Angles index

"The Nobel Book of Answers" is a fascinating new book, in which children ask Nobel laureates profound and often perplexing questions. It was edited by Bettina Stiekel, a German journalist, and was recently published in English by Atheneum.  ¶   In its pages, the Dalai Lama, who won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1989, tackles "What is Love?" Archbishop Desmond Tutu, the 1984 peace prize winner, riffs on "Why is there War?" Kenzaburo Oe, the 1994 winner in literature, considers  "Why Do We Have To Go To School?" Enrico Bombieri, winner of the Fields Medal for Mathematics in 1974, breaks his teeth answering "Why Does 1 + 1 = 2?" And so on.  ¶   Our own Shimon Peres, who won the 1994 peace prize, deftly handles "What is Politics?"   ¶   "Politics is the art of negotiation," he writes. "Politics is supposed to create relationships among people and among countries, relationships that are supposed to be strong enough to allow for shared solutions even when conflict arises."      Notably missing from the Nobel notables is Peres’s co-laureate, Yasser Arafat. A man of strong convictions and given to Castro-length speechifying, Chairman Arafat surely would have had much to say about many of the questions asked and answered in the book.      A chapter devoted to the Palestinian president might have gone something like this:

Why Do We Have to Go To School?
—Corey Thurn, 8
Boulder, Colorado

Young Corey, you must understand that in occupied Palestine, our heroic children must spend so much of their time confronting the Israeli aggressors that there aren’t many hours left in the day for school. Some of our youth spend so little time in class that they only learn one word: jihad, jihad, jihad.

So I tell them: Children of Palestine! The colleagues, friends, brothers and sisters of Faris Ouda [a 14 year old who died a week after having been broadcast on TV hurling stones at an Israeli tank]. The colleagues of this hero represent this immense and fundamental power that is within, and it shall be victorious, with Allah's will!

One of you, a boy or a girl, shall raise the Palestinian flag over the walls of Jerusalem, its mosques and its churches. Onward together to Jerusalem! With blood and with spirit we will redeem you, Palestine! Yes, with blood and with spirit we will redeem you!

What Is Love?

—Dyshonda Underwood, 15
Sterling Heights, Michigan

Love is what I feel for my dear ones on the occupied lands, relatives and friends throughout Palestine and the diaspora, my colleagues in struggle and in arms, my colleagues in struggle and in jihad. My brothers and sisters, the struggling members of the Palestinian people. The people of the Brave. The mothers, fathers, and brothers of martyrs. To you who have offered the dearest to our hearts on the path of freedom and independence, the path of Palestine and al-Quds al-Shareef. To all prisoners, wounded and detained, who set an unprecedented example of struggle in your steadfastness, wounds, pain and hope. Intensify the revolution and the blessed intifada. We must burn the ground under the feet of the invaders.

Why Do We Feel Pain?

—Erika Bliss, 11
Fresno, California

Because of the wounds of our history, steeped with suffering and pain, with blood and grief. Because there is no way to save Holy Jerusalem from the dangers of judaization and the cancerous settlements creeping on the Holy City, except by your firm, solid and full-of-faith stand, as an Arab and Islamic nation, in the face of this wicked aggression and dangerous aggressors, as well as in the face of those who protect the Israeli aggressors from international legality, and the legality of human rights and the United Nations.

Why Is Pudding Soft and Stone Hard?
—Antwan Stephens, 7
Minot, North Dakota

Because you do not face an Israeli tank with pudding! You do not confront the occupier with a chocolate dessert! It is humiliation.
How would you grasp it? How would you throw it? Have you run out of stones in Hebron? This child who is grasping the stone, facing the tank. Is that not the greatest message in the world-- when that hero becomes a martyr?

Why Can’t I Live on French Fries?
—Eric Jensen, 8
Alpharetta, Georgia

Eric, you cannot carry out jihad fortified by the fast food of the occupiers. You cannot achieve martyrdom on a diet of colonialism, imperialism, neo-colonialism and racism, the chief form of which is Zionism. An old-world order is crumbling before our eyes, Eric.

Our resolve to build a new world is fortified by snack foods such as Abu Ammar® corn chips, which come in three great favors: cheese, tomato and paprika. Just look for my picture on the package. Or try a handful of Hero Chips®, the tangy treat with the image of a stone-throwing boy on the bag. Hero Chips. They’re gonna make a big hit with you!

In Egypt, they're stocking up on Abu Ammar chips, named after Arafat's nom de guerre. Click here for the story.

Why Do I Forget Some Things and Not Others?
— Kaitlyn Gomez, 16
Aurora, Illinois

Neither the Palestinian's allegiance to Palestine nor his determination to return waned; nothing could persuade him to relinquish his Palestinian identity or to forsake his homeland. The passage of time did not make him forget, as some hoped he would.

For 34 years [the Israelis] have dug tunnels [around the Temple Mount]…they found not a single stone proving that the Temple of Solomon was there, because historically the Temple was not in Palestine [at all]. They found only remnants of a shrine of the Roman Herod. They are now trying to put in place a number of stones so that they can say, "We were here." This is nonsense, Kaitlyn. I challenge them to bring a single stone from the Temple of Solomon.

Why Does 1 + 1 = 2?
— Lynn Brennan, 15
Nashua, New Hampshire

Lynn, let me ask you: How can we be asked to accept Resolution 242 and forget the other resolutions, the most recent of which were resolutions 605, 607, and 608 as well as resolutions 252, 446, and 465 and resolutions 3236 and 3237?

How do I win the Nobel Prize?
—Hayley Sloan, 10
Ames, Iowa

Today I have come bearing an olive branch and a freedom fighter’s gun. Do not let the olive branch fall from my hand. I repeat: do not let the olive branch fall from my hand.

Copyright © 2004 by David Holzel