November 13th, 2017

Nobel Peace Prize for the nuclear disarmament group ICAN

I missed this news when it happened, about a month ago:

A nuclear disarmament group has won the 2017 Nobel Peace Prize for its decade-long campaign to rid the world of the atomic bomb.

As nuclear-fuelled crises swirl over North Korea and Iran, the International Campaign To Abolish Nuclear Weapons (ICAN) was awarded the honour on Friday.

“The organisation is receiving the award for its work to draw attention to the catastrophic humanitarian consequences of any use of nuclear weapons and for its ground-breaking efforts to achieve a treaty-based prohibition of such weapons,” said Norway’s Nobel committee president Berit Reiss-Andersen.

The Nobel Peace Prize has been awarded to a great many recipients who are all hat, no cattle, as they say in Texas. This one seems to be in that mold.

But I want to give them a fair shake. After all, who on earth would disagree with the idea that nuclear weapons, if used on humans, have “catastropic humanitarian consequences”? They had such consequences from the very start, in Hiroshima and Nagasaki (although those bombings may have prevented even greater humanitarian catastrophes, something often denied or ignored by the pro-disarmament forces). And the use of nuclear weapons could have even greater negative consequences in terms of carnage because if they were to be used now they might be used in greater numbers and spark more retaliation.

So, trying to keep an open mind, I attempted to understand what Nobel-winner ICAN (interesting acronym) and its director were actually proposing for enforcement of any such “treaty-based prohibition.” So far I haven’t found the answer, but I found this:

Beatrice Fihn, the leader of the grassroots ICAN organisation, was “delighted” with the prize, adding that US President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un should “know that nuclear weapons are illegal”.

I’m sure that will deter them from having them or using them, particularly Kim Jong-un.

Later in the article Fihn is quoted as giving this even more detailed message to Trump and Jong-un:

Asked for her message to Trump and Jong-un, ICAN’s Executive Director Beatrice Fihn said: “Nuclear weapons are illegal. Threatening to use nuclear weapons is illegal. Having nuclear weapons, possessing nuclear weapons, developing nuclear weapons, is illegal, and they need to stop.”

Fihn makes Don Quixote look like a hard-nosed realist; I begin to wonder whether she’s actually a lunatic. But instead, it occurs to me that this is probably one of those post-modern “words are everything and if you can change the word you can change the world” campaigns so popular on the left, and that the Nobel Prize committee (as it did with Barack Obama’s prize) is now committed to awarding the honor to wordsmiths who utter words that make them feel good.

But I kept trying to determine whether there was more to Fihn and ICAN than met my eye at first. That’s when I came across this Atlantic article that discusses Fihn’s viewpoint in greater depth [emphasis mine]:

Fihn leads the Geneva-based International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons, which just won the Nobel Peace Prize for mobilizing more than 120 countries to approve a United Nations treaty banning signatories from using, developing, or supporting activities related to nuclear weapons. (The treaty is now open for signatures and will become international law if at least 50 countries ratify it.) Fihn figures that if humans created nuclear weapons and attached significance to them, they are just as capable of destroying these weapons by assigning them a different meaning.

So there it is again.

Actually, I’m very familiar with this technique because it’s used a great deal in family therapy, and can be quite effective there. But in the therapy field it’s called “reframing”: re-labeling the behavior of some spouse or relative or friend and giving it a less pernicious interpretation, which can soften the anger or modify the hopelessness that is leading to a stalemate.

Sure enough, I even encountered that word itself later in the article [emphasis mine]:

The big idea behind her campaign is simple: to relentlessly treat nuclear weapons as weapons, not as some “strategic-stability-magic power tool that relates to world peace,” she said. And not just any kind of weapon, but one that belongs in a class that, by indiscriminately targeting civilians, violates international law and has repeatedly been shunned in international treaties prohibiting biological weapons, chemical weapons, cluster munitions, and landmines.

Nuclear weapons are often described with language that obscures the ugly reality of what is under discussion…

While emerging powers such as Brazil, Indonesia, Mexico, and South Africa have signed the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons, Fihn has yet to persuade any nuclear-weapons states or their treaty allies—including NATO members, Japan, and South Korea, which count on protection from their nuclear-armed partners—to support the initiative. She’s even struggling to secure the backing of countries that are more loosely allied with nuclear-weapons states but still hesitant to break with them, like her native Sweden. (“New opinion poll: 9/10 Swedes want Sweden to sign the #NuclearBan,” Fihn recently tweeted. “Who gets to decide over Swedish policy? Its people or the United States?”)

