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Thursday, December 10, 2009


History is made

Today, U.S. President Barack Obama received the Nobel Peace Prize. The Nobel Peace Prize has been awarded to numerous warmongers and war criminals in the past, with Henry Kissinger perhaps the most notorious. But never before has the prize literally been handed to someone who was at that very moment escalating at least one (Afghanistan) and quite possibly two (Pakistan) wars he is responsible for, not to mention also occupying another country (Iraq) and providing vigorous support for the occupation of another (Palestine), and not to mention carrying out active economic warfare (blockades) against at least four countries (Cuba, Iran, Gaza, North Korea), one of which (Gaza) is perhaps the only country in history to be simultaneously occupied and blockaded.

Before I get to Obama's speech, which I'll address in another post, I really think I need to repost a portion of a speech given 30 years ago at the U.N. by someone who really deserves the Nobel Peace Prize:

Mr. President, distinguished representatives: Human rights are often spoken of, but we must also speak of humanity's rights. Why should some people walk around barefoot so that others may travel in expensive cars? Why should some live only 35 years so that others may live 70? Why should some be miserably poor so that others may be exaggeratedly rich? I speak on behalf of the children in the world who do not even have a piece of bread. [applause] I speak on behalf of the sick who lack medicine. I speak on behalf of those who have been denied the right to life and human dignity.

Some countries are on the sea; others are not. [applause] Some have energy resources; others do not. Some possess abundant land on which to produce food; others do not. Some are so glutted with machinery and factories that even the air cannot be breathed because of the poisoned atmosphere; [applause] while others have nothing more than their emaciated arms with which to earn their daily bread. In short, some countries possess abundant resources; others have nothing.

What is their fate? To starve? To be eternally poor? Why then civilization? Why then the conscience of man? Why then the United Nations? [applause] Why then the world? One cannot speak of peace on behalf of tens of millions of human beings all over the world who are starving to death or dying of curable diseases. One cannot speak of peace on behalf of 900 million illiterates.

The exploitation of the poor countries by the rich countries must cease. I know that in many poor countries there are both exploiters and exploited. I address myself to the rich nations, asking them to contribute. And I address myself to the poor countries, asking them to distribute. Enough of words. We need deeds. [applause]

Enough of abstractions. We need concrete action. Enough of speaking about a speculative new international economic order that nobody understands. [applause] We must speak of a real, objective order that everybody understands.

I have not come here as a prophet of revolution. I have not come here to ask or to wish that the world be violently convulsed. I have come to speak of peace and cooperation among the peoples. And I have come to warn that if we do not peacefully and wisely resolve the present injustices and inequalities, the futurewill be apocalyptic. [applause] The sounds of weapons, of threatening language, and of prepotent behavior on the international arena must cease. [applause]

Enough of the illusion that the problems of the world can be solved by nuclear weapons. Bombs may kill the hungry, the sick, and the ignorant, but they cannot kill hunger, disease, and ignorance. Nor can they kill the righteous rebellion of the peoples. And in the holocaust, the rich -- who have the most to lose in this world -- will also die.

- Fidel Castro

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