tv Unni Turrettini Betraying the Nobel CSPAN December 5, 2020 7:15pm-8:16pm EST
book expo the nation's largest trade book show is being retired. the shores oak and eyes are announced at the annual gathering of publishers and booksellers will come to an end and are likely to explore new ways to meet needs on infusion and personal events. book tv will continue to bring a new programs and publishing news pretty can also watch all of our past programs anytime let booktv.org. statement book tv in prime time starts now. personal region born author takes a critical look at the history of the nobel peace prize and specifically its election committee. and then the coverage of the 71t annual nashville book award follow by the national reviews kevin williamson reports on the politics in everyday lives of the white american working class from his travels through appalachia. and later activists and authors angela davis and
taylor offer their thoughts on democracy and what it means today. for more schedule information ms. booktv.org or consult your program guide. and now, a look at the nobel peace prize. >> we thank you for your attendance this evening. or very late this evening. or this morning or this afternoon, depending on where and when and the world you may be joining us. so no further do i will introduce our author and moderator this afternoon. native born unni turrettini group and multicultural citizen excuse me living in norway united states france and switzerland. it from norway france united states a member of the new york bar had numerous years in law and finance in paris france and geneva. her other works include the mystery of the lone wolf killer by pegasus books in 2015. after many years abroad she's not also with her family.
an award-winning author, curator and popular speaker the novel on rainy days from the award and the hemingway award infection. according to writers magazine the top debut of the year. they can't hear you are plus the power of the internet but they can feel it. so please join me in welcoming them into your living rooms. >> thank you john, it is wonderful to be here. wonderful to be here with you selena. sorry to read just a little bit from the book, just the introduction? >> i think so. let's give everyone a taste of the importance of this book especially in what we are dealing with today across the world. i think this is an important opening. so please read a little bit. >> wonderful i will do that.
okay. so introduction price and paradox. no pride has more precision the nobel and or of admiration surrounds it. as 1984 winner put it, no sooner had i got the nobel peace prize i became consent or covid virtually everything i'd said before was now received was something like. no other award filed by just about every country in the world commented on by just about every newspaper and television network. however, the nobel peace prize as we know it is corrupt at its core. the price the former secretary and director of the noble institute said she didn't region state television in 2014 has not become renowned because the committee rewards
and that is nelson mandela. but rather because of its controversial choices. controversial choices are fine as long as the committee executors of the last will to his instructions. he wanted the norwegian nobel prize committee to select champions to act as role models for the rest of us. mainly someone is a risky business. first the committee sources a not be everybody's cup of tea. or have the most convenient political lead. second, the committee cannot predict how a noble laureate will behave in the aftermath of the prize. what if the winter does not turn out to be the beacon of hope and inspiration that the committee had hoped for? the committee must show courage and conviction in
their choices. because history will reflect back on them and the choices making it all the more vital that the committee research their candidates properly. and i think i will stop there. >> yeah, thank you so much for reading them. i think the sentence that pops out at me, here's a copy of the book for everyone. it is a beautiful book. i had the honor of reading this several months ago. and i have to admit that for me it was a shock. it was a complete shock. because you know, i think i represent the general public when i say that you just believe that while it is the nobel peace prize. people who receive the peace prize deserve the peace prize. i can understand why he would
say that suddenly everything he had said, suddenly he had become an oracle. because that is the power of the nobel peace prize. i just, it was a shock to me to it see the kind of selection process that went into some of the nobel recipients. what i wanted to first talk to you, let's start at the beginning. because there is so much to unpack in this book. let's begin at the beginning. and say okay i know you are living in norway. i know you are an attorney. and you are a writer. so the question every writer gets, why this subject? why this topic? what inspired you to go into what i would call like an investigative book? >> yes. while i have always been very curious by nature.
always enjoy doing research. that is probably the part of being and a lawyer and attorney i enjoyed most was the research part. and as a norwegian citizen even though i was living abroad most of my adult life i was always very proud that the nobel peace prize was given out by my home country. and i always, as most other people thought the peace price was this revered wonderful thing that we have for the world. and then in 2019 when the committee gave the peace price to barack obama, when he had been left then to ask in an office that is when he was nominated. when he was announced the winner he had been part similar eight-month in office. he hadn't really done much yet.
