A visit to the Nobel Peace Center

Today is 9/11, the anniversary of the 2001 jihad, our reaction to which was to engage in years of war. I’m going to devote today to describing a visit to the Nobel Peace Center in Oslo.

The Peace Center is in a former train station, no longer needed because Oslo, unlike Boston, constructed a tunnel to unify all of its trains into one station. A view from the National Museum (mostly art):

The red brick towers behind the building are the City Hall, where the Nobel Peace Prize is actually awarded.

The visitor experience begins with a history of Alfred Nobel, whose father was an impoverished entrepreneur and engineer. In addition to being a chemistry nerd, he loved to write fiction:

When he was young and poor, women refused to marry him. When he was old and rich, he didn’t want to get married.

This is what set him up to die without heirs and, therefore, endow the Nobel Prizes.

Treason is not just for Donald Trump and the January 6 insurrectionists. Alfred Nobel was also convicted of treason:

The visitor can use a touchscreen “peace personality” explorer. If you put in zero interest in helping anyone, the software says that your closest match among Peace Prize recipients is Barack Obama.

Moving upstairs, we find a room devoted to polar explorer Fridtjof Nansen, who later become a diplomat. Nansen seems to have been one of the originators of the idea that people in non-Malthusian situations are obligated to send money, food, and other aid to prevent the consequences of Malthusianism. His lecture in 1922:

“When one has stood face to face with famine, with death by starvation itself, then surely one should have had one’s eyes opened to the full extent of this misfortune. When one has beheld the great beseeching eyes in the starved faces of children staring hopelessly into the fading daylight, the eyes of agonized mothers while they press their dying children to their empty breasts in silent despair, and the ghostlike men lying exhausted on mats on cabin floors, with only the merciful release of death to wait for, then surely one must understand where all this is leading, understand a little of the true nature of the question. This is not the struggle for power, but a single and terrible accusation against those who still do not want to see, a single great prayer for a drop of mercy to give men a chance to live.”

In the spirit of Nansen, the UN World Food Programme won the prize in 2020 “for its efforts to combat hunger, for its contribution to bettering conditions for peace in conflict-affected areas and for acting as a driving force in efforts to prevent the use of hunger as a weapon of war and conflict.”

There is a room of tablets on sticks, a bit like some of the installations in Marfa, Texas (“Visitors are required to wear masks indoors”, said the site on September 4, 2022). Each prize winner gets a tablet:

Following Olympic viewing procedure, we will concern ourselves only with Americans. Barack Obama (2009) is featured for creating “a new climate in international politics”. Quite a few winners are featured for ending wars, but somehow the Big Guy didn’t win in 2021 for ending our war in Afghanistan? Al Gore won in 2007 and Jimmy Carter in 2002. Notorious racist Woodrow Wilson won in 1919 for his role in founding the quixotic League of Nations. Norman Borlaug won for deferring our date with Malthus via the Green Revolution.

A notable non-American winner is the Dalai Lama, some decades before “Dalai Lama Says Europe is for Europeans, Refugees Should Go Home and Rebuild” (Newsweek 2018) and “Dalai Lama Says a Female Successor Must Be Attractive, or People Won’t Want to Look at Her Face” (Newsweek 2019).

The museum promotes “freedom of expression”, but the gift shop suggests that some perspectives are more welcome than others. A sampling:

Gro Harlem Brundtland, Prime Minister from 1990-1996, liked to say “It’s typically Norwegian to be good at things.” (source) The Nobel Peace Center is certainly consistent with this point of view.

Readers: What are you thinking about today with respect to the events of 9/11/2001?

Posted in War

27 thoughts on “A visit to the Nobel Peace Center

  1. There’s hardly any mention of 9/11 in the NYT front page, which is usually a good barometer of elite preoccupations (even if the elites who actually run the country tend to read the WSJ instead). I guess now that more than 20 years have passed, America’s regular historical amnesia kicks in. Next year’s Beloit College Mindset List will have an entry “Freshmen have never heard of 9/11”. Reminds me of my 20-something colleague who had no idea who Stalin or Margaret Thatcher were.

  2. When I woke up this morning I had texts from a couple of friends who asked me to remember the events on 9/11 and I responded by texting a few others. Then I visited my local Rod & Gun Club, which is hosting a match today, because I had some tickets to deliver to them, without which they couldn’t have run the event. They remembered it with a Moment of Silence.

