times in the most trying circumstances. In recent years some of the outstanding recipients are Aung San Suu Kyi, Nelson Mandela, Dalai Lama, and Mother Teresa, and Martin Luther King.

If all President Carter did was to bring peace between Egypt and Israel in 1978, He would have deserved the recognition. His tenacity and vision were primarily responsible for rescuing the Camp David accords from falling apart. In the 54-year history of the Middle East conflict he was the only U.S. President who truly was an honest and tenacious peacemaker. Others either were not interested or pretended to try halfheartedly then retreated with a throwaway line that peace is impossible. He knew the political risks and had the courage not to succumb to the conventional wisdom. In part he paid a political price for that.

President Carter was responsible for raising the issue of Human Rights and bringing it to the front and center of the world stage. For which millions of the down trodden around the world will forever be thankful to him. This raised the prestige of the US and earned the gratitude and friendship of millions. Which has since then been frittered away to some degree.

Since his leaving the office 22 years ago, he could have joined the lecture circuit, sat on the boards of corporations, in effect cash in the prestige of his presidency as others before and after him have done.

Instead he worked for and lent his prestige to the Habitat for Humanity. He established Carter Center through which he helped encourage democracy by supervising elections in countries around the world. The name Jimmy Carter has become synonymous with fair and acceptable elections, in effect a seal of approval.

He was instrumental in helping and assuring Daniel Ortega of Nicaragua that relinquishing power and fair elections were the right thing to do, thus helping the Reagan administration. He helped President Bush (senior) in his punishment of Noriega the Panamanian dictator. Because when President Carter said that Noriega was a thug people around the world believed him. Carter helped Clinton extricate himself from a potential quagmire in Haiti and North Korea. Often his successors resented his activities because his commitment to peace circumscribed their visceral desire to use power for the sake of power.

For all his efforts the different Presidents or the American people have not adequately thanked him. It is now almost universally acknowledged that he is the best former president the US or for that matter, any country ever had. Even his detractors grudgingly acknowledge that.

President Carter has lived his Christian principles and has created a reserve of goodwill around the world for Christianity and America. Nobel Peace Prize committee after long delay has finally recognized the invaluable service President Carter has rendered the world for the last 22 years and in so doing, it has honored itself.

Mirza A Beg invites comments. He may be contacted at

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