none of the things the committee announced he had done. so i was quite curious. i realized i was not the only one. then the media picked it up they started writing about it. and everyone was quite surprised. and barack obama himself was really surprised. and so, when the committee announced barack obama as the winner, some other journalist said they were pressing for answers. what exactly had barack obama done to deserve the peace prize? and then after a lot of back-and-forth and vague answers the committee chairman said we want to send a signal. so that is really where my quest began. because i wanted to know, what is that signal? what are they trying to tell the world?
and then i was curious. ms. the same with nobels in tension with the peace prize. that is of my digging into the past. digging into the history of the prize, a nobel is the man that he was, the inventor that he wa was. that is when it really began. then it took years of course and i did other things and wrote the other book in the meanwhile. but he always had it there. this curiosity. and finally it became a book. it was really out of curiosity. and a critical view on what i believed. what i discovered was shocking to me as well. and i discovered it was not as honorable as i thought it was.
and what he really wanted. he really wanted for us to create a better world. and for us to have more, the peace prizewinners should be peace champions. to be beacons of hope for the rest of us. and inspiration that this is what a true leader is. >> yes. so just to make sure everyone is on board and on the same page, yes this is the same man who created the atomic bomb. >> dynamite. dynamite. and made millions off of it and became one of the wealthiest me men. go back and give us a little bit of history on who he is. and then just a little bit about his will. because the will in what she
does designate norway to give out the nobel peace prize. let everyone know what that says him with those intentions were. and why'd you think he gave it to norway in particular? he was not norwegian. >> know he was swedish. he was very, he traveled. he was an extremely intelligent young man. his father was also an inventor and a journalist. he lived in russia with his family for many years. that is where they were in the laboratories and together inventing a lot of things actually. i think at this end of his life at something like 355 inventions which is quite incredible.
he was infamous for dynamite. and of course it dynamite can be quite dangerous. but he did not intend for dynamite to be used in the war anything like that. his intention with dynamite was to create an easier and better world for humanity through infrastructure. and it was huge for a lot of the tunnels, the u.s. railway, they would use with dynamite. he had the patent for dynamite. he was absolutely, as you said one of the wealthiest men in the world. he was very young. i think he was 43 years old when he settled down at the end of his career in paris.
and he could slow down a little bit. he was very much alone. he was not much of a social creature. there are some funny stories actually. he was very lonely. he did not have very high self-esteem. at the same time he was very arrogant because he was very intelligent. and he knew he was very intelligent. he could invent a lot of things. but the social skills were not always there. on receipt by have something that's really funny anecdote. he really wanted a girlfriend. but he was not very good with people. he was living with his parents at the time. here's what he wrote in a letter to his mother robert which is really funny. he wrote personally i feel that the conversation is among the most insipid there is. while communications with
educators and emancipated russian women is explicitly second period unfortunately they had not anticipated so one cannot ask for everything. [laughter] isn't that just hilarious? and so he did not find any parisians or russians that he liked. but he traveled a lot because he had factories. he was just about everywhere. so he went to austria. there he put an ad in the newspaper a main newspaper seeking for personal secretary. but really he was looking for a wife. so this young woman, she was a countess. she was from a noble family. their family did not have a lot of money and she had to
work for a living. because of her education and status she became the governess or nanny for a very wealthy family in austria. i'm so name was bertha. and bertha and the youngest son of this family they fell in love actually. and of course the mother will not have it. because she was not fit to marry her son. she was poor. although she was highly educated and well mannered. and so she forced bertha to respond to this ad that alfred had put in the newspaper. and so she got the job. she was highly qualified. she got the job was very intelligent. they had a lot of great conversations. and alford of course, she was beautiful, she was smart, and funny. and they had great conversations. he quickly fell in love.
