Prescription #8 of “Some Prescriptions For Productive Goals” is : Work steadfastly and conscientiously toward preventing violence.
Preventing violence has been a theme in many diverse contexts throughout history. Preventing violence can magnify many positive human qualities.
Preventing violence or harm to a child is at least an apparent concrete surface aspect of “The Judgement Of Solomon” (Hebrew Bible, 1 Kings 3:16-28), “Circle of Chalk” (by Li Xingdao, reportedly written in time period of Yuan Dynasty, 1259–1368) and “The Caucasian Chalk Circle” (by Bertolt Brecht, written in 1944). Preventing violence in these examples does appear to at least pierce and reveal underlying care and concern of adults for children in contexts of what appear to be child custody disputes.
“Every year since 1901 the Nobel Prize has been awarded for achievements in physics, chemistry, physiology or medicine, literature and for peace. The Nobel Prize is an international award administered by the Nobel Foundation in Stockholm, Sweden. In 1968, Sveriges Riksbank established The Sveriges Riksbank Prize in Economic Sciences in Memory of Alfred Nobel, founder of the Nobel Prize. Each prize consists of a medal, personal diploma, and a cash award. (“About the Nobel Prizes”. Nobelprize.org. 7 Oct 2011 https://www.nobelprize.org/nobel_prizes/about/)
“Alfred Nobel (1833-1896) was born in Stockholm, Sweden, on October 21, 1833. His family was descended from Olof Rudbeck, the best-known technical genius in Sweden in the 17th century, an era in which Sweden was a great power in northern Europe. Nobel was fluent in several languages, and wrote poetry and drama. Nobel was also very interested in social and peace-related issues, and held views that were considered radical during his time.” (“Biographical Information”. Nobelprize.org. 7 Oct 2011 https://www.nobelprize.org/alfred_nobel/biographical/)
“On November 27, 1895, Alfred Nobel signed his last will in Paris. When it was opened and read after his death, the will caused a lot of controversy both in Sweden and internationally, as Nobel had left much of his wealth for the establishment of a prize! His family opposed the establishment of the Nobel Prize, and the prize awarders he named refused to do what he had requested in his will. It was five years before the first Nobel Prize could be awarded in 1901.” (“The Will”. Nobelprize.org. 7 Oct 2011 https://www.nobelprize.org/alfred_nobel/will/)
Here is an exerpt from the Will of Alfred Nobel :
“The whole of my remaining realizable estate shall be dealt with in the following way: the capital, invested in safe securities by my executors, shall constitute a fund, the interest on which shall be annually distributed in the form of prizes to those who, during the preceding year, shall have conferred the greatest benefit on mankind. The said interest shall be divided into five equal parts, which shall be apportioned as follows: one part to the person who shall have made the most important discovery or invention within the field of physics; one part to the person who shall have made the most important chemical discovery or improvement; one part to the person who shall have made the most important discovery within the domain of physiology or medicine; one part to the person who shall have produced in the field of literature the most outstanding work in an ideal direction; and one part to the person who shall have done the most or the best work for fraternity between nations, for the abolition or reduction of standing armies and for the holding and promotion of peace congresses. The prizes for physics and chemistry shall be awarded by the Swedish Academy of Sciences; that for physiological or medical work by the Caroline Institute in Stockholm; that for literature by the Academy in Stockholm, and that for champions of peace by a committee of five persons to be elected by the Norwegian Storting. It is my express wish that in awarding the prizes no consideration whatever shall be given to the nationality of the candidates, but that the most worthy shall receive the prize, whether he be a Scandinavian or not…” (“Full text of Alfred Nobel’s Will”. Nobelprize.org. 7 Oct 2011 https://www.nobelprize.org/alfred_nobel/will/will-full.html)
“Since 1901, the Nobel Prize has been honoring men and women from all corners of the globe for outstanding achievements in physics, chemistry, medicine, literature, and for work in peace. The foundations for the prize were laid in 1895 when Alfred Nobel wrote his last will, leaving much of his wealth to the establishment of the Nobel Prize. But who was Alfred Nobel? Articles, photographs, a slide show and poetry written by Nobel himself are presented here to give a glimpse of a man whose varied interests are reflected in the prize he established. Meet Alfred Nobel – scientist, inventor, entrepreneur, author and pacifist.” (“Alfred Nobel”. Nobelprize.org. 7 Oct 2011 https://www.nobelprize.org/alfred_nobel/)
