Jeremy Corbyn was awarded the Sean MacBride Peace Prize along with Noam Chomsky and Japanese anti-military base activists, yet the award received no coverage in the British media. It was International Human Rights day today. Corbyn made an outstanding speech in Geneva, but the UK media unbelievably appear to have vetoed what ought to have been headline news.
So it’s been left to a handful independent journalists and writers like me to report this event.
The International Peace Bureau presents the prestigious Sean MacBride Peace Prize to individuals, organisations or movements for their work for peace, disarmament and human rights.
Sean MacBride was a founding member of Amnesty International, a hugely well-known and successful charity that was set up by “ordinary people from across the world standing up for humanity and human rights.” MacBride was also a prominent Irish MP who participated in many international organisations including the United Nations and the Council of Europe as well as Amnesty International. He received the Nobel Peace Prize in 1974, the Lenin Peace Prize for 1975–1976 and the UNESCO Silver Medal for Service in 1980. He was Secretary-General of the International Commission of Jurists from 1963 to 1971. Following this, he was also elected Chair (1968–1974) and later President (1974–1985) of the International Peace Bureau in Geneva. He was Vice-President of the Organisation for European Economic Co-operation and President of the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe. He had many other key roles.
Despite the significance of such an award being handed to a mainstream British politician, the only media platforms to report the story were independent ones such as EvolvePolitics, The Canary, The Skwawkbox and Vox Political.
As Skwawkbox commented: “Had Theresa May or any other establishment lackey been awarded with a prestigious International Peace Award, can you seriously imagine the entire media would ignore it?”
Corbyn was this year’s recipient, along with renowned scholar Noam Chomsky and the All Okinawa Council Against Henoko New Base. He received his award in Geneva on Friday.
Noam Chomsky was recognised “for his tireless commitment to peace, his strong critiques to U.S. foreign policy, and his anti-imperialism. Professor Chomsky has been properly described as ‘a genuine people’s hero, an inspiration for struggles all over the world for that basic decency known as freedom’, as ‘one of the greatest and most radical public thinkers of our time’, ‘one of the most significant challengers of unjust power and delusions’, and as a ‘guru’ for the world’s anti-capitalist and anti-imperialist movement. In recent years, in addition to his continuing contributions to the fields of linguistics, philosophy and cognitive science, his critiques have focused on the U.S. post-9-11 ‘War on Terror’ which has provided cover for a continuation of U.S. imperial policies, and the imperative of addressing the dangers posed by nuclear weapons and climate change.”
Corbyn was recognised and honoured for his “sustained and powerful political work for disarmament and peace.” His longtime work with the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament in the UK and the Stop the War Campaign was commended, along with his outstanding work for peace as a politician more generally. The award is presented jointly by the International Peace Bureau (IPB) and the World Democratic Forum. The reasons for the award are described on the IPB’s website. It says:
“As a member of parliament in the UK he has, for 34 years continually taken that work for justice, peace and disarmament to the political arena both in and outside of Parliament. He has ceaselessly stood by the principles, which he has held for so long, to ensure true security and well-being for all – for his constituents, for the citizens of the UK and for the people of the world. Now, as leader of the Labour Party and Leader of the Opposition he continues to carry his personal principles into his political life – stating openly that he could not press the nuclear button and arguing strongly for a re-orientation of priorities – to cut military spending and spend instead on health, welfare and education.”
You can watch his speech here:
You can read Corbyn’s outstanding speech here.
In 2013, Corbyn was also given The Gandhi Foundation International Peace Award. This is a leader who has unwavering principles and he has shown a deep and lasting commitment to peace and human rights.
Jeremy Corbyn receiving The Gandhi Foundation International Peace Award
Corbyn has always preferred a diplomatic approach to conflict. The biased media made a big issue of that during general election campaigning earlier this year, with some of the right wing rags wearing away the proverbial barrel to label him a “terrorist sympathiser”.
Despite the fact the Labour leader said several times during televised interviews that he condemns “all bombing”, journalists, political editors and correspondents seemed to nonetheless feel an inexplicable need to constantly ask if he would “denounce” IRA terrorism.
Meanwhile, Conservatives have been permitted to peddle untruths and manipulate half-truths unchecked. It was almost as if Lynton Crosby, the high priest of divisive politics, dead cats and dog whistles, had widely distributed a crib sheet of a limited range of limited questions to be repeated over and over, such as this one, to divert everyone from any discussion whatsoever about policies or anything remotely meaningful.
The so-called “impartial” national media are pretty disgusting for allowing this to happen without any critical thought or investigation whatsoever. They permitted no genuine facilitation of democratic debate. You know, those things that journalists are actually paid to do.
Consequently the run-up to the general election this year saw an absolutely disgusting media manipulation and misrepresentation of Corbyn’s integrity.
It is possible to feel sympathy for ALL of the deaths and those family and loved ones left behind, in such a tragic, violent and seemingly relentless ethno-nationalist conflict. It’s possible to recognise that all of civilian deaths are an outrage and tragic. It’s possible to recognise the pain of their loved ones and families left behind. It’s also possible to condemn the acts of terrorism that left english civilians dead, too. It’s possible to honour ALL of those people who were killed in the conflict. I know I do.
Human lives are equally precious and have equal worth. It’s a mark of Corbyn’s insighfulness, maturity and integrity that he recognises this. History has a scattering of despots who committed atrocities and genocide, because they refused to consider all people as human beings. It seems some people never learn, though. Holding this perspective does not mean that we cannot also condemn acts of despicable terrorism.
The Good Friday Agreement in 1998 brought lasting peace. History demonstrated that Corbyn’s approach was the right one. So we need to ask ourselves why it is that Theresa May, her party, and the media are so fixated on events that happened over 20 years ago. For the record, Margaret Thatcher held secret meetings with the IRA to negotiate peace.
Despite being known for her unyielding stance against the IRA during the Troubles, released documents show Thatcher made secret concessions, and that in May 1985 a member of her Cabinet approved a Royal Prerogative of Mercy for Donal Donnelly, who had fled prison 25 years earlier, after being convicted for his membership of the IRA. It seems the media had forgotten this detail in the run-up to the general election.
John Major also had established links with the IRA to negotiate peace.
It’s reasonable to expect governments to explore diplomatic solutions in conflicts in order to keep citizens safe. It’s also reasonable to expect governments to be honest. The Conservatives haven’t been that.
Jermy Corbyn, however, has been consistently open and honest.
Well done and congratulations, Jeremy Corbyn!
This is a very well-deserved award and a measure of his hard work, integrity, honesty, ethics and principles.
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