when she discovers this, that he wanted something more, then she told him look i'm sorry i can't i can't stay i'm actually in love with someone else. so she left. ship back to austria and actually married the son, and they were rejected from the family took like ten years before they were able to move back to the family estate. but she and alford stayed in touch over the years. and they were like best friends. he never stopped loving her. although his very fair she was married they were just friends. what's interesting here is she was one of the pioneers in the cause of peace. and she organized all these
conferences. she wrote a book that was a bestseller at the time called lay down your arms. she was really upfront. this she was a woman, she was strong she was an activist. and she did all these wonderful things. she and alfred had a lot of conversations about what would affect the roads to peace. how would we get a better world? how would we create a better world. and so she really influenced hi him. i read about in this book as well. i interpret the peace prize as his final declaration of love to her. it is really quite sad. he died alone. he is 63 years old quite young. he was extremely wealthy. but he had no one in his life,
right? he died all alone. i think he had a servant in his house when he died. and so he did not have anyone to give all this money to. so what he did he set up a testament, he set up a fund divided into five different parts. in these five categories are now known as the nobel prices. we have physics, chemistry, medicine, literature, and then peace. i think the peace prize is probably the most famous, or most infamous because of the controversy around the peace prize. and so yes and respond to the question what he gave it to norway. we don't know actually why. because he never told anyone why he did this. his last will and testament
was a big surprise to everyone. but what the experts and historians, can take an educated guess, right? so norway was at that time, when he died in 1896, norway was actually governed, it was in union with sweden. so we did not have, did not have its independence army or military. it was completely dependent on freedom. but norway was desperate to break free. but did not really have the memes and the power to do that. and because neuro- it was so far removed from power and politics compared to sweden which was the most dominant
country in scandinavia at the time, and had strong ties to france and england. they believed he gave it to become a political tool. in part of it is kind of a power struggle. and knowing what we know today, it just makes it really sad. because that is exactly what it has become. it has become a political tool for the norwegian government. >> absolutely. i think that was what was most startling to me as someone from the outside who i said just believe that of course the committee would do the research. of course they would think about not just past actions of recipients potential recipients have accomplished, the things that they have
done. but also the future. i should also mention that bertha actually received the nobel peace prize. she is one of the first to receive it. i did actually do a great deal for peace. she did inspire him. >> she was the fifth recipient of the prize and first woman to win the prize. she should have been the first, right? she should have been the first. back in those days it was unheard of that a woman would win any such award. but yes. absolutely. she did a great deal for peace. she was a true peace champion. >> exactly. so where do you think committee started to go wrong? when did it become more of a politics and about creating alliances and less about peace? >> yeah. i think it started with the
last bill it started very early. because he made one mistake. he gave the responsibility of the peace prize to parliaments, which is a political body obviously. so the parliament in norway elects the members of the committee. so we have five members there's always been five members on the committee. and these are then politicians. they used to be active politicians. nothing change that. now you cannot be an active politician and sitting on the committee. so what they do they said they handed to retired politicians as a thank you for their long and royal service to the political party. so they don't really care about if that person has an interest at all. all they care about is how
they have served their political party. so it really is a bunch of politician sitting on a committee. that is what it is. and that's what makes it such a political tool. they are still so linked to the norwegian government. there been very few that have gone against norwegian politics or norwegian policy. >> that is so interesting. i should mention first since we are still counting the votes here in the u.s., that donald trump was nominated for the nobel peace prize. [laughter] howdy feel about that? >> yeah. [laughter] that is a great question. [laughter] so yes he is nominated for next year's prize. i believe he has received five nominations now. the first nomination he
actually received from one of the members of the norwegian parliaments. isn't that interesting. i believe, i am interpreting that nomination as not as much of a, they should give it to trump nomination. but more, it is more showing. it's to show them what is wrong with the peace prize today. and for that i am actually quite grateful that parliamentarian nominated trump. because it is really highlighting. when he saying it is nomination was that trump had actually done more than some of the other winners. and that is actually correct. he has done more, he has actually managed to finalize some agreements of cooperation
between countries in the middle east. getting the saudi's in some countries to recognize israel. and he has done some of these things. he is also tried to negotiate with north korea. he has done some things. between co- civil and europe. he has done some things. he has a point there. but what he did say in his nomination as well as the fact he did not like president trump personally. but i think he means by that is that trump has a unifying voice. he has created a lot of divisio division. and we see that in the u.s. now, right?
