A Nobel Peace Prize well deserved, a mixed record of governance, perseverance is key, history or indoctrination?, soccer bridges divides

A roundup of global commentary for the Oct. 24, 2016 weekly magazine.

Kim Kyung-Hoon/Reuters
A man uses a mobile phone in front of a Pokemon Go advertisement in Tokyo, July, 2016.

El Espectador / Colombia

A Nobel Peace Prize well deserved

“President Juan Manuel Santos deserved to receive the Nobel Peace Prize,” states an editorial. “We hope that this vote of confidence from the international community will provide a push to overcome the uncertainty and salvage the monumental effort that has been made in the past six years.... The message of the world is blunt: don’t squander, Colombians, this historic opportunity.”

Mmegi / Botswana

A mixed record of governance

“The 2016 Mo Ibrahim Index of African Governance (IIAG) was launched [recently]...,” writes Michael Dingake. “The [index] ... puts Botswana ... at number two [in the category of safety and the rule of law]...! Over the years I’ve watched Botswana slide down the precipice on the rule of law. Recent media reports of ... top public servants being summoned to appear before the Parliamentary Committee on Statutory Bodies for operating outside their mandate and authority, were far from tempering ... my conviction that government was violating the principle of the rule of law!... Bet your last thebe that thousands more cases of this nature go unreporte[d] and the hunch that if our country isn’t yet a Banana Republic it’s cruising towards the destination at breakneck speed.... Mea culpa, if I miss the point!” 

Copenhagen Post / Copenhagen, Denmark

Perseverance is key

“So many entrepreneurs and people in general believe that ‘overnight success’ exists and become frustrated when it does not happen to them...,” writes Joanna Atanassova. “There are so many examples out there being championed by the media – the most recent one that comes to mind is the hugely successful PokemonGo app, which was downloaded 7.5 million times in the US in barely half a week. But occurrences like this are creating an illusion that the founder of the app has hit it big with his first try, when the reality could not be more different. For John Hanke, the overnight success was the result of 20 years of hard work and improving his skills.... [I]nstead of feeling blue, founders should focus on achieving ‘long-term success’, no matter how many years of work it takes.”

South China Morning Post / Hong Kong

History or indoctrination?

“[T]he way history is taught can be a subject of dispute,” states an editorial. “The proposed changes to our Chinese history curriculum for junior secondary schools is an example.... [C]ritics said the curriculum only highlighted the glory of past dynasties and that the city’s history was only presented in the context of China’s development.... But ... we cannot expect every landmark development in the city to be included. After all, the subject is about the historical development of China rather than that of Hong Kong.... As long as it is carried out in a comprehensive and unbiased manner, there is no reason to resist national education or the learning of Chinese history.”

Daily News / Cairo

Soccer bridges divides

“Sunni scholars in Saudi Arabia and their Shi’a counterparts in Iran may be at war over who is a Muslim, but there is one thing they agree on: soccer detracts from religious obligations,” writes James Dorsey. “Iran, in the latest skirmish between soccer and Islam, is debating the propriety of playing a 2018 World Cup qualifier ... on ... the day Shi’a celebrate Tasua.... The Iranian debate erupted six years after Saudi clerics parked flatbed trucks in front of internet cafés to persuade fans to break away from watching matches being played in the 2010 World Cup in South Africa at prayer time.... [C]onservative men of the cloth, irrespective of what branch of Islam they adhere to ... see soccer as competition because it is one of the few things that can evoke the kind of deep-seated passion in the Middle East and North Africa that religion does.”

You've read  of  free articles. Subscribe to continue.

Dear Reader,

About a year ago, I happened upon this statement about the Monitor in the Harvard Business Review – under the charming heading of “do things that don’t interest you”:

“Many things that end up” being meaningful, writes social scientist Joseph Grenny, “have come from conference workshops, articles, or online videos that began as a chore and ended with an insight. My work in Kenya, for example, was heavily influenced by a Christian Science Monitor article I had forced myself to read 10 years earlier. Sometimes, we call things ‘boring’ simply because they lie outside the box we are currently in.”

If you were to come up with a punchline to a joke about the Monitor, that would probably be it. We’re seen as being global, fair, insightful, and perhaps a bit too earnest. We’re the bran muffin of journalism.

But you know what? We change lives. And I’m going to argue that we change lives precisely because we force open that too-small box that most human beings think they live in.

The Monitor is a peculiar little publication that’s hard for the world to figure out. We’re run by a church, but we’re not only for church members and we’re not about converting people. We’re known as being fair even as the world becomes as polarized as at any time since the newspaper’s founding in 1908.

We have a mission beyond circulation, we want to bridge divides. We’re about kicking down the door of thought everywhere and saying, “You are bigger and more capable than you realize. And we can prove it.”

If you’re looking for bran muffin journalism, you can subscribe to the Monitor for $15. You’ll get the Monitor Weekly magazine, the Monitor Daily email, and unlimited access to CSMonitor.com.