White Helmets Are One of Candidates for Nobel Peace Prize

Norwegian Nobel Committee announces the Nobel Peace Prize laureate on 7th. This year Peace Prize has the largest number of candidates in history including 228 individuals and 148 organizations. It has no limits on the recommendation and is sometimes criticized as pro-western awards because it advocates political interest of western Powers, but it is undeniably one of the most distinguished awards.

One of the favorites is the peace agreement signed between Colombian government and Fuerzas Armadas Revolucionarias de Colombia (FARC – Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia). Recently Peace Prizes are mostly awarded to organizations: European Union (2012), Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (2013), and the Tunisian National Dialogue Quartet (2015).

Colombia is in civil war for 52 years. Two main leading men in the treatment are Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos and FARC leader Rodrigo Londoño Echeverri. The two men had signed a final agreement to end the civil war with a pen made of live ammunition in September 26.

However, there is an obstacle because Colombian voters rejected the peace deal on 2nd. Both parties say they are still willing to work on the deal. If the agreement gets the Peace Prize, it will be a prize to the South American country in 24 years after Rigoberta Menchú, a Guatemalan human rights activist, in 1992.

Other favorites are the candidates to help victims and refugees in the Syrian Civil War. Among them, Syria Civil Defence rescue workers, also called White Helmets, received most attention. White helmets are voluntary civilian relief organizations, started at the Aleppo Syria rebel area in 2013. Wearing a white helmet, they try to rescue everybody regardless of citizens, rebels or government army while the bombs rain down.

The chance for white helmets doesn’t look that high at this point because the war has not yet ended and is intertwined with the complex interests of the Western countries. Good news is that White helmets are named as the recipient of Right Livelihood Award (called the alternative Nobel Prize) winner. Other Syrian War related candidates are an 85 year old Greek grandmother Emilia Kamvisi who helped Syrian refugees, a 40 year old fisherman Stratis Valiamos who risked his life to help them to cross the ocean, and Susan Sarandon volunteer Hollywood actress.

Other candidates include a Russian activist Svetlana Gannuskhina who openly criticize the Putin government about human and civil rights abuse, and media and internet censorship. Also included are negotiators participated in the Iran Nuclear Deal and Edward Snowden who exposed about American government surveillance activity.

December 21 (was “Elenin”)


by Janet Phelan


With a sweep of his hand

He rewrites the sky

As stars are flung free

Of their constellations

And the planets are torn

From their magnetic convivialities

And, amazed, spin out to find

New affinities


Or none at all

Back in Texas

The glass slips from your hand

And floats suspended in the air

Before crashing diagonally into the wall

The droplets floundering upwards

As thermodynamics become irrelevant



These are not new laws conjured up

By the blackest or whitest of magicians:

A fundamental relationship has altered

And new pathways are being forged

Dazzling in their unpredictability

And relentlessness



I’d almost forgotten

What love is

Or was

In the human sense, anyway

The voltaic force

Between star seeded bodies

Which absurdly persists

Beyond proximity

Or time

Or dimension

Or death

And how this passion

Nearly toppled a dictatorship

(although how many people actually know this?)


But as I watch from my centrifugally spinning veranda

As the stars detonate the night

Like so much redeemed phosphorescent seed


I suddenly remember

The way your eyes

Lingered on my fingertips

As I stood on the bridge,

Waving that last goodbye

The Dark Haired Child


by Janet Phelan


I am the dark- haired child

doe eyed and silent

and though I scrub

and scrub

no amount of peroxide or bleach

will ever make me fair


I inhabit corners

and porch stoops

Streetlamps and moonlight

guide my passage

as I glide through the margins

and footnotes of life


You have seen me many times

though you may not have taken notice

a blur in the corner of a photograph

the nagging memory of a face

you cannot quite place


I was there when Joan burned at the stake

I was there when the planes

flew low over Hiroshima

I was there when the first Buddhist monk

barely out of his teens

incinerated himself

on the five 0’clock news

and I was there

when the towers

crumbled to dust


and the weight of the world

shifted in balance


It is a heavy burden to carry

to reside in history

in this manifestation

the hunchback

the leper

the Jew

the dishonorable discharge

kneeling on the sixth floor

of the Texas book depository


but it is better me than you/

it is better me for you


Look at it this way:

I wash you clean

without me

you might be considered



I take the rap

and you go on

with your bombs

and your poisons

and your chemical conflagrations


I take the rap

and you take the press calls

“The suspect

has been detained

The suspect

is under arrest

The suspect

is no longer

at large.”