and also the u.s. is one of the most important, i think it is the most important ally of norway. we have a lot of trade agreements with the u.s. and also norway is depending on the u.s. and nato to defend norway should ever the russians try to take over norway, right? that is a still a deal today. so the u.s. is important to norway. but, with the prime minister of norway has said is she is very happy that biden won because it is been hard to deal with trump. he is very unpredictable and difficult to deal with. and that does not create stability. that is what i think we're seeing the results of in the u.s. right now is the lack of stability.
and people just, polarities. polarities against each other. he is maybe not the root of the problem, but he is definitely created more conflict, right? so i don't think he would be a peace champion alfred nobel wanted for his price. but has he done something to qualify him? sure. in more than some of the other candidates that have actually what in the past. i think that is what he is trying to show with his nomination. now after nominating of course we have like four other nominations it came along. item of they really believed he deserved it or not, perhaps. but it's interesting because vladimir putin is also nominated for the peace prize next year. so it's a funny year, going to
be exciting. >> is going to be crazy. it brings up the point. it's a point you raised when you gave the reading, you said you know what if it the person does not turn out to be the beacon of hope? and we have seen that. we have seen past recipients become just atrocious. absolutely. can you speak to just for the sake of time i guess. something at think is one of the worst examples? for past recipients like that, why don't they just take the prize away? why allow them to keep the price? >> yes absolutely. that is such a good point. they have never revoked a prize and all of this history. more than 100 years.
they've never revoked a prize. usually the committee does not respond to any inquiries or demands on whether to revoke or not. but sometimes they do. and what they have said is that well, the person was worthy when we gave them the prize. so then it is no longer our job what happens after. but in my opinion, my humble opinion i think that is really disrespectful to alfred nobel and his price. it's also disrespectful to the world. especially now, there is one winner, the head of state in, she is responsible for genocide against a muslim
population in the mr. and that is just atrocious. there are really no words. it's even tried in front of an international board of justice. might end up a war prisoners for what we know. it might happen. and now we also looks like she is going to win the election in me and martin sit for another term there, she's in with the international community. when you have somebody who is guilty of genocide in a company, i think there is a time and a place to revoke. and this is definitely one of those times. too just, also because it doesn't increase our trust in the peace prize, right? that's when the big big
problems we have in the world today. the lack of trust in leadership and in authority. which also creates a lot of division and conflict. and so if want to increase trus trust, then we also need to listen to our leaders and the nobel peace prize is symbolically showing us in a way, the state of the world today with this lack of trust. and not listening to the people and being disconnected from what is actually happening in the world. so i think not revoking the prize is a huge disrespect to all of us really. stomach absolutely a disservice as well. what does it brings up the issue of how they have not
defined peace. they haven't really defined what the parameters of any recipients should be. they have not taken the time even after all of these years and do what anyone else you think be the starting points. this is the basic foundation that put the basic foundation together. and then we can start looking for people who will fit inside of these parameters. why do you think they don't do that? why not just -- because we all have a sense of what pieces. i'm sure alfred nobel had he meant. stomach absolutely. that is such a great question thank you for bringing that up. arthur nobel did not give a lot of instruction. what he did say is he wanted the winter to be a champion of peace. having done the best work
between nations the abolition of duction of standing armies and finally for the holding and promotion of peace. to have four elements here. we have champion of peace, brotherhood between nations, abolition or reduction of armies and peace congress. what he meant by that was gathering some people, getting people together, activism, righ right? it is not very precise, but there are some indications. and obviously he wrote this more than 100 years ago. so at the time there is a need for a defining and agreeing on a set of guidelines. as to what type of work qualifies, right? because what we consider today
is, that is why it has also created distrust and create curiosity. like when obama got the prize. because also of those, one of the requirements it's for the work that's actually done. not for aspiring, not for hoping hope. it's not supposed to go to that. because also that makes it so much harder often for that person. a lot of experts actually think that when obama got the prize, he probably with more opposition in government follow through on some of the things he really wanted to do. because the very conservatives politicians in the u.s. they
look they did not want to make it easier for him to obtain what he wanted. i was a disservice to him and to the world. so what happens is the committee there and it believes it doesn't answer anyone. it doesn't have to. it says in the bylaws of the peace prize that all decisions everything they do is supposed be held secret. so they feel they are sitting up there not respond to any criticism and just back to
what because they were a politician sitting and still are today they broke free from sweden back then, it was very important to strengthen ties with other countries and sweden or denmark. he did not want to go back to being with the other quality. for the u.s. of course was a big deal for the norwegian. that is why it has been handing prices to the u.s. secretary of state, two presidents, to a lot of americans to strengthen political ties to the u.s.
