STOCKHOLM - An Israeli peace group that says only justice and reconciliation can end terrorism was named Thursday as a winner of this year's Right Livelihood Awards, often referred to as the "alternative Nobels."
The 2001 Right Livelihood Award of SEK 2 million is shared by:
Gush Shalom and its co-founders Uri and Rachel Avnery, (Israel), who have shown the way to peace between Israelis and Palestinians, and worked for several decades with courage and dedication to promote its acceptance and implementation. The Jury honors the Avnerys and all Gush Shalom activists for their unwavering conviction in the most difficult and dangerous circumstances that peace and an end to terrorism can only be achieved through justice and reconciliation.
Trident Ploughshares, (UK), represented by Angie Zelter, Ellen Moxley and Ulla Røder, honored as a model of principled, transparent and non-violent direct action dedicated to rid the world of nuclear weapons.
Leonardo Boff, (Brazil), one of the founders of liberation theology in Latin America. The Jury honors Boff for his inspiring insights into the links between human spirituality, social justice and environmental stewardship.
José Antonio Abreu, (Venezuela), the founder of the National System of Children and Youth Orchestras, which has brought the joys and benefits of music to countless children and communities, especially among the poor.
Right Livelihood Award Press Release
Gush Shalom and its cofounders Uri and Rachel Avnery, will share the $297,000 (Canadian) prize with three others: British anti-nuclear group Trident Ploughshares; Leonard Boff, a Brazilian founder of liberation theology in Latin America, and Venezuelan youth activist Jose Antonio Abreu.
The award's creator, Jakob von Uexkull, said each winner showed "positive ways forward at this time of grief, fear and insecurity" after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks in the United States.
"We feel very strongly that the only remedy for terror is justice and reconciliation and the promotion of human rights," von Uexkull said at a news conference.
The Right Livelihood Awards were founded in 1980 by von Uexkull, a stamp dealer who sold his collection to fund awards for efforts he believes are ignored by the Nobel Prizes.
Gush Shalom was founded in 1993 by peace activists to campaign against the extension of Israeli settlements in the occupied territories and for the right of Palestinians to establish an independent state.
"They are really the only strong voice left in the Israeli peace movement who are reminding the Israelis and the world, of course, that there will never be peace unless you actually tackle the root of the problem," von Uexkull said.
He said places like the occupied Gaza Strip, where about 6,000 Israeli settlers live among more than one million Palestinians, create new generations of terrorists like Osama bin Laden, the suspected mastermind of the Sept. 11 attacks in the United States.
Trident Ploughshares was cited for its nonviolent campaign to rid the world of nuclear weapons.
Boff, pictured left, won for his decades of helping the poor and showing the links between human spirituality, social justice and environmental stewardship.
Abreu, founder of the National System of Children and Youth Orchestras, was named for demonstrating the innate creativity of all children.
The awards will be presented in the Swedish parliament Dec. 7, three days before the Nobel Prizes are handed out.
Copyright © 2001 Canadian Press