Nobel Lobby Watch 2002

Those peace prizes don’t just materialize out of thin air.

Chatterbox has Nobel fever! Nominations for the Nobel Peace Prize are due Feb. 1, and all around the world national legislators and professors of social science, history, philosophy, law, and theology are being lobbied like mad. Or so Chatterbox assumes; as he noted when the eminently deserving Kim Dae-jung won, the days are long past when eminences sat back quietly and awaited their laurels. (See “So You Want To Win the Nobel Peace Prize,” Oct. 12, 2000.) For the record, Chatterbox thinks Kofi Annan, the winner in 2001, was a fine though somewhat unimaginative choice. He was certainly a more appropriate selection than the game of soccer, which was nominated that year, and probably a better pick than the Falun Gong’s Li Hongzhi, whose nomination California Rep. Anna Eshoo rescinded after she found out he’d made some anti-gay statements. Whoops!

Who’s in the nomination derby this year? Well, Chatterbox has been forwarded European parliament member Olivier Dupuis’ “Dear Professor” spam on behalf of Thich Quang Do, a dissident Buddhist priest in Vietnam. According to a biography attached to the e-mail plea, this Nobel campaign is being coordinated by Que Me Action for Democracy in Vietnam, based in Brevannes, France. Chatterbox noted in his earlier item that a similar Internet campaign for Thich was waged in 2000. What other campaigns are going on this year? Are any would-be nominees (or their proxies) making pests of themselves? Are any of them outrageously unworthy? (The Thich Quang Do nomination, alas, seems plausible.) What is this year’s equivalent to last year’s soccer nomination or the Chamber of Commerce’s laughable bid for the prize in 1990 (which, amazingly, won the support of Sen. Richard Lugar)? As Henry Kissinger’s 1973 peace prize demonstrates, grotesquely inappropriate nominees occasionally win. Chatterbox invites readers to forward (to evidence of peace prize campaigns by or on behalf of especially undeserving candidates. If enough material pours in, this may become a regular feature.