Nonviolence is a powerful and just weapon. Indeed, it is a weapon unique in history, which cuts without wounding and ennobles the man who wields it. I believe in this method because I think it is the only way to re-establish a broken community. —The Rev. Martin Luther King Jr., University of Oslo, Dec. 10, 1964
Nelson Mandela, who died Dec. 5 at age 95 in Johannesburg, South Africa, was one of the most remarkable heroes of the 20th century. He organized and led armed resistance against South Africa's apartheid regime, which had disenfranchised 23 million black citizens and forced them to live in abysmal poverty, and endured decades of brutal imprisonment as a result. But after his release in 1990, he worked to negotiate a peaceful end to institutionalized racism - an achievement that earned him a share of the 1993 Nobel Peace Prize - and eventually became his nation's first black president from 1994 to 1999.
Short story fans and Canadians are among the many reveling in today's announcement that master writer Alice Munro, at 82, has won the Nobel Prize in Literature - the first Canadian-based writer to do so. Her publisher reports that she was "amazed, and very grateful" to hear the news early this morning, which was left as a voicemail when the committee couldn't reach her directly. How nice must it have been to get that message?
When Wangari Maathai joined Mike Cuthbert of AARP's Prime Time Radio to talk about peace and the environment a few years back, we knew we were in the presence of a force of nature. Maathai was funny and charming, and colorful in every way, including her trademark sky-high wrapped head scarf.
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