we see that from the very early days. we also see it during the cold war after world war ii. obviously, very much in need of u.s. marshall aid. all of that can build up after world war ii. so we see that throughout history really thin and funny. we have this love-hate relationship we love the u.s. i'm thinking it's on why the politicians in our culture we don't like people who stand out too much. who are too bold abrasive and open like the quiet little man
anything, when you have somebody from texas like george w bush as president there are prices that were actually not awarding people who won the prize. but they were given as a slap in the face to the bush administration. they are so arrogant they even say it in their public presentation speeches. isn't that funny? that is how arrogant they are. sitting there believing they do not answer to anyone. make that is amazing. it is interesting to me they did not take the time to define peace. they did not take the time to define the type of recipients that they would present the prize too. but they took the time to say we don't need to tell anyone
why we chose or what the process was for 50 years. so 50 years as well beyond any committee members tenure as committee members. so you are basically saying we want to make sure the committee members are protected. well after they retired so on the one hand there protecting themselves. the other hand the protecting the prize that should be given to actual peace champions. and instead they're giving to create from what you are saying it's morbid international relations. it's more of an i want to have better relations with the u.s. i want to try to have better relations with these other various countries. i am going to choose someone who represents that countries such as obama to present this
price too. >> because they want to be well-liked to norway and they that work they do. they give that price also to people who are already have a platform. who don't really need the prize to do it they are going to do. and also because they receive a lot of pressure. it's wonderful what she has done and the work that she does is the main thing. but she had was already famous. if outside of alfred nobel's prize.
they define peace there also closing off to use it as a political tool they don't want to be in that position with the freedom to do with they want. and there is, i cannot read or who sent us now. it's in my book there's a quote from somebody who said that it seems the committee decides, oh this year we believe, this is a good cause and we will call it peace. right? so it's really like oh really? this year? it is quite surprising sometime sometimes. right, that's also another. he could have received an
economic prize or something. but not the peace prize. although poverty reduction, what they put it under was poverty reduction. and i believe strongly that poverty reduction is extremely important and social justice in all of these things. but that needs to be in the bylaws of the peace prize. that needs to be decided upon what kind of work. what kind of missions fall into the peace price umbrella. >> absolutely. so can you define for us who you think. because there is a wonderful chapter in this book about all of the overlooked candidates. >> i would love for you to choose one think is a perfect example of the kind of person who deserves the peace prize that never received one.
>> yes. there are actually several. it's not for lack of candidates. one really astounding one is gandhi never received the peace prize. he was nominated numerous times. and that's actually the one the committee has actually said they regretted not having given it to him. but he never received it. and then you have. [inaudible] he is a japanese buddhist leader. at peace builder, a wonderful writer and educator. he has founded new peace research institutions around the world. his whole movement is built around the buddhist values. and creating peace through
more empathy and more collaboration. and communication between people and country. an organization. his and his organization is a wonderful example. there's also woman and the u.s., artemis court weiss. she had women strike for peace and has many driving force in the peace movement since the 1960s. she is the queen of peace congress as i see it anyway. although she has been nominated numerous times. she has surpassed all of his requirements. : : :
because he never chooses force and to demonstrate peacefully over to communicate and he uses empathy but that i also see the hurt and the pain of the israelis and there is no great solution here. so let's put together they can. he is there. if there is one person it would be him and instead that none of them are peace champions.
