The Nobel Peace Prize: What Nobel Really Wanted

By Fredrik S. Heffermehl | Go to book overview

Chapter 8
THE PEACE MOVEMENT:
STARVING BUT PERSISTING

MEDIA DESCRIBE THE WORLD “AS IT IS”

Many will ask: What is this peace movement Nobel had in mind? What happened to it? Where is it today? Where do we see traces of it? Point one is to understand that because something is invisible in the media, it does not mean that it does not exist. Mainstream media tend to highlight the center of society, with dominant political and economic interests their main focus. When challengers are kept invisible, they also are kept away.

Grassroots efforts for peace are persistent, but as good as nonexistent in the media. The media portray the activities of states and powerful institutions, but rarely the oppositional movement struggling for a new and peaceful world order. Describing the world “as it is,” the media sends a powerful signal that any effort to try to improve it will be wasted. The work of popular movements for peace is kept invisible and thereby constantly discouraged.

This is not a new situation. In 1971, the Swedish novelist and peace activist Per Anders Fogelström wrote a history of the peace movement called Kampen för Fred (The Struggle for Peace), subtitled “The Unknown Popular Movement.” This description, unfortunately, continues to be just as true, making it necessary to portray the movements that continue their work today in the tradition of Bertha von Suttner, promoting the ideas Nobel wished to support with his 1895 will.

Suttner’s spiritual successors do exist and their work is vital for global survival. They find both inspiration and guidance in Suttner’s political goals and methods. She induced nations to meet at the great 1899

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