Friday, 11 December 2015

Humans & Human Rights amidst Nobel Prizes and Climate Change

There are many celebrations that take place on December 10th.
It’s Human Rights Day.
It’s the day the Nobel Prizes are awarded in Stockholm (Sweden – Prizes for Chemistry, Medicine, Physics, Economics & Literature) and Oslo (Norway – Peace Prize).
And this International Year of Light and Soil (2015) witnessed the penultimate day of the COP21 at Paris as well – the Climate Change Conference where the draft of the agreement was worked out.
Here in Chennai we celebrated the resilient #SpiritOfChennai and her wonderful teams of volunteers who helped those affected by the flooding as a result of heavy showers. As the many people across India and the world joined the Chennaites to #PrayforChennai as the heavens opened record-shattering amounts of downpour between Nov-Dec 2015 finally a watery sun emerged.
Meanwhile Storm Desmond wrecked havoc in Northern UK – a real wet December – and a lot of it attributed to Climate Change and hot oceans triggering a merciless El Niño (Spanish: The Boy).

The other boy of significance is the one in this year’s Nobel Peace Prize Diploma, 

“intended by the artist to symbolise the uncertain future faced by young people today, especially all those who feel that they have no power or opportunity to influence it. This is a forceful, eloquent image. The expression on the young boy's face reflects a cry for hope for the future, for the opportunity to be seen and heard, take part in society, use his skills and live in peace and security.”
                                    - Kaci Kullmann Five, Chair, Norwegian Nobel Committee  
 These themes resonated in all the Nobel Prizes and in world events as people in peace and war grappled with violence, revolts of hungry people, climate and conflict refugees and misguided youths finding terrorism and extraordinary young people who came out in force and helped the helpless in the face of Nature’s Fury. 

The Nobel Peace Prize 2015 was awarded to the Tunisian National Dialogue Quartet (Tunisian General Labour Union – UGTT, Tunisian Order of Lawyers – ONAT, Tunisian Human Rights League – LTDH, Tunisian Confederation of Industry, Trade and Handicrafts – UTICA) for its decisive contribution to the building of a pluralistic democracy in Tunisia in the wake of the Revolution of 2011.

January 26th & Constitutions

Tunisia's new constitution was adopted on India’s 65th republic day 26 January 2014. It is considered the most egalitarian and democratic constitution in the Arab world. This revolution that started with the self-emollition of a 26-year-old fruit and vegetable seller Mohamed Bouazizi to protest the corruption and misrule in his home town found resolution through “Cooperation across religious divisions. … key role played by women [and] civil society . … Peaceful transitions of power. Thus reaffirming the old Tunisian saying, "The multitude is stronger than the king."


As the 2015 Literature Nobel Laureate Svetlana Alexievich of Belarus put it,

“Freedom is not an instantaneous holiday, as we once dreamed. It is a road. A long road.”
And it is a path of choice for humanity. Especially when you see how quickly man can shed culture, and become a monster one needs to preserve the soul of humanity with attention to art whose purpose is to accumulate the human within the human being.
To rise above ideology and religion and to take a second look at what seems hopeless  and find hope in it for

“When a person looks a second time, it is not with the eye of a stranger, it is a look with the heart ..."

Like the unorthodox perspective of Medicine Nobel Laureate William C. Campbell awarded for his work on parasites on the much-maligned parasites,

“We think that a parasite is the sort of person who goes through a revolving-door on somebody else's push. It is so unfair!  Unfair to the real parasites – the innumerable and influential real parasites!”

Both the Economics and Chemistry Laureates emphasized the power of reading, education and good teachers in turn all essential to save humanity and the only place we call home  this Planet Earth!  

“reading was the magic carpet that took me away from the cold and dark.”
- Economic Sciences Medal 2015 winner  Angus Deaton

"Learn[ing] to think freely and critically. … Without outstanding teachers and new insights from basic science, progress in chemistry and biology would be much slower, and might even come to a standstill." 
 - Dr. Tomas Lindahl

As new discoveries are made and new perspectives adopted or old ones revisited we could come to

“a more complete understanding of those theories and of our Universe.”
-          2015 Physics Nobel Laureate, Arthur B. McDonald

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