so then back in 1994? because the also record to shed light on the norwegians experts as peace negotiators. so it is a trick. >> i think it would be much better than even then donald trump to explain what he is doing working in the middle east selling a great deal of arms. i see that john has come back o on. >> i would love to hear more but i don't want to take up
more of your time. if you have any questions from the audience you can feel free to ask i have a couple of questions before you wrap up. only one was declined to let go of north vietnam to pass the peace accord with the vietnam war and then to say there is no peace. so i am curious to know if there is pressure on the part of these two to accept or if there is pushback through activists or heads of state to
save on. humbly i don't like this award is codifying what is actually happening. >> this is really interesting because the committee never accepted the recusal so nobel peace prize history he still a winner although he never collected it you can say no thank you or whatever you want the winner. isn't that funny? they don't have the humility for the humanity i guess to listen to what people are saying that they don't take that into consideration. >> history and the postwar 20th
century to still heads of state the occasionally emerging activists and institutions wide multinational groups but i wonder if the direction that they can take in so far as with the 19th century aspiration seem to be related to the sense of individuals or heads of state to be the leaders a global peace potentially and with that worldview for the prize to have a maybe there is a new avenue focused away from the heads of state and to codify potentially what one hopes is head of state or powerful
political figure and those movements that they have never done and individual activist but i wonder i know there is a a lot of internal machinations but with those protest movements. >> that's something that i wish that they would show more courage. sometimes it appears away from the already famous who have a platform and can do the work. that's not to say they can never give to head of state, but i think it would be wonderful to really give
people are doing great work. all of these individuals who do great work but don't have the platform. they can do so much more and everything that comes along with it. may have sometimes and that's not just to say the committee never chooses great people the prize. >> and doing great work with the human rights activist and i don't believe she even knew she was nominated when they called her and she was
completely unknown and became famous and sometimes they do that and they wish they would do it more ofte often. >> is a great example she's actually the first woman to ever receive the nobel peace prize and after she received it unfortunately they confiscated the prize and through her in jail and did lots of things because of the international attention she was receiving. so he can truly give you a platform so now she is no longer in iran. but it can be life-changing not just the recipients but all the work that they had to face it was transformative. >> we have reached the top of
the hour. thank you both for joining us. thank you for staying up. >> thank you for having us. >> there is a link if you're watching it on youtube. >> if somebody wants that there is a link to that. >> yes on the event page in the description as well you can purchase it to get the free length on - - the free link to get the bookstore on the other side of all of this be well and thank you for doing this this evening and we will see you at the next event. take care. >> goodbye
started to come into the americas in the 19th century. and that was biologically dangerous. president calvin coolidge said there were biological laws that prevented people who were born in different continents for mixing over melding with each other. the american the public health association said if the united states was to allow immigrants in who came from other racial groups they were a subspecies to bring absolute ruin. so there was a big conference about eugenics and how it would be really dangerous in the biological hazard of immigration and after that conference they put all of the
exhibits together and shipped them off to congress they were exhibit in the halls of congress for every member to look at as they walked into their chambers. >> i decided i wanted to work for justice scalia if you know my pastor my background in my family that would not up in your first guess. so why is it that in 1991 i wanted to work for justice scalia? this is a thing that most law students can understand leading to the opinions as a judge myself normally is not a
lot of fun. this is where lawyers a quiet man - - acquire the habit drinking more coffee that is good for them. caffeine gets you through how refreshing when you come across justice scalia majority opinion defense. it stood out for the quest for truth so i could have cared less if justice kolea was originalist all i wanted to do is get to know him but that i really wanted to learn to write like him. that is unrealistic that is how i got to know him and how we started to work with him and then of course it was easy to fall under his influence
because the passion and dedication to finding the right answer to make sure you're being honest, not afraid to second-guess yourself and then of course the passion for writing. there was no way you could finish one year with him and not want to be a better preacher. and you just cannot come out of that experience without it is interesting since 1992, it's been almost 30 years. that time and many times since i would hear him say something that have a natural reaction that cannot be right i would say that can't be right it
makes me want to push back i cannot say the number of times that happened and then i thought about it over a couple of years ago by and i would think that is a really good point. so now in writing the introduction to this book was hard to replace contextualism or regionalism i think it is right and the only answer to avoid destroying the federal courts and i think he has been right all along. going back to me why the influence? it has something to do with the power of his ideas and the capacity to express them so well. is not a bad thing to know that you have ideas know how to express them you can have influence.
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