    The Wall Street Journal’s web home page has a story about Biden laying a wreath but the Royals dominate, which is to be expected. I think it’s the fourth story down on the NY Post website and again – the Royals dominate.

    As I do every year, I took a few moments to remember exactly where I was standing and what I was doing when I saw the first and second planes hit the Twin Towers. In a bathrobe, dripping wet, watching Peter Jennings (who initially thought it was an accident.)

    My father sent me a text message to remind me and I responded: “Of course.”

    Since I no longer participate on Facebook I have probably missed the posts from many of my friends who are remembering 9/11 today. They are more patriotic than usual but in terms of political ‘voice’ they are squelched and deliberately ignored.

    So I think a lot of people are remembering 9/11 but they’re not really being represented in the media. Right now the money shot is all in Great Britain.

    • I should add that my town’s Community Center (sponsored and supported for the most part with taxpayer funding) devoted a full page to a Tag Sale in this month’s newsletter, featuring things like Free Office Items the Town Hall was giving away. Throughout the rest of the eight pages there wasn’t a single reference or even the most oblique reference to 9/11. They do, however, feature a prominent Rainbow Flag on Page One, in addition to all the information about how to apply for Fuel Assistance and the free eat-in and take-out menu items they have available.

      But no mention of 9/11 at all.

      Gone and forgotten.

    • And I should add: It’s sad that the Queen died at age 96, but I can’t think of any people in the world who deserve more publicity than the Royal Family in Great Britain. They have certainly come “face to face with famine” !!

  3. I think the wars following 9/11, while understandable to some extent, were largely ineffective. That is to say, the world would probably look the same without them.

    The war on the Western populations (massive surveillance, airport security theater, etc.) have probably been ineffective as well. Europe has let in millions of additional Muslims, and some of the terror attacks that periodically occur were committed by persons under observation.

    Western subjects have gotten used to the surveillance and government orders, so opposition is weak. For example, I don’t think the COVID-19 measures could have been pulled off in the 1990s. People would have been in the street with forceful demonstrations after two months.

  4. The lion kingdom is reminded how inferior US’s $1 billion trillion military is compared to a few thousand guys with duct tape & every country has its own sharia law, whether it’s not being allowed to say fuck in Dubai or call a man a man in US.

  5. Shouldn’t people trying to earn right-wing-overthrow-the-government-but-also-CONSTITUTION! points (like “Dr” Phil and most of his readers) be crowing about the Benghazi anniversary today? “Dr” Phil — you lost an opportunity for a +10 in your Alex Jones-wannabe account.

    • Mike: a search of the posts and comments turns up 0 posts where “Benghazi” is mentioned. There are a handful of comments from Senorpablo that use the city name. Here’s an example: “I don’t get the extreme irrationality and hypocrisy that republicans are drawn to. Four adult Americans who well knew the risks they signed up for killed in Benghazi, a random act of terrorism in a highly conflicted country, of which similar embassy attacks with orders of magnitude more deaths happened under Reagan and Bush. Yet republicans lose their freeking minds so long as Hilary can be the scapegoat.”

    • So the idea that anyone else on this blog talks or thinks about Benghazi seems to be a projection from your own psyche.

    • MAA: The Benghazi attack or Alex Jones (both of which/whom I have never really heard of) aren’t mentioned in the blog posts.

      Wikipedia claims that Fox News spread some stories about the Benghazi attack. If that is the angle, I feel compelled to point out that Fox News is Australian-owned. 🙂

    • I’m grateful to our loyal Australian reader for reminding me of those Hillary postings. I would still like to buy Hillary-brand hot sauce. And the 2018 https://www.theguardian.com/world/2018/nov/22/hillary-clinton-europe-must-curb-immigration-stop-populists-trump-brexit is funny when compared to https://www.nytimes.com/2022/09/06/us/politics/asylum-biden-administration.html

      https://philip.greenspun.com/blog/2017/01/26/gleason-a-good-movie-for-parents-partners-and-hillary-clinton-enthusiasts/ is timely given that I attended a Patriots-Dolphins NFL game yesterday (friends came down from Boston to watch the Team of Science lose to the Team of Party On 20-7).