In “Alfred Nobel’s Thoughts about War and Peace” by Sven Tägil: “When Alfred Nobel’s will was made known after his death in San Remo on 10 December 1896, and when it was disclosed that he had established a special peace prize, this immediately created a great international sensation. The name Nobel was connected with explosives and with inventions useful to the art of making war, but certainly not with questions related to peace…According to the Austrian countess Bertha von Suttner, Alfred Nobel, as early as their first meeting in Paris in 1876, had expressed his wish to produce material or a machine which would have such a devastating effect that war from then on, would be impossible. The point about deterrence later appeared among Nobel’s ideas. In 1891, he commented on his dynamite factories by saying to the countess: ‘Perhaps my factories will put an end to war sooner than your congresses: on the day that two army corps can mutually annihilate each other in a second, all civilised nations will surely recoil with horror and disband their troops’…he gave expression to the prevalent 19th century understanding which maintained, that the scientist was not responsible for how his findings were used. Each scholarly discovery is neutral in itself, but can be used both for good and bad objectives. And when it was applied to weapons, Nobel held firm to his old opinion that this had a deterrent effect above all…The problem of the inventor’s and scientist’s social responsibility was taken up by Albert Einstein in a speech in 1945, after the atom bombs were dropped over Japan in August of that year. Einstein pointed out that the physicists in 1945 were in a situation which much resembled that in which Alfred Nobel once found himself. Einstein drew his conclusion from this: ‘Alfred Nobel invented an explosive more powerful than any then known — an exceedingly effective means of destruction. To atone for this ‘accomplishment’ and to relieve his conscience, he instituted his award for the promotion of peace.’…” (“Alfred Nobel’s Thoughts about War and Peace”. Nobelprize.org. 7 Oct 2011 https://www.nobelprize.org/alfred_nobel/biographical/articles/tagil/index.html)
Interestingly, the reader may know at least some of the following about Albert Einstein : “The Nobel Prize in Physics 1921 was awarded to Albert Einstein ‘for his services to Theoretical Physics, and especially for his discovery of the law of the photoelectric effect’. Albert Einstein received his Nobel Prize one year later, in 1922. During the selection process in 1921, the Nobel Committee for Physics decided that none of the year’s nominations met the criteria as outlined in the will of Alfred Nobel. According to the Nobel Foundation’s statutes, the Nobel Prize can in such a case be reserved until the following year, and this statute was then applied. Albert Einstein therefore received his Nobel Prize for 1921 one year later, in 1922.” (“The Nobel Prize in Physics 1921”. Nobelprize.org. 7 Oct 2011 https://www.nobelprize.org/nobel_prizes/physics/laureates/1921/index.html)
In the article, Mohatma Gandhi, the Missing Laureate, by Øyvind Tønnesson, Nobelprize.org Peace Editor, 1998-2000, first reportedly published 12-1-99 : “Mohandas Gandhi (1869-1948) has become the strongest symbol of non-violence in the 20th century. It is widely held – in retrospect – that the Indian national leader should have been the very man to be selected for the Nobel Peace Prize…Gandhi was nominated in 1937, 1938, 1939, 1947 and, finally, a few days before he was murdered in January 1948. The omission has been publicly regretted by later members of the Nobel Committee…In South Africa Gandhi worked to improve living conditions for the Indian minority. This work, which was especially directed against increasingly racist legislation, made him develop a strong Indian and religious commitment, and a will to self-sacrifice. With a great deal of success he introduced a method of non-violence in the Indian struggle for basic human rights. The method, satyagraha – ‘truth force’ – was highly idealistic; without rejecting the rule of law as a principle, the Indians should break those laws which were unreasonable or suppressive. Each individual would have to accept punishment for having violated the law. However, he should, calmly, yet with determination, reject the legitimacy of the law in question. This would, hopefully, make the adversaries – first the South African authorities, later the British in India – recognise the unlawfulness of their legislation….”(“Mahatma Gandhi, the Missing Laureate”. Nobelprize.org. 7 Oct 2011 https://www.nobelprize.org/nobel_prizes/peace/articles/gandhi/)
Here is an excerpt from (“Martin Luther King – Acceptance Speech”. Nobelprize.org. 5 Oct 2011 https://www.nobelprize.org/nobel_prizes/peace/laureates/1964/king-acceptance.html) “Martin Luther King’s Acceptance Speech, on the occasion of the award of the Nobel Peace Prize in Oslo, December 10, 1964
Your Majesty, Your Royal Highness, Mr. President, Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen:
I accept the Nobel Prize for Peace at a moment when 22 million Negroes of the United States of America are engaged in a creative battle to end the long night of racial injustice. I accept this award on behalf of a civil rights movement which is moving with determination and a majestic scorn for risk and danger to establish a reign of freedom and a rule of justice. I am mindful that only yesterday in Birmingham, Alabama, our children, crying out for brotherhood, were answered with fire hoses, snarling dogs and even death. I am mindful that only yesterday in Philadelphia, Mississippi, young people seeking to secure the right to vote were brutalized and murdered. And only yesterday more than 40 houses of worship in the State of Mississippi alone were bombed or burned because they offered a sanctuary to those who would not accept segregation. I am mindful that debilitating and grinding poverty afflicts my people and chains them to the lowest rung of the economic ladder.
