Today, South Carolina can be proud of one of our own

File photo: The last time I saw Beasley was at the State House in 2015. He's been busy since.

File photo: The last time I saw Beasley was at the State House in 2015. He’s been busy since, doing good work.

Today, we can be proud of one of our own: Former Gov. David Beasley, who runs the U.N.’s World Food Programme. Today, his program was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize.

This just cuts through so much nonsense.

The last time this prize was in the news, it was because a right-wing nut in Scandinavia was recommending Donald Trump for it. This week, we’re all wrapped up in whether or when there will be more presidential debates (I, for one, don’t ever need to see another one like the one we’ve seen), the plots of nutballs in Michigan, and who is or is not “likable” enough.

And now this, which reminds us what is important: Feeding starving people.

We used to yammer about nonsense when David was our governor, too. But now, he spends his days laboring in a higher calling than any in which I have ever engaged, and I expect y’all would say the same.

The challenge is immense, and in large part the Nobel committee gave the program this prize to call the world’s attention to it — and tell us to rise up and help. Here in America, we have amazingly idiotic arguments over wearing masks. David Beasley, who experienced COVID himself several months ago, gets up every morning and tries to meet the broader disaster this pandemic has visited upon the poor of the world:

Last month, the World Food Program’s executive director, David Beasley, warned of a wave of famine that could sweep the globe, brought on by a combination of conflict and the coronavirus pandemic. He said WFP needed $5 billion to prevent an estimated 30 million people dying from starvation. Beasley pointedly noted that there are 2,000 billionaires in the world, and asked them to help.

“Humanity is facing the greatest crisis any of us have seen in our lifetimes,” Beasley said.

Because of the coronavirus, the agency estimates that the number of people facing food insecurity will double, to roughly 270 million. Lockdowns and weakened economies are undermining a decades-long — and largely successful — effort to reduce extreme poverty. The World Bank projects poverty levels to rise for the first time since the 1990s….

“In the blink of an eye, a health crisis became an economic crisis, a food crisis, a housing crisis, a political crisis. Everything collided with everything else,” the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation said in a recent report. “We’ve been set back about 25 years in about 25 weeks.”

Millions in Syria and Yemen depend each month on WFP for survival. The organization says that more than 800 million people are chronically hungry, most of them living in conflict-stricken areas….

We must join our former governor in meeting this crisis. How? I don’t know. For starters, of course, we can vote for leaders who don’t call the places where the starving live “shithole countries.” But as individuals, as a country, as a community of nations, we must do more than that…

Mali,  Koundougou village, Mopti region, 20 May 2018 The Executive Director of the World Food Programme (WFP), David Beasley, travelled to West Africa, where more than five million people in six countries of the Sahel region – Burkina Faso, Chad, Mali, Mauritania, Niger and Senegal - could go hungry this year.  “In the Sahel, low rainfall has hurt harvests and reduced fodder and water for livestock, making lives harder for people there. WFP is working actively to help, and I am looking forward to meeting with the leaders of Senegal, Mali and Niger to reinforce our commitment to support their response plans. Our work in this region also includes long-term programmes that help communities help themselves, and I am looking forward to meeting men, women and children who are participating in these efforts.”      WFP urgently requires US$165 million to meet the needs of 3.5 million people during the lean season.  WFP is also working with partners and national governments on plans to scale up resilience to create jobs for young people; rehabilitate land and restore ecosystems; and invest in health, nutrition and education for a sustainable future.  In the Photo: WFP Executive Director David Beasley warmly welcomed by the community in the village of Koundougou, where WFP provides humanitarian assistance to address urgent needs during lean season, along with resilience building activities for long-term food security. Photo: WFP/Cecilia Aspe

Beasley in Burkina Faso.

23 thoughts on “Today, South Carolina can be proud of one of our own

  1. Sally Huguley

    WOW!!! I wasn’t all that crazy about Beasley as governor but have seen him often on the national news talking about the challenges faced by the world’s poor. Always speaking most passionately. Well deserved for a man who has undertaken a critical global position that largely goes unnoticed.

  2. Bryan Caskey

    That is great. Glad to see good work being recognized. Has any other South Carolinian won the Nobel Peace Prize before…or I guess any Nobel Prize for that matter?

          1. Mark Stewart

            The World Food Programme won the Nobel Peace Prize. Indesbutable fact; which misses the delicious irony of a Trump administration appointee he’s never heard of accepting that which Trump most covets on behave of one of his most despised institutions – the UN.

            Given all the insane conspiracy rants infecting our public discourse since Trump spat out his Obama birtherism nonsense, this alternate take on an actual sequence of events provides some much-needed counter-balance. At least it does for me.

            But Ken, if you do not think that the Nobel Peace Prize is a highly politicized selection process with deep consideration of the implications and impacts to flow from the award I don’t know what to say.

            1. Ken

              Oh, I appreciate the political aspect to Nobel selections.

              But I’m waiting for evidence that substantiates your speculation that this particular selection was meant as a slap at Trump.

              Anyway, comment was direct solely at those who seem confused over who was actually awarded the prize.

              1. Mark

                We will never see any substantiation; that’s the way things are supposed to work in a functioning world. My guess is this has not been a year with much international positivity and the WFP was the best of the safe choices for the committee. So fairly and appropriately won.

                That said, since he was (twice good grief) nominated for a Peace Prize Trump had to have been at least a cursory consideration. Being on the list and then not being selected is all the factual substantiation we’ll most likely get. On the flip side, this is the perfect set-up for a spin job that would really get under Trump’s skin and scratch his brittle ego. Whether this would be politically disadvantageous for Trump at this moment is likely debatable, however. So it’s just my personal enjoyment of the spin possibility talking here. Trump deserves some epic trolling; it’s the only thing he understands and appreciates. Well, