You may say I’m a dreamer, but I’m not the only one.

24 Apr

Some of my favorite living people, all in one spot.  Will anyone listen?

His Holiness, the Dalai Lama is attending the 3-day meeting.  Obama was not there for the first night of this annual meeting and I have found no articles that indicate he will be there at all.  He is busy preparing for the NATO War Monger’s Summit, to be held in the same city in a few weeks.  [Updated note: Obama did not attend the summit; he phoned it in – literally.  He sent a pre-recorded video message to the group.   His absence is notable for several reasons: Chicago is his “hometown”, after all, and not a difficult flight from DC.  Other laureates traveled from across the globe.  The summit lasted for three days – he could not attend for even a few hours on one of those days?  Finally, this is the first time the World Summit of Nobel Peace Laureates has been held in North America, an honor that should have been acknowledged in person by our sitting Nobel “winner”.]

Nobel laureates: War must only be last resort
April 23, 2012, 11:44 p.m. EDT

CHICAGO (AP) — Poverty, a lack of education and arms proliferation present daunting obstacles, yet peace can be achieved if world leaders are more willing to talk and young people are encouraged to get involved, Nobel Peace Prize winners said Monday at their annual meeting.

Former U.S. president Jimmy Carter and former presidents Mikhail Gorbachev of the former Soviet Union and Lech Walesa of Poland were among the peace prize winners in Chicago for the start of the three-day World Summit of Nobel Peace Laureates. The summit comes just weeks before Chicago hosts President Barack Obama, also a Nobel Peace Prize winner, and foreign leaders for the NATO summit, a meeting that is expected to draw large numbers of anti-war protesters. Obama did not attend Monday’s meetings.

Carter said that, as the last global superpower, the U.S. has a responsibility to be a leader in peace efforts and set an example to the rest of the world. Instead, he said, the U.S. is “too inclined to go to war” and is contemplating going to war again, “perhaps in Iran.”

“Humankind has got to say that war comes last” and negotiation comes first, Carter said during a panel discussion with Gorbachev, Walesa and former South African President F.W. de Klerk.

All said that more young people need to adopt the ideals of peace — including human rights, justice and environmental issues — whether it’s in the rest of the world or their own communities.

“We need to be reminded of the standards that the Nobel laureates have always tried to achieve … just because in their own communities they saw a need for change,” Carter said.

But de Klerk said many are vulnerable to bad influences because of poor education, poverty and unemployment.

“They are vulnerable because they have nothing to lose,” he said.

It is the first time the Nobel Peace Prize summit has been held in North America. The Nobel Laureates also toured more than a dozen Chicago Public Schools on Monday.

Former President Bill Clinton [note: NOT one of Teri’s favorite people] gave the keynote address late Monday at the opening night dinner, during which actor Sean Penn was presented with the 2012 Peace Summit Award for his work in Haiti.

Clinton said peace isn’t just the absence of bad things but also when people make good things happen, and said people could choose a world of peace and cooperation. He referred to his personal experiences with Israeli and Palestinian leaders, and conflicts in Yugoslavia and Rwanda while he was president and as head of the Clinton Foundation…

The Nobel summit — titled “Speak Up, Speak Out for Freedom and Rights” — runs through Wednesday.The NATO summit will be held May 20-21 at McCormick Place, and preparations for the meeting of global leaders have been intense. The city has amped up security plans with Chicago police, the Illinois National Guard and state police, as thousands of activists are expected to protest the event. Chicago was also supposed to host the G-8 summit, but the Obama administration moved it to Camp David.


CHICAGO — Former US President Jimmy Carter warned against a possible war with Iran Monday as he decried his nation’s involvement in unjust conflicts at a summit of Nobel Peace Prize laureates in Chicago…

War is only just when it is a “last resort” after “every other possible peaceful resolution” is exhausted, when all efforts are made to protect civilians, when the purpose of the conflict is to make the situation better, not worse, when society in general agrees it is just and when the level of violence is “proportional to the injury received,” he said.