      says “Trump wants to stop poking Russia with a stick. Hillary thinks that we are clever enough to use our military and economic power to bend foreigners to our will.” I guess we will find out how clever we are. (I was recently listening to a professor from the US Naval War College say that the U.S. recognition of Kosovo as an independent nation opened the door to thinking that Europe’s borders could be adjusted. The lecture was recorded post-coronapanic, but prior to the current war in Ukraine.)


      is still relevant.


      is the Cisco CEO’s prediction that middle-class Americans would be in trouble regardless of who won. https://www.heritage.org/markets-and-finance/commentary/middle-class-incomes-surging-thanks-trump-policies however said, in 2019, “Middle-class incomes, after adjusting for inflation, have surged by $5,003 since Donald Trump became president in January 2017.” But the gains turned out to be temporary, I think. Now the middle class has to pay $50,000 for a basic car, $500,000 for a basic house that is anywhere near a job, plus taxes to pay down $trillions in debt incurred during coronapanic (and don’t forget paying for others’ student loans!).

      https://philip.greenspun.com/blog/2015/08/12/hillary-clintons-college-affordability-plan/ remains relevant.

      Hillary Clinton has proposed to change the way Americans pay for college. The money collected by universities will stay the same, the teaching methods will be unaltered, and students will do the same things for the same amount of time. The big difference is that about $350 billion in additional taxes will be paid by Americans and then the government will make sure that (at least most of) the money gets to the colleges. Paying taxes instead of tuition will make college more “affordable” for Americans, according to Clinton and most of the media (e.g., nytimes), just as Obamacare made health care more “affordable” despite the overall cost remaining roughly constant as a percentage of GDP.

      It occurred to me that a politician could promise to raise the average American’s tax bill by $70,000 and then buy each family a Mercedes or BMW at list price. This would be called “The Mercedes and BMW affordability plan.”


      Biden, of course, has changed who pays for college expenses (shifting the burden from the laptop class to the working class), but the core college scam continues unaltered (i.e., colleges collecting $trillions without actually educating many their customers in any measurable way (see some data in https://philip.greenspun.com/book-reviews/academically-adrift )).

    • Calling mocking of Hillary Clinton insanity reminds me how regime critics in Soviet Union were officially declared insane. Because only insane person could be against paradise on Earth that Soviet Union was. In the same way, only insane person could mock such integrity and noblesse as incorporated by Hillary Clinton. One should only remember that charming laughter after “we came, we saw, he died” . Not that I feel sorry for Gaddafi, but for the people that have to live in the living hell that Libya became after charming Hillary “came”.

    • Mata: That’s a great point. It is okay to use the word “Clinton”, but if used in a less than reverential tone that is a sign of insanity and readiness for commitment to a mental institution.

      So the 26,080 results at https://www.nytimes.com/search?dropmab=false&query=%22hillary%20clinton%22&sort=best are evidence of intelligence and sanity. But the results at https://philip.greenspun.com/blog/page/7/?s=%22hillary+clinton%22 must be scrutinized by trained psychiatric professionals.

    • In the beginning of the 90s I was living in Germany. There was article in “Süddeutsche Zeitung“, written by some Russian guy, unfortunately I can not remember who it was nor exact year in which it appeared (around 1994, I guess). Maybe it was just reader’s opinion, I can not remember. It was real prophesy. He wrote something like: “You always tell me: you do not understand this or that, it is because you are new into democracy, you come from dictatorship. You must take your time, learn democratic way of things, and then you will understand. You arrogant westerners, you understand nothing, we are not heading towards the place were you were, you are heading towards the place where we were.”

      Even at that time there were some clues he could be right, but now it just gives me chills when I remember that.

  6. Thankfully, I was in South America on 9/11, with no plan to return any time soon, so I was spared the uber-patriotism that ensued here in the United States. What does stand out for me is that many people of non-U.S. nationality were killed that day as well, and that 15 of the 19 hijackers were Saudi Arabian citizens. Not one was Iraqi, Afghan or Iranian. Many times more people die every year in the United States from gun-inflicted wounds than died on 9/11. That is terrorism at its worst.

    • Among native English speakers, the word “terrorism” has a meaning that does not include black males shooting black males in inner city America, which is where most gun violence occurs.

