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Amazing news spread over the world:
Abiy Ahmed Ali won the Nobel Peace Prize 2019!
Mr Ali is Prime Minister of the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia.
Here is the prize motivation:
”for his efforts to achieve peace and international cooperation, and in particular for his decisive initiative to resolve the border conflict with neighbouring Eritrea.”
What is then the Nobel peace prize?
Alfred Nobel, 1833 – 1896 was a Swedish businessman, chemist, engineer, inventor, and philanthropist.
Known for inventing dynamite , Nobel also owned Bofors, which he had redirected from its previous role as primarily an iron and steel producer to a major manufacturer of cannon and other military equipment. With time he got criticized for
manufacturing ”killing-machines”, to benefit on other’s death. Alfred Nobel decided to let his wealth work for something good instead and instituted the Nobel prizes. The prizes are prominent, well known over the world, and it is a great honour to be a Nobel prize winner. There are Nobel prizes in several and different areas. They are given for outstanding contributions for humanity in chemistry, literature, peace, physics and physiology or medicine.
This is not the first time an African has won this illustrious prize. Last year it was divided between two people; Dr Denis Mukwege and Nadia Murad, a human rights activist from Irac.
Dr Denis Mukwege is a world-renowned gynaecologist, human rights activist and Nobel Peace winner from east Congo. He has become the world’s leading specialist in the treatment of wartime sexual violence and a global campaigner against the use of rape as a weapon of war.
The Tunisian National Dialogue Quartet
This is a group of four civil society organizations that were central mediators in the effort to consolidate democratic gains to form a lasting constitutional settlement in Tunisia following the unrest and historic regime change of the 2011, the Jasmine revolution. The quartet was formed in the summer of 2013 following a political crisis that halted the constitutional process. As a result of the Quartet’s success in bringing the Ennahda-led government to see negotiations through and producing a historic constitution, on 9 October 2015, the quartet was awarded the 2015 the Nobel Peace Prize.
Ellen Jonson Sirleaf and Leymah Roberta Gbowee
Ellen Johnson Sirleaf from Liberia.
She won the 2005 presidential election, took office on 16 January 2006. She was re-elected in 2011. She was the first woman in Africa elected as president of her country. She won the Nobel Peace Prize in 2011, in recognition of her efforts to bring women into the peacekeeping process. She has received numerous other awards for her leadership.
Ellen Johnson Sirleaf shared the Nobel Peace Prize with Leymah Roberta Gbowee, a Liberian human rights activist. Leymah Roberta Gbowee is a Liberian peace activist responsible for leading a women’s nonviolent peace movement, Women of Liberia Mass Action for Peace. This movement helped bring an end to the Second Liberian civil war in 2003.
The 2009 Nobel Peace Prize was awarded to United States, to president Barack Obama for his “extraordinary efforts to strengthen international diplomacy and cooperation between people. The Nobel committe announced the award on October 9, 2009, citing Obama’s promotion of a nuclear proliferation and a “new climate” in international relations fostered by Obama, especially in reaching out to the Muslim world.
(nuclear proliferation = preventing an increasing number of countries possessing of nuclear weapons)
Wangarĩ Muta Maathai was a renowned Kenyan social, environmental and political activist and the first African woman to win the Nobel Peace Prize. She was educated in the US as well as in Nairobi, Kenya.
In 1977 Wangari Maathai founded the Green Belt Movement. This is an environmental, non-governmental organization focused on the planting of trees, environmental conservation and women’s rights.
Kofi Annan and the U.N.
The Nobel Peace Prize 2001 was awarded jointly to United Nations (U.N.) and Kofi Annan “for their work for a better organized and more peaceful world.”
Nelson Mandela and president Willem de Klerk
Prize motivation: “for their work for the peaceful termination of the apartheid regime, and for laying the foundations for a new democratic South Africa.”Nelson Mandela shared the Peace Prize with the man who had released him, President Frederik Willem de Klerk, because they had agreed on a peaceful transition to majority rule.
Desmond Tutu is one of South Africa’s most well-known human rights activists, winning the 1984Nobel Peace Prize for his efforts in resolving and ending apartheid. Born in 1931 in Klerksdorp, Transvaal, South Africa, he became the first Black Anglican Archbishop of both Cape Town and Johannesburg.
This is an impressing list of African Nobel Peace Prize winners, don’t you think?
The Nobel Peace Prize has been awarded 100 times to 134 Nobel Laureates between 1901 and 2019, 107 individuals and 27 organizations.