Therefore, I must ask why this prize is awarded to a movement which is beleaguered and committed to unrelenting struggle; to a movement which has not won the very peace and brotherhood which is the essence of the Nobel Prize.
After contemplation, I conclude that this award which I receive on behalf of that movement is a profound recognition that nonviolence is the answer to the crucial political and moral question of our time – the need for man to overcome oppression and violence without resorting to violence and oppression. Civilization and violence are antithetical concepts. Negroes of the United States, following the people of India, have demonstrated that nonviolence is not sterile passivity, but a powerful moral force which makes for social transformation. Sooner or later all the people of the world will have to discover a way to live together in peace, and thereby transform this pending cosmic elegy into a creative psalm of brotherhood. If this is to be achieved, man must evolve for all human conflict a method which rejects revenge, aggression and retaliation. The foundation of such a method is love…”
The Nobel Peace Prize 2010 was awarded to Liu Xiaobo “for his long and non-violent struggle for fundamental human rights in China” (“The Nobel Peace Prize 2010”. Nobelprize.org. 7 Oct 2011 https://www.nobelprize.org/nobel_prizes/peace/laureates/2010/). The recipient :
(“Liu Xiaobo – Biographical”. Nobelprize.org. 7 Oct 2011 https://www.nobelprize.org/nobel_prizes/peace/laureates/2010/xiaobo.html):
“Liu Xiaobo, a prominent independent intellectual in China, is a long-time advocate of political reform and human rights in China and an outspoken critic of the Chinese communist regime; Liu has been detained, put under house arrest and imprisoned many times for his writing and activism. According to his lawyers’ defence statement in his 2009 trial, Liu has written nearly 800 essays, 499 of them since 2005. Liu is a drafter and a key proponent of Charter 08….”
The identified press release shows :
“The Norwegian Nobel Committee has decided to award the Nobel Peace Prize for 2010 to Liu Xiaobo for his long and non-violent struggle for fundamental human rights in China. The Norwegian Nobel Committee has long believed that there is a close connection between human rights and peace. Such rights are a prerequisite for the ‘fraternity between nations’ of which Alfred Nobel wrote in his will…”
“The Nobel Peace Prize 2011 was awarded jointly to Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, Leymah Gbowee and Tawakkul Karman ‘for their non-violent struggle for the safety of women and for women’s rights to full participation in peace-building work’.” (“The Nobel Peace Prize 2011”. Nobelprize.org. 7 Oct 2011 https://www.nobelprize.org/nobel_prizes/peace/laureates/2011/) The autobiographies of these recipients were not completed as of the time of this writing (which is the day they received the awards) on the Nobelprize.org web site.
However, the author was able to obtain the following :
(Leymah Gbowee – Interview”. Nobelprize.org. 7 Oct 2011 https://www.nobelprize.org/nobel_prizes/peace/laureates/2011/gbowee-interview.html)
“Telephone interview with Leymah Gbowee immediately following the announcement of the 2011 Nobel Peace Prize, 7 October 2011. The interviewer is Adam Smith, Editorial Director of Nobel Media.
[Leymah Gbowee] Hello?
[Adam Smith] Hello. May I speak to Leymah Gbowee please?
[LG] Leymah speaking.
[AS] Oh, hello! My name’s Adam Smith. I’m calling from the official website of the Nobel Prize in Stockholm, Sweden.
[AS] … Congratulations on the award.
[JG] Thank you, sir. Thank you very much.
[AS] Thank you, it’s wonderful news. We have a tradition of recording just tiny interviews on the telephone with new Laureates. Would you speak to me for just two minutes?
[AS] Thank you. May I ask what message you hope this prize sends to the world?
[JG] That the other 50 percent of the world – the women of the world – that their skills, talents and intelligence should be utilized. And I think this message is a resounding agreement to all of our advocacies over the years. That truly women have a place, truly women have a face and truly the world has not been functioning well without the input, in every sphere, of women.
[AS] That’s a wonderful message, thank you. And may I ask, when you were protesting for the end of the civil war in Liberia, armed with only white t-shirts, what gave you hope that you would succeed?
[JG] My hope was in those women who came on a daily basis – women who had been broken, women who had been abused, who had watched or observed the worst – their commitment, their perseverance, their passion for bringing peace to Liberia, that was my hope.