But Fihn claims she doesn’t need these holdouts, at least not right away. Her goal is to “reframe the debate” and “set a clear norm that [nuclear weapons are] unacceptable,” and then use the law to effect change.

So there you have it.

Of course, it’s possible—with the current decline of logical thinking as well as the proliferation of idealistic wishful thinking in the Western world—that a lot of people will actually consider that reframe to be the sort of thing that will matter in reality. But the family of nations isn’t anything like a real family—not that the technique of the reframe even works all that reliably with the latter, but it certainly has no chance of working (IMHO) with the former, unless the entire world magically adopts it simultaneously.

Fihn is Swedish, and has a Master’s degree in International Law. She’s also 34 or 35 years old, awfully young. When I first read of her prize and her work, I immediately thought of the authors of the Kellogg-Briand Pact of 1928, one of whom received the Nobel Peace Prize in 1929 for work on that agreement to ban war. I wrote about the Kellogg-Briand Pact here, and if you want to see what happened with that Pact (besides World War II, of course) have a read. But Kellogg and Briand were far more realistic about what they were doing and its chances of success than Fihn is, and far older as well as more experienced in the ways of the world, when they engineered their own unenforceable agreement to end war.

12 Responses to “Nobel Peace Prize for the nuclear disarmament group ICAN”

  1. T Says:

    ” . . . “words are everything and if you can change the word you can change the world” campaigns so popular on the left, and that the Nobel Prize committee (as it did with Barack Obama’s prize) is now committed to awarding the honor to wordsmiths who utter words that make them feel good.” [Neo]

    That’s why the Nobels out of Oslo (Peace, Literature, and Economics) are considered the “soft” Nobel Prizes as compared to the hard science awards out of Stockholm. With recipients like Paul Krugman, Yassar Arafat, Barack Obama,, what argument could be made otherwise?

  2. expat Says:

    Lots of things are illegal: murder, rape, theft. They still exist and we still need law enforcement to protect us. Maybe she should spend some time walking around Malmo at night to understand the world a bit better.

  3. Tim W Says:

    “Illegal?” Meaningless. Like those “nuclear free zone” banners I used to see in Germany during the Cold War.

    Good luck with that.

  4. Cornflour Says:

    I wouldn’t be at all surprised if this view is adopted by Democratic Party ideologues. In academia, it’s already common. Remember when unilateral disarmament was a popular position?

    Next stop: for Americans, there’s no right of response to a nuclear attack. Self-defense is acceptable, otherwise casualties are the natural consequence of our sins against people of color.

  5. Lurch Says:

    Because WWI was so wonderful without The Bomb.

    Their motto should be “Make War Great Again!”.

  6. Gordon Says:

    The peace prize is awarded by a subcommittee of the Norwegian parliament. Considering the size and makeup, that’s like having the Minnesota state house of representatives do it.

  7. arfldgrs Says:

    dont worry, you miss a lot..

    Mahatma Gandhi never won the Nobel Peace Prize / Beginning in 1937, Indian leader Mohandas Gandhi was nominated for the award five times. His final nomination came just weeks after his assassination in January 1948. (and that was his last chance given the rules)

    Rather than use a rule that would have allowed this, they instead gave NO PRIZE that year, saying there were no “suitable living candidates”

    When the Dalai Lama was awarded the peace prize in 1989, he announced that he was accepting the award, in part, as a tribute to Gandhi. And, in 2006, more than 50 years after Gandhi’s death, the Nobel Committee itself publicly acknowledged the omission, expressing regret that Gandhi had never been awarded the prize

    Einstein’s ex-wife got his Nobel Prize money.

    and you would be amazed that such things were made invisable or struck from history as if Stalin ordered. it.

    Someone else has to nominate you
    You must be alive at the time of your nomination
    If you are nominated, you’ll likely never know unless you win
    There are more than 200 initial nominees for the various awards each year, a number that is narrowed down by a selection committee to a shortlist

    Technically, the Economics award is not really a Nobel Prize.

    and its now dominated by communist thinkers and such..
    ie. you really cant get an award unless your communist

    Malala Yousafzai, the 17-year-old Pakistani female education activist, shot and wounded but never silenced by the Taliban, became the youngest ever Nobel Peace Prize recipient.

    she is communist.. they never pointed it out, did they?

