The European Parliament has announced that the 2020 Sakharov Prize is going to the Belarusian opposition Coordination Council, a predominantly female group who are holding out for dignity and democracy. It’s surely a mark of the 26 year reign of the podpolkovnik (supreme commander) Alexander Lukashenko that this is the third time the prize has made its way to the troubled Belarus.
The Sakharov Prize for Freedom of Thought is awarded each year by the European Parliament. It was set up in 1988 to honour individuals and organisations defending human rights and fundamental freedoms. It is named in honour of Soviet physicist and political dissident Andrei Sakharov and the prize money is 50 000 euros.
The announcement was also the day that Trump was finally overturned. It’s no coincidence that I mention Trump in the same journal as the dictator Lukashenko. You can draw your own conclusions.
Having mentioned bad presidents, I might as well point out some US statistics that should give you pause for thought. This week marks the first time that the deaths from Covid each day in the US exceed the deaths from the 9/11 attacks. In case you misunderstand the significance of this number, the daily death count from Covid is up there with the numbers attributed to cardiovascular and cancer diseases. Today, while the average national Covid mortality rate may be as low as 94, New Jersey has a covid mortality rate of 201 and New York state is 184 per 100,000. Comparisons with the national mortality rates for other diseases is troubling. US cardiovascular mortality is 219.4 and US cancer mortality is 158.3 per 100,000 (2017).
There was an article in Nature in October whose title starts ‘How Trump damaged science’. It opined that ‘some of the harm could be permanent.’ Depending on your faith, death might be considered permanent.
The dead don’t vote though it must be said that the Buenos Aires Times reported that 100,000 dead Porteños voted for Carlos Menem for President when I was working in Argentina.