“That would obviously exclude our recent policy of preemptive war,” Carter said in a keynote address.

The United States has been “almost constantly at war” in the past 60 years — in Korea, Vietnam, Cambodia, El Salvador, Libya, Panama, Haiti, Yugoslavia, Iraq, Afghanistan and many others.

“And now we are contemplating going to war again perhaps in Iran,” said the 2002 Nobel Peace Prize winner.

Most of those wars fail to meet the criteria for a just war and “some of them were completely unnecessary.”

Carter said he wished the United States could be seen as a champion of peace, an environmental leader, and the world’s most generous nation when it comes to feeding the hungry and opposing human rights abuses.

“That’s not a hopeless dream,” Carter said.

“Maybe for my generation, yes, maybe for my children’s generation yes, but not for my grandchildren and students who are looking at Nobel laureates and saying what can I do to make this world more peaceful and make sure that all aspects of human rights prevail.”…

[…] While most laureates agreed that war should be a last resort, some opposed sanctions as a means of forcing countries, even North Korea, to change course on nuclear weapons. Embargoes, they said, tend to do more harm to those living under an oppressive regime than to the leaders.

“We need to find a way to feed the starving children in North Korea and, at the same time, not exalt the leaders of North Korea,” Carter said.[…]

Earlier Monday at the UIC Forum, former South African President F.W. de Klerk said the U.S. is not solely responsible for monitoring the world. In some cases, he said, America should step back and listen.

I don’t think the United States, as the only superpower of the world for the time being, should accept the role as policeman of the whole world,” said de Klerk, who shared the Nobel Peace Prize in 1993 with Nelson Mandela for ending apartheid in South Africa.

Mikhail Gorbachev, former president of the Soviet Union, said the world is used to turning to the United States for advice but that people attending his speeches in the U.S. are now asking him what should be done to improve America.

“They give the signal that America does need advice. America does need to listen to what people are saying throughout the world,” said Gorbachev, who won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1990 for his work to end the Cold War. “We must unite and join efforts in a democratic movement.”[…]

Sean Penn has been living in a tent in Haiti since the earthquake and working to help rebuild that country.  Elizabeth Kucinich is on the board of directors for his organization.  His website may be read here:

The following videos are the same thing, but since the youtube version occasionally gets pulled, I am giving a second option for viewing the video.

1 Comment

Posted by on April 24, 2012 in Haiti, peace


One response to “You may say I’m a dreamer, but I’m not the only one.

  1. paxhonu

    April 27, 2012 at 4:01 pm

    Thank you, Teri, for the excellent article, for the link to Sean Penn’s website, and for the beautiful and poignant John and Yoko clip. How wrenchingly sad it all is, this Paradise Lost.

    Maybe Proust was right, that “the only Paradise is Paradise Lost”, but I really do believe we were close again once, and not so very long ago.

    But then our fathers’ cia morphed to the darkest dark side of darth vader, and the usa a MIC death star, before the light faded with the takings of Gandhi, JFK, RFK, MLK, Malcolm, Lennon, Che, and on and on. And our earth bequeathed to corporate capitalism and its banking oligarchy to spoil and destroy as they have and will till it is ended.

    It was gone long before the last Nobel committee puked all over itself in unfortunate eagerness to herald a Change They Obviously Believed In, before that was revealed as a cleverly packaged and cynically sold wrapper hiding the truth of the Obama the Betrayer behind the curtain. They, the committee, as many others of us, must have thought they saw a way back, that “That’s not a hopeless dream”, as you quote Carter above.

    Perhaps there’s a way to rescind that mistake, at least that last mistake of bestowing a peace prize on a lying, murdering, bastard, so his name never again sullies our minds when we celebrate true Nobel Laureates and those such as Sean Penn whom they, in turn, honor.

    Thank you, Teri, for a truly touching piece!



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