    Dorothy Crowfoot Hodgkin got one, but she is also, communist
    Her prize was awarded for her pioneering work in protein crystallography. [same area my granmother worked in when the feminists said you couldnt, 30 years before Hodgkin]

    She studied chemistry at Somerville College, Oxford, but moved to Cambridge University in 1932 to work on the development of X-ray crystallography with famous communist scientist J D Bernal. The couple had a close personal and political relationship.

    Over the next four years Hodgkin and Bernal produced a dozen joint crystallographic papers. They also shared a Marxist view of the world. The two were part of what at the time was often known as Red Science.

    anyone remember this? your old enough..

    Novelist and chemist C P Snow told communist historian Eric Hobsbawm that if they took a poll of a couple of hundred of the brightest young British scientists in the mid 1930s, they would have found around 15 Communist Party members, a good 50 more on the left and a hundred more proud of their leftist views.

    Her published letters show that neither she, nor her husband, nor Bernal had much time for conventional relationships.

    Her new husband would become an Oxford lecturer, a member of the Communist Party and an advisor to Kwame Nkrumah, who took the Gold Coast, later Ghana, to independence from British rule. Hodgkin and her husband would spend much time with Nkrumah, often described as the Lenin of Africa, in Ghana.

    One was Pablo Picasso. At a gathering the artist drew a large dove of peace on Bernal’s sitting room wall. Today the drawing can be seen at London’s Wellcome Collection.

    She was only the second woman to receive the Order of Merit in 1965 – the first was Florence Nightingale. [florence is HATED by the feminists… Now if I were to write a book out of my experience, I should begin Women have no sympathy. Yours is the tradition. Mine is the conviction of experience. And she points out how the men have it and women dont… big big thing that neo will cut down… so i don bother.

    Hodgkin was awarded the Soviet Union’s Lenin Peace Prize in 1987

    you will find a lot of them are part of the pacifist or have organizations in which the winning of the prize brought lots of money to communist or socialist favored things (and makes it more ligitimate, the way 15000 unammed scientists make crap science seem ok)

    one only needs to know the politics of people to know who is more likely to be picked

    1905 – Bertha von Suttner [Austrian countess and best-selling author, Bertha von Suttner, dedicated her life to peace. She was a leading member of the pacifist movement – which was mostly part of the communist movement with lots of involvement of the commiterm later]

    1931 – Jane Addams [ Jane Addams presided over the fifth biennial congress of the Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom at Dublin Ireland in July 1926. She is international president of this organization. Her reputation as a radical pacifist is well known. Previous to this she, with other pacifists “The Daily Worker” which is the official mouthpiece of the Workers (Communist) Party of America, on May 19th printed an advertisement that Jane Addams Hull House was given over for a meeting on the Passaic strike and this meeting was addressed by no less a notorious communist than F.G. Biedenkapp National Secretary of the International Workers’ Aid, which is [a] subsidiary organization of the Workers (Communist) Party of America – there is so much i cant even make a list]

    1946 – Emily Greene Balch – not communist given the times [interesting speech: Toward Human Unity or Beyond Nationalism // In the political field this consciousness of the common interest and of the rich possibilities of common action has embodied itself in part in the great movements toward economic democracy, cooperation, democratic socialism, and communism. I am sure we make a great mistake if we underrate the element of unselfish idealism in these historic movements which are today writing history at such a rate.

    A dark and terrible side of this sense of community of interests is the fear of a horrible common destiny which in these days of atomic weapons darkens men’s minds all around the globe.

    [leo suskind points out that one of the goals of the communists was the idea that nuclear war cant be fought and the communists were behind the disarmament movement big time ands till are.. ]

    1976 – Betty Williams [for her work as a cofounder of Community of Peace People, an organisation dedicated to promoting a peaceful resolution to the Troubles in Northern Ireland. – take a look who is in it, its a whose who of the pacifist communist movement, including Gorbachev]

    1976 – Mairead Corrigan [got the award with betty]

    1979 – Mother Teresa [probably NOT: SOVIET GETS A PLEA BY MOTHER TERESA ny times: Mother Teresa, the Roman Catholic nun who has built a small empire of good works, arrived in Moscow today and said she hoped the Soviet Government would let her set up a charity mission near Chernobyl. The Soviet Committee for the Defense of Peace, which invited Mother Teresa, is a state-approved organization that promotes the official Soviet view on arms control and sponsors exchanges with peace groups in other countries. ]

