Columns / Discourse / October 20, 2010

Voice of Reason: Peaceful dissidents

Many of my columns are filled with dire threats that we are failing to deal with effectively. Though that sort of thing is certainly very important, I think it is good to recognize there are good things happening in the world of current events as well. Foremost among these recently were the annual announcements of the Nobel Prize recipients.

Last year the Nobel Committee inexplicably awarded to The Nobel Peace Prize to Barack Obama, who had been president for all of 12 days when the nomination was made. Regardless of how you feel about President Obama, it is difficult to see how he was the person who did the most to actively promote world peace and understanding while largely campaigning to get himself elected.

This year however, the prize-givers reversed course and bestowed what is arguably the world’s most prestigious award on Chinese democratic activist and political prisoner Liu Xiaobo, who was convicted of “inciting subversion of state power,” which refers to a petition he authored demanding greater respect for free speech in China. This comes in addition to three past imprisonments, for such horrendous crimes as criticizing the Communist Party’s response to the student protests in Tiananmen Square during 1989, when thousands of demonstrators were shot by the army.

Though Mr. Liu remains imprisoned and likely will remain so for the foreseeable future, the push for Chinese democracy has gained international credibility that China’s government cannot contain. Liu Xiaobo has been evaluated to the same level of moral credibility as past Nobel recipients Martin Luther King Jr., Lech Walesa and Mother Teresa, and thus his cause is endorsed just as much as the causes of these luminaries…

Matt Barry
Matt Barry is a senior majoring in international relations and double minoring in economics and German. This is his third year working for TKS, having served previously as discourse editor. He has worked for such organizations as the Chicago Council on Global Affairs, Premier Tourism Marketing and the Council on American Islamic Relations-Chicago, where his work appeared in such publications as Leisure Group Travel, Ski & Ride Club Guide and The Chicago Monitor. Matt has written his political opinion column, "The Voice of Reason," weekly for three years, which finished in first place at the 2012 Illinois College Press Association conference and was also recognized at the 2013 conference.

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