(Laureates = a latin word for those who are honoured with this prize)
The prize is a great honour to recieve, but it is also includes a great deal of money; mr Ali got US $ 1.03 million. It is up to the winners how they spend the prize money; some have donated it for scientific research, others for personal purposes. Anyhow, the prize is awarded to those who has done considerable deeds for the humanity.
Let’s go back to mr Abiy Ahmed Ali, the winner of Nobel Peace Prize 2019. What has he done to deserve to be a winner and why is that so important?
The conflict between Ethiopia and Eritrea over disputed border territory came at a huge financial and humanitarian cost for both countries. As Prime Minister, Abiy Ahmed has sought to promote reconciliation, solidarity and social justice.
However, many challenges remain unresolved. Ethnic strife continues to escalate, and we have seen troubling examples of this in recent weeks and months.
There is definitely a lot achieved already in reforming Ethiopia to a democracy but there’s also a long way to go. Rome was not made in a day and neither will peace or democratic development be achieved in a short period of time.
Why do I wish to tell you about the Nobel Peace Prize? Well, There are several reasons; it is founded in Sweden, it is a great honour to recieve it as it it is famous all over the world. I cherry picked the African winners as I thought it was more interesting for you to hear about them than all the others. If you are curious of the others it is very easy to find information online. I find it important to not only verbally whip some political behinds, but also praise those who deserves that. So much is said about Africa that could fill you with depression both night and day for the rest of your life. Too little is said about the positive tendencies that also happen. I don’t know the reason for it, maybe it’s only a bad habit.
Disasters sell newspapers, bold letters scream out to the public and want us to but and read. Many times there is not much substance behind the headlines. They want to get our attention, human beings are curious creatures. There is a market for news like that, but we must be aware of all the good things that actually happen. The narrative we get in the Western world, about Africa, is war, starving children, deforestation, deserts spreading and so on. Not enough is said about the progress that is done. Look at Wangari Maathai from Kenya, for example. She founded the Green Belt Movement in 1977. This was long before anyone was aware of the climate change and almost no one spoke about environmental issues.
This is cut from the Green Belt Movement’s website:
”Founded in 1977 by Professor Wangari Maathai, the Green Belt Movement (GBM) has planted over 51 million trees in Kenya. GBM works at the grassroots, national, and international levels to promote environmental conservation; to build climate resilience and empower communities, especially women and girls; to foster democratic space and sustainable livelihoods.”
Maathai founded the Green Belt Movement in Kenya to address the challenges of deforestation, soil erosion and lack of water by the simple act of planting trees. By empowering rural women who struggle daily with these challenges, the Green Belt Movement grew into a nationwide grassroots effort to safeguard the environment, protect human rights, and defend democracy.
If you got inspired by this; please watch a short video on Youtube. The video is called ” I will be a humming-bird” and tells us that we can do whatever we can do, even if it’s little.
If you don’t have access to the internet, I can tell you a little about the video ”I will be a humming-bird. There was a huge fire in the forest and all the animals froze in panic. They didn’t know what to do to put out the fire, so they just looked at it in despair. The tiny humming-bird came flying, looked at the fire and flew back to the river where it filled its little beak with water. Drop after drop was thrown on the fire, but the other animals questioned the use of it. ”You have such a small beak, and you can only get one drop of water at the time” the animals said. There were all kinds of animals standing there to look at the fire, even an elephant with a big trunk who could have taken a lot of water in it.
The humming-bird kept on flying with its drops of water and it said ” I’m doing the best I can.”
From this little story we can learn that it is not only a matter making great achievements, where you can become rewarded with medals and large sums of money. If all of us do the best we can, we can achieve a lot and change the world to a better place.
I’m sure you are familiar with the saying: ”If there is a will, there is a way.” All the great achievements has started with an idea or a need. Some people have a lot of connections and that can make it easier to begin a project. Some others have to do it on their own, but it doesn’t matter. What matters is that all of us are willing to do something useful, not only for ourselves but for our fellow human beings.
For myself, I have decided to do something useful every day. It might sound like I am normally lazy, but that is not true. I work full time as a musicteacher, I read a lot during my free time – mostly for making research for my next article. No, what I mean is that I have decided to not only do my routine chores but something else too. I want to stretch my limits further and not only go on, day by day the same. I alone can’t change the world, but I can be as the humming-bird and do the best I can.