classifying peace and genocide

The Nobel Foundation has awarded the 2007 Nobel Peace Prize to Al Gore and the United Nations’ Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, and in doing so have continued to refine the characteristics of peace. By locating efforts to fight global warming and climate change within the peace category (instead of, say, chemistry or economics), the Foundation is supporting Gore’s (and others) argument that fighting global warming is a moral issue, as well as a rhetorical issue and, I would argue, a spatial issue. The geographical spaces that are going to be most affected (or have been most affected) by climate change are going to become war zones, where people fight for scarce resources:

“It is a question of war and peace,” Mr. Egeland, now director of the Norwegian Institute of International Affairs in Oslo, told the Associated Press. “We’re already seeing the first climate wars, in the Sahel belt of Africa.” He said nomads and herders are in conflict with farmers because the changing climate has brought drought and a shortage of fertile lands.

Yesterday, in another act of classifying, the House Foreign Relations Committee, in a non-binding resolution, voted to label the 1915 killings of 1.5 million Armenians by the Turks as “genocide.” The Bush administration countered by calling the atrocities “historic mass killings.” (Update: Ira Schorr noted possible political reasons for the creation of the resolution.) As usual, The Daily Show offered the most meaningful assessment of the ironical and political ramifications of such a vote:

Aasif Mandvi is outstanding: “When Spain joined the Coalition [of the Willing] they were able to get their Inquisition downgraded to a “Casual Q&A.” And more:

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