    1982 – Alva Myrdal [a Swedish sociologist and politician. She, along with Alfonso Garcia Robles, received the Nobel Peace Prize in 1982. She married Gunnar Myrdal in 1924. see Gunnar Myrdal and America’s Conscience: Social Engineering and Racial …
    By Walter A. Jackson // Gunnar Myrdal is a pip… you would not believe who he is, but jan myrdal helped arrange communist festivals and father said he was a problem child that hsi communism was a rebelloin to them… maybe. Gunnar worked with Hayek. yes, THAT hayek who won a prize too…]

    1991 – Aung San Suu Kyi [The year of the election win, China’s Communist Party invited Suu Kyi and members of her party, the National League for Democracy, to Beijing, where she received a warm welcome, judging from online comments.]

    that old code word league… like peoples… etc.

    1992 – Rigoberta Menchú Tum [Leftist icon who falsely claimed to be the writer of an autobiography which was later found to be authored by the French Marxist, Elisabeth Burgos-Debray Served as a Communist agent working for the terrorists who were ultimately responsible for the deaths of her own family members]

    1997 – Jody Williams [was with the othes aboe having to do with related organizations. she was the first Nobel Peace Prize laureate to be allowed to visit Suu Kyi / Williams’s skepticism deepened when Suu Kyi visited New York, in 2012, and met with members of an N.G.O. that Williams had co-founded. “She was hostile to any question about human rights in her country,” Williams told me, recalling how a young Burmese activist had been dismayed after Suu Kyi stormed out of the meeting.]

    ‘The Right Side of History’
    Read more at:
    Article opens with an image of Che
    Lately, “the right side of history” is everywhere. We have long had the phrase. But people are doubling down, or tripling down, on their use of it. A close cousin of this phrase is “the tide of history” — a tide not to be resisted. When Jody Williams won the Nobel peace prize in 1997 for her campaign to ban landmines, she said that President Clinton was “outside the tide of history”

    Robert Conquest, the British historian, notes that “the right side of history” has a “Marxist twang.” (He knows a thing or two about twangs, being married to a wonderful Texan.) Andrew Roberts, another British historian, says that “the right side of history” is “profoundly Marxian,” although the phrase is used by people of varying political stripes. (its an old communist phrase that originally comes from marx, but note, no one says that, they give “opinions” instead so cant be wrong, and you wont check]

    2003 – Shirin Ebadi [The awarding of the 2003 Noble Peace Prize to Shirin Ebadi has become a hot issue in the international as well as domestic political circles in Iran. Everyone knows that the decision of the Noble Peace Committee is political in the same way that giving the award to Henry Kissinger, Yitzhak Rabin and others was based on political calculations. The award to Shirin Ebadi is linked more to the policy of European governments towards political developments in Iran than to Shirin Ebadi herself. – Worker-communist Party of Iran 11 October 2003 ]

    2004 – Wangari Maathai [the founder of the Green Belt Movement // The Green Belt Movement is an indigenous grassroots non-governmental organization based in Nairobi, Kenya that takes a holistic approach to development by focusing on environmental conservation, community development and capacity building – basically like the innocents clubs… ]

    2011 – Ellen Johnson Sirleaf [Ellen Johnson Sirleaf Paved the Way for Hillary Clinton and Others // Two women ran for President on the Equal Rights Party ticket in the late nineteenth century – Victoria Claflin Woodhull in 1872 and Belva Ann Bennett Lockwood in 1884 and 1888. But only in 1964 did a woman, Margaret Chase Smith, have her name placed in nomination by a major party. Since then eight women have sought the nomination on major party ballots. But smaller parties, among them the American Woman’s Party, the Communist Party, the Socialist Workers Party, the Green Party and tiny idiosyncratic groups such as the Looking Back Party have fielded more than thirty women for the country’s highest office. Guess]

    2011 – Leymah Gbowee [Liberian peace activist known for rallying women to pressure leaders into ending Liberia’s civil war]

    2011 – Tawakkol Karman [The Nobel Peace Prize laureate and human rights advocate Tawakkol Karman has mourned passing of Sudan’s veteran communist and female leader Fatima Ahmed Ibrahim]

  8. arfldgrs Says:

