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The committee that awards the Nobel Peace Prize does not approach its task the way the Academy assigns the Oscars. The Nobel is not a trophy to crown an achievement as much as a message … or more precisely, a "shot in the arm." The Nobel committee has long made it clear that they choose people or organizations that are advancing the cause of peace, and, as such, need an extra boost of international recognition to take their work and objectives further. It has sometimes led to some head-scratching choices. Last year, the prize went to the "Tunisian National Dialogue Quartet". In 2009, U.S. President Barack Obama was lauded barely eight months after he took office.


The 2016 choice appears to be even more odd. Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos won the Nobel this morning less than a week after a democratic rejection of his efforts to end the half-century civil war with communist rebel group FARC that has killed some 220,000 people.


The Nobel committee explained its choice in the face of last Sunday's referendum that rejected the peace deal: "This result has created great uncertainty as to the future of Colombia. There is a real danger that the peace process will come to a halt and that civil war will flare up again. This makes it even more important that the parties, headed by President Santos and FARC guerrilla leader Rodrigo Londoño, continue to respect the ceasefire."


The committee added that the peace deal's collapse "does not necessarily mean that the peace process is dead." It remains to be seen if this Nobel is that final shot in the arm needed to bring peace to Colombia. Or if the committee should start picking its winners like the Oscars.

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Ideas

García Márquez And Truth: How Journalism Fed The Novelist's Fantasy

In his early journalistic writings, the Colombian novelist Gabriel García Márquez showed he had an eye for factual details, in which he found the absurdity and 'magic' that would in time be the stuff and style of his fiction.

Colombian novelist Gabriel Garcia Marquez reads his book

J. D. Torres Duarte

BOGOTÁ — In short stories written in the 1940s and early 50s and later compiled in Eyes of a Blue Dog, the late Gabriel García Márquez, Colombia's Nobel Prize-winning novelist, shows he is as yet a young writer, with a style and subjects that can be atypical.

Stylistically, García Márquez came into his own in the celebrated One Hundred Years of Solitude. Until then both his style and substance took an erratic course: touching the brevity of film scripts in Nobody Writes to the Colonel, technical experimentation in Leaf Storm, the anecdotal short novel in In Evil Hour or exploring politics in Big Mama's Funeral. Throughout, the skills he displayed were rather of a precocious juggler.

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