Saturday, September 16, 2006

Nobel laureates: U.S. root of all evil

That didn't take long. The News:

The largest gathering of Nobel Peace Prize winners ever assembled launched a call for peace Friday from Denver that morphed into a lengthy diatribe of America as a rich country that was muscling out poor nations and misusing its military
might. . . .

"Did all these weapons keep us safe from attack on Sept. 11? No. Or (will they) from the next attack? No. There's no justifying spending on the war in Iraq and Afghanistan when people live on less than $2 a day," said Jody Williams, who received the 1997 Nobel Prize for working to ban land mines . . . .

A few of the speakers, including the Dalai Lama and Tutu, stayed clear of politics, while the majority used their forum to blast the U.S. and its policies.

Speaking with a Spanish translator, Adolfo PĂ©rez Esquivel, who won the 1980 prize for starting a human rights movement in Latin America, got gasps and some laughter from the crowd when he excoriated President Bush, saying, "Bush says he prays. But I think God covers up his ears when George Bush prays."

Esquivel said the U.S. didn't appreciate that although nearly 3,000 people died during the 9/11 terrorist attacks, on that same day 35,000 children died of hunger around the world.

"I call that economic terrorism," he said.

Mairead Corrigan Maguire, who won the prize in 1976 for founding a peace organization in Northern Ireland, criticized "the alleged civilized world leader," the U.S., for its anti-terrorism tactics. She said the United Nations offered a better model of peace.

"Uphold the United Nations!" she said. "Its [sic] the best we have as a human family."

Shirin Abadi, who won the 2003 Nobel Prize for human rights work in the Middle East, said the real roots of terrorism - prejudice, ignorance and illiteracy - haven't yet been addressed. Translated from Farsi, the former Iranian judge said, "When 80 percent of the world's wealth belongs to 1 percent of the people, how can we expect peace?"

The Post, unsurprisingly, buries the anti-Americanism, beginning its piece:
Nine winners of the Nobel Peace Prize targeted what they called the root causes of evil - racism, poverty and environmental destruction - as they laid out a plan for world peace Friday in Denver.
In fact, the specifically anti-U.S. slant of many of the laureates' comments isn't mentioned until the very end of the article, and even then the Post's Jennifer Brown weasels around:

During a news conference and a taping of a BBC World debate, the laureates frequently were sharply political.

The U.S. campaign against terrorism is based on fear, and it was nearly treasonous to question why the terrorists who attacked on Sept. 11, 2001, hate Americans, Williams said.

"We were not supposed to ask why this happened; we were supposed to be patriotic," said Williams, who lives in Virginia.

Esquivel said later: "I think God covers up his ears when George Bush prays."

Update: Given the story, both papers' headlines--the News' "Noble view" and the Post's "A Nobel cause"--are pathetic.

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