    Top 10 Nobel Peace Prize embarrassments

    Consider the long history of Nobel Peace Prize embarrassments:

    Aung San Suu Kyi: In 1991, the Nobel committee awarded Suu Kyi its prize “for her non-violent struggle for democracy and human rights.” She cut a sympathetic figure: a woman who won a democratic election only to have Burma’s military junta strip it away and place her under house arrest. For more than two decades, her fate became the metric by which Western diplomats and human rights activists judged Burma. Today, however, as Burma’s chief minister, she is both the face for a regime conducting ethnic cleansing and its chief apologist.
    Yasser Arafat: The Palestine Liberation Organization chairman shared the prize in 1994 for agreeing to the Oslo Accords during which he foreswore terrorism and recognized Israel. The only problem was that, for Arafat, such words were meaningless. More Israelis died in PLO-sponsored terrorist attacks in the months after the Oslo Accords came into force compared to the months before. Captured documents show Arafat personally ordered and paid for terrorist attacks subsequent to his prize. The icing on the cake wasn’t his embezzlement of billions of dollars in international aid; rather, it was that his own negotiators agreed to a final peace deal with Israel only to have Arafat walk away.
    Tawakkol Karman: Most people have already forgotten about this 2011 co-recipient and Yemeni political activist. At the time the youngest Nobel Peace laureate, the Norwegian committee explicitly said they picked Karman in order to show that the Muslim Brotherhood (she belonged to an affiliate group) was a productive partner for peace. Alas, while Karman did not hesitate to speak up against the Yemeni dictatorship’s abuses, she was conspicuously silent in the face of Islamist violence, even when Taliban terrorists shot 14-year-old girls’ rights advocate (and future laureate herself) Malala Yousefzai in the face. It seems a truism for too many recent Nobel laureates: peace is a worthy objective for those like them, but those who oppose their political desires deserve no such consideration.
    Desmond Tutu: That brings us to South African Bishop and 1984 laureate Desmond Tutu, who won the prize for his worthy advocacy against South Africa’s Apartheid regime. In subsequent years, however, Tutu’s soft spot for terrorist groups such as Hamas and his robust anti-Semitism bubbled to the surface. It’s not just his branding as racist the idea that the Jews should have a state of their own; he has also embraced and endorsed Hamas activists calling for genocide against Jews. And, he has minimized the Holocaust by pointing out that at least Nazi gas chambers allowed the Jews a “neater death” than that suffered by blacks in Apartheid South Africa. Tutu may have been right to fight apartheid, but not even the Nobel Prize will be enough to purify his own anti-Semitism and bigotry.
    Jimmy Carter: The 39th president is widely applauded as a peace-maker, although many of those whom he is credited bringing to the table privately say they made peace despite his sometimes complicating interventions rather than because of them. No matter, give the man his due: He did encourage, if not shepherd through, peace between Israel and Egypt, the largest Arab country. Behind-the-scenes, though, Carter has a habit of siding with dictators and interceding in ways which make matters worse. He has long supported Zimbabwe’s brutal dictator Robert Mugabe and, as I show in Dancing with the Devil: The Perils of Engaging Rogue Regimes, from his very first foreign policy speech as a candidate for president, he has encouraged the North Korean regime to expect reward for terror and defiance.Indeed, his 1994 interventions in Pyongyang above and beyond what President Bill Clinton approved undercut what may have been the last, best chance to stop North Korea’s nuclear program. None of that compares to his own dishonesty, however, and his shamelessness when caught. In order to launder the Syrian regime’s peacemaking, Carter falsified his own notes, as his then-note-taker demonstrated. Being a Nobel laureate, however, means never saying sorry, even when whitewashing dictators or promoting fictions that cost lives.
    Barack Obama: President Obama won the 2009 Nobel Peace Prize largely on the promise his lofty rhetoric sparked. Eight years later, however, Obama’s decisions poured fuel on the fire of conflicts in Syria, Libya, and Iraq, easily leading to an exponential increase in their death tolls. Once again, it seems the Norwegian Nobel Institute’s decision to award its top prize on the basis of imagination and hope rather than reality and change has a very large cost.
    Kofi Annan: In 2001, UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan shared the peace prize with the organization which he administered. While it’s utterly predictable the Nobel jurists would want to celebrate the United Nations, Annan’s selection should have raised eyebrows. Not only did he preside over the UN’s largest corruption scandal in terms of Iraq’s oil-for-food program, but it was Annan’s fecklessness as the UN official in charge of peacekeeping that enabled the Rwanda genocide to go forward. To Annan’s credit, however, he did ultimately apologize for his Rwanda inaction; small solace for the hundreds of thousands condemned to mass graves.
    Al Gore: The former vice president and runner-up in the 2000 presidential elections won for his environmental activism. That’s all well and good, but Gore’s overstatement of the global warming threat fueled much of the backlash against it. His own personal hypocrisy when it comes to conservation is just the melting icing on the cake.
    The American Friends Service Committee: Who can begrudge the chief NGO of the non-violent Quakers who took home the 1947 prize for their “compassion for others and the desire to help them”? Don’t tell Cambodians that — as the Khmer Rouge massacred 1 million Cambodians, it was the AFSC that denied the genocideand provided cover for the perpetrators.
    Henry Kissinger: Former Secretary of State and National Security Advisor Henry Kissinger might be lionized as a realist and master strategist, but the tally sheet of 1973 Nobel Peace laureate for his work negotiating a ceasefire with North Vietnam is heavily skewed against peace. His decisions led to the deaths of tens of thousands of Cambodians, the betrayal of Kurdish allies, and death squads in Chile. Nor for conservatives who might be inclined to look the other way on the logic that the communists against whom he was maneuvering were far worst, his Vietnam diplomacy condemned millions of South Vietnamese to re-education camps, exploitation, and death.