    • Jennifer, how crime is in Latin America? I assume that your host country is not looking forward to 9/11 event because it has high crime rates and/or crime-ridden slums and/or drug cartel wars, somewhat lowered by lax American southern in-ward border crossing policy. Judging by you hard level of wokeness as America is concerned, how can you stay is such countries?

    • Anon: From the perspective of an American Progressive, the big problem with Latin America is lack of faith in the Sacrament of Abortion Care. The map in https://www.axios.com/2022/05/05/only-3-countries-have-rolled-back-abortion-rights-since-1994 for example shows that El Salvador, Nicaragua, and Honduras restrict abortion care even when a reproductive health care doctor says that the pregnant person’s life is in danger. Many of the other countries in Latin America have what we would call a “ban” on abortion care (i.e., it is available only to save a pregnant person’s life).

      Progressives boycott much of the U.S. based on lack of access to abortion care for pregnant people visiting reproductive health care facilities (see https://missionlocal.org/2022/03/san-francisco-is-now-boycotting-most-of-the-united-states/ ), yet the same Progressives enthusiastically trade with and vacation in countries that have much stricter laws against abortion care being provided to pregnant people as part of their reproductive health care. A San Francisco Progressive will go straight from the Rage Against Clarence Thomas rally to the airport (in an N95 mask, one hopes) to vacation in Costa Rica (“abortions are allowed in Costa Rica only in order to preserve the life or physical health of the woman” says Wikipedia).

    • RRicardo: I have little doubt that most U.S Conservatives relish the fact that Americans of African ancestry make up the highest percentage of gun-inflicted homicides and deaths in the United States. The Conservatives’/Republicans’ enthusiastic support of the NRA’s illogical defense of rampant gun ownership is indeed a form of terrorism that is insidious and chilling to the bone.

    • @Jennifer: your point of view reflects communist notions and is freedom – averse. You give impossible new meanings to words, in your phraseology words make no sense, language and coherent thought and meaning disappears in your world. US is based on the Bill of Rights, union would not coalesce without 2nd Amendment, it was condition for Norther states to joint the union. Slavers had problem with it, they denied universal right to own firearms and protect themselves to enslaved Black people while considered only themselves worthy of firearm ownership of course. That was position of past Democrats and it is position of senseless America haters and unfortunately of most of but not all DC Democrats politicians today. NRA protects rights of all people, independent of their creed and skin color, to keep and bear arms. It is senseless and malicious to accuse organizations created by Union veterans of Civil War and consisting of law abiding citizens and which teaches firearms safety and protects civil rights of millions in terrorism and racial hate. It is mirror opposite of the image that you paint.

  7. I was in school at that time & vaguely remember an Indian English daily with headlines like ‘USA attacked’…

    many years later, when I joined Akamai (Bangalore), is when I got to know about Danny Lewin – the cofounder of Akamai who was abroad on one of those flights.
    He was quite a legend already (originally published consistent hashing & served in the Israeli army …)

    Om Shanti.

  8. > What are you thinking about today with respect to the events of 9/11/2001?

    Why the lack of curiosity about the “dancing Israelis”? Their celebration occurred after the first tower impact and before the second. Most people then thought it was a horrifying freak accident, didn’t they? But the celebrants didn’t need to see the second impact to know what was going on.

    I’d have thought that would raise some questions. But apparently not (e.g. here or here, which are silent on the question of timing).

  9. “In the councils of government, we must guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the military-industrial complex”

    Dwight D. Eisenhower

    Was it incompetence or malevolence that failed to prevent 9/11 attacks , especially when known that many warnings from foreign services were ignored by US intelligence service? How could I know?

    But following wars were very lucrative for some, and brought only death and suffering to many.

    • Remember that the phrase might be missing one word!


      Geoffrey Perret, in his biography of Eisenhower, claims that, in one draft of the speech, the phrase was “military–industrial–congressional complex”, indicating the essential role that the United States Congress plays in the propagation of the military industry, but the word “congressional” was dropped from the final version to appease the then-currently elected officials.

      James Ledbetter calls this a “stubborn misconception” not supported by any evidence; likewise a claim by Douglas Brinkley that it was originally “military–industrial–scientific complex”. Additionally, Henry Giroux claims that it was originally “military–industrial–academic complex”


    • Well, if it was “congressional”, then Ike did foresee insider trading. If it was “scientific” or “academic”, then Ike did foresee Jeffrey Epstein . What a genius he was.

Comments are closed.