From the Editor

By Metta Spencer | 2011-01-01 12:00:00

This is the autumn of WikiLeaks fame, so we could have told you lots more secrets, had we more space. We gave Newsworthy two pages this time without even getting around to revelations from the stolen cables. The most promising story from that source had Obama visiting India to prompt Prime Minister Singh to make up with Pakistan, so that Pakistan will focus on Obama’s war instead of Kashmir. It’s a great idea, if it really happened. (Anything to fix Kashmir.)

There’s a lot of ferment these days about creating a Nuclear Weapons Convention. Our parliament has endorsed the idea and favors having Canada become pro-actively engaged in that very project. The Nobel laureates met this summer, backing the same idea, and the annual meeting in Hiroshima and Nagasaki took new measures to promote it, worldwide. This is a perfect time for a new “Ottawa process”—to ban nukes.

And China is constantly in the news too—partly because the rich Western countries owe them so much money, and also because it is so easy to discern that country’s internal tensions. In September Fareed Zakaria interviewed Prime Minister Wen Jiabao on CNN, asking him about freedom of speech in China. Mr. Wen Jiabao replied, “I often say that we should not only let people have the freedom of speech, we more importantly must create conditions to let them criticize the work of the government.”

Many people doubt that Wen Jiabao is really at odds with the more authoritarian officials, such as President Hu Jintao. The two are sometimes said to be playing bad cop/good cop, much as Medvedev and Putin are supposedly doing in Russia. Nevertheless, Wen Jiabao’s bold comments were censored in his own country—a fact indicating that the conflict of views is not only apparent, but real, and maybe serious.

Then in December, Mr. Liu Xiaobo was awarded the Nobel peace prize. He is in prison for 11 years for or saying exactly what his prime minister said, and the Chinese government was furious about the honor that was given him.

With all this Nobel kerfuffle going on, we finally noticed that most of our articles this time had a connection to the peace prize. For example, there is Dale Dewar’s article about the physicians’ movement, for which IPPNW received the Nobel prize. There is an article about the Nobel laureate Joseph Rotblat. There’s a shorter piece about the laureate Aung San Suu Kyi, who has finally been freed from house arrest. There’s Fredrik Heffermehl’s piece criticizing the Nobel committee’s procedures for picking laureates. And there’s our review essay about Heffermehl’s book. What do you think—would Alfred Nobel have awarded the prize to Liu Xiaobo?

Peace Magazine Jan-Mar 2011

Peace Magazine Jan-Mar 2011, page 4. Some rights reserved.

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