[AS] Thank you for speaking to us and congratulations again.
[JG] Thank you.
[AS] Thank you, good bye.”
(Other 2011 prize winners include : The Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine 2011 was divided, one half jointly to Bruce A. Beutler and Jules A. Hoffmann “for their discoveries concerning the activation of innate immunity”and the other half to Ralph M. Steinman “for his discovery of the dendritic cell and its role in adaptive immunity”. [“The Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine 2011”. Nobelprize.org. 7 Oct 2011 https://www.nobelprize.org/nobel_prizes/medicine/laureates/2011/index.html] The Nobel Prize in Literature for 2011 is awarded to the Swedish poet Tomas Tranströmer ‘because, through his condensed, translucent images, he gives us fresh access to reality’. [“The Nobel Prize in Literature 2011 – Press Release”. Nobelprize.org. 7 Oct 2011 https://www.nobelprize.org/nobel_prizes/literature/laureates/2011/press.html] “5 October 2011 The Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences has decided to award the Nobel Prize in Chemistry for 2011 to Dan Shectman Technion – Israel Institute of Technology, Haifa, Israel “for the discovery of quasicrystals” [“The Nobel Prize in Chemistry 2011 – Press Release”. Nobelprize.org. 7 Oct 2011 https://www.nobelprize.org/nobel_prizes/chemistry/laureates/2011/press.html] “The Sveriges Riksbank Prize in Economic Sciences in Memory of Alfred Nobel 2011” “The Prize has not been awarded yet. It will be announced on Monday 10 October, 1:00 p.m. CET at the earliest.” [“The Prize in Economic Sciences 2011”. Nobelprize.org. 7 Oct 2011 https://www.nobelprize.org/nobel_prizes/economics/laureates/2011/])
According to the World Health Organization (www.who.int/topics/violence/en/): “Violence is the intentional use of physical force or power, threatened or actual, against oneself, another person, or against a group or community, which either results in in or has a high likelihood of resulting in injury, death, psychological harm, maldevelopment, or deprivation.”
From The World Health Organization (WHO) Web Site (www.who.int/features/factfiles/violence/en/) , The Title is “Violence costs billions each year” : “23 September 2011 — Every year, more than 1.5 million people worldwide lose their lives to violence. Violence is an enormous burden on national economies, costing countries billions of US dollars each year in health care, law enforcement and lost productivity. WHO works with partners to prevent violence through proven strategies.”
The WHO web site also identifies “10 facts about violence prevention” (www.who.int/features/violence_injuries/en/):
“Updated September 2011
Each year, more than 1.5 million people worldwide lose their lives to violence. For every person who dies as a result of violence, many more are injured and suffer from a range of physical, sexual, reproductive and mental health problems. Violence places a massive burden on national economies, costing countries billions of US dollars each year in health care, law enforcement and lost productivity. WHO works with partners to prevent violence through scientifically credible strategies.”
Some additional facts according to the WHO web site include : “Suicide and homicide account for 80% of violence-related deaths…just over half die by their own hand, over 35% because of injuries inflicted intentionally by another person, and over 11% as a direct result of war or some other form of collective violence. 90% of deaths due to violence occur in low- and middle-income countries…Violence mainly impacts young, economically productive people…The health impact of violence is not limited to physical injury. Long term can include depression, mental disorders, suicide attempts, chronic pain syndromes, unwanted pregnancy, HIV/AIDS, and other sexually transmitted infections…Violence is preventable and its impacts can be reduced. Proven and promising violence prevention strategies addressing underlying causes sch as low levels of education, harsh and inconsistent parenting, concentrated poverty, unemployment, and social norms supported by violence…Individuals can benefit from violence prevention programmes in schools…Promoting positive nurturing relationships within families can prevent violence…providing training for parents on child development, non-violent discipline and problem solving skills;…Community programmes can play a role in preventing violence…Societies can prevent violence by reducing risks such as alcohol, guns, and economic and gender inequality…”
From the WHO web site : “Download all-in-one document Violence prevention: the evidence pdf, 2.36Mb Download briefings and the overview separately Overview Download [pdf 1.35Mb] Preventing violence through the development of safe, stable and nurturing relationships between children and their parents and caregivers Download [pdf 484kb] Preventing violence by developing life skills in children and adolescents Download [pdf 353kb] Preventing violence by reducing the availability and harmful use of alcohol Download [pdf 632kb] Guns, knives and pesticides: reducing access to lethal means Download [pdf 382kb] Promoting gender equality to prevent violence against women Download [pdf 591kb] Changing cultural and social norms that support violence Download [pdf 933kb Reducing violence through victim identification, care and support programmes Download [pdf 286kb]”
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