Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Snowden nominated for Nobel Peace Prize....really

On the day when Obama delivered his fifth State of the Union address to Congress, and when in Canada, Bell Canada sponsors a "let's talk" day raising money for and attempting to bring mental illness out of the closet and reduce its stigma, we learn that two Norwegian lawmakers have nominated Edward Snowden for the Nobel Peace Prize. (See story by The Associated Press, from CTV  website, January 29, 2014, below)
Whether or not Snowden actually received the august award, the very fact that his name has been submitted in nomination, as a person who has significantly contributed to a "more stable and peaceful world order" will once again demonstrate the deep divide between U.S. official opinion and opinion in other quarters around the world.
Eric Holder, Attorney General for the U.S., has recently indicated that should Snowden return to the U.S. and acknowledge that he has broken the law, and paid for his crime, some kind of deal might be able to be worked out. Snowden, on the other hand, has consistently maintained that he believes he would never get a fair trial in his home country. A university in Scotland may be about to offer him a position teaching in their institution, another political "finger-in-the-eye" of the U.S. reputation, at a time when over-reach by the NSA has become not only a significant issue needing scale-back, in order to better balance individual privacy with national security, but has also demonstrated the United States official addiction to hard power, in its latest edition, technology of the most sophisticated kind.
It was Winston Churchill who commented, not so incidentally, that the United States would always do the right thing, after it had attempted all other options.
Seeing itself as a country that over-compensates, and over-reaches in its pursuit of military hardware and technological advantages over all other countries and corporations, unless they are U.S.-based, as the country that must be "number one" in order to maintain its self-respect, incarnates one of the core realities of a male dominated culture. Domination, winning, being first, being the world's policeman, the world's moral and legal and military a very lonely and ultimately unsustainable position on top of the pedestal of political theatre. It is also the position to which too many Americans aspire, historically all men, and more recently men and women, in a feverish determination to "succeed".
Whistle-blowers, while legally given a modicum of "cover" are nevertheless persona non grata, given the blow to the national reputation that one like Edward Snowden has inflicted. It is hubris and denial that brings the U.S. public opinion to the place where they can see only a "traitor" another of the more prominent archetypes in American history, when they see or think of Snowden.
It will likely take decades, perhaps longer than Snowden's life, for the U.S. to come to the position that Snowden is indeed a patriot, and should he win the Nobel Peace Prize, he would become a member of a club that includes Presidents Obama and Carter, as well many other American luminaries.
Exposing the dark side of American culture, thought, belief system while poking a finger in the eye of the behemoth of history, is not something that the giant takes gracefully. If and when that day comes, the world will indeed be a much more sable and secure place for our grandchildren.
We congratulate the two Norwegian lawmakers who have courageously made this nomination and will watch with interest to see the decision of the panel making the awards.

By The Associated Press, from CTVwebsite, January 29, 2014
STAVANGER, Norway -- Two Norwegian lawmakers say they have jointly nominated former NSA contractor Edward Snowden for the 2014 Nobel Peace Prize.
Socialist lawmakers Baard Vegard Solhjell, a former environment minister, and Snorre Valen said Wednesday the public debate and policy changes "in the wake of Snowden's whistleblowing has contributed to a more stable and peaceful world order."
Being nominated just means Snowden will be one of scores of names that the Nobel committee will consider for the prestigious award.
Nominators, including members of national parliaments and governments, university professors and previous laureates, must enter their submissions by Feb. 1.
The prize committee members can add their own candidates at their first meeting after that deadline.
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