  9. AesopFan Says:

    arfldgrs Says:
    November 13th, 2017 at 4:27 pm
    Top 10 Nobel Peace Prize embarrassments
    * *
    Thanks for the list.
    I only knew about a few of those, but it was enough to shred any bit of the respect I once had for the Peace Prize.

  10. Frog Says:

    thanks, artfldgrs!

    As to nuclear weapons, it is claimed by Fihn they are “not just any kind of weapon, but one that belongs in a class that, by indiscriminately targeting civilians, violates international law and has repeatedly been shunned in international treaties….”

    To which one must reply, “For God’s sake, Fihn!”

    What is the problem here?

    One should discriminately target civilians? That was done by Bomber Harris in WWII, and before him by Uncle Joe Stalin against the Kulaks, and Genghis Kahn and before him… You get my drift.

    What entity enforces so-called “international law”? To what useful effect?

    A weapon that has “repeatedly been shunned”? This is about shunning? You can’t come to my house, I’m shunning you?

    And where do we start, Ms Fihn? To whom do we give the keys? Shall Pakistan go first? Or North Korea? Iran? Or more gentlemanly nations? Probably you would want Israel to go first, Fihn. Just get them into the gas ovens; all life is finite anyway, so what’s a few years more or less? Especially less.

  11. F Says:

    Any discussion of America’s use of nuclear weapons would be incomplete without pointing out that American bombing raids had created enormous fire storms in German and Japanese cities before the atom bombs were ever dropped. Firestorms in Hamburg, Dresden, and Tokyo were massively destructive and deadly, creating tremendous winds that sucked combustible material into the conflagration and developing blast-furnace-like conditions.

    Air Force General Curtis LeMay has been quoted as saying the March 9, 1945 fire bombing of Tokyo killed more people than both atom bombs that are credited with ending the war. At least 100,000 people were killed in the fire bombing of Tokyo, and another one million injured and left homeless.

    The fear factor of nuclear weapons is that they pack enormous destruction in a single package, but it is entirely possible to do as much damage with other forms of bombing. And bombing is not even necessary: one-third of Rwanda’s population (approximately a million people) was killed or maimed with hoes!

    But the Soviets were afraid of American nuclear capabilities, so they cranked up the international outcry against the technology, as artfldgr has so comprehensively pointed out.

    Finally, I knew Mathari Waangai when I lived in Kenya. She was neither a Communist nor a sympathizer. If anything, she was a woman who recognized that individual women had the capacity — by planting trees (the so-called “green belt movement”) — to change their family’s future. There was also a bit of taking a dig at the president and other men who ran the government, as Maathai and her sisters did more to improve the life of Kenyan farmers than the government did.

  12. Ray Says:

    The right side of history is an old Marxist term. For them history was a metaphysical force that would inevitably result in the victory of scientific socialism. The socialists are undeterred by failure because they know they will inevitably win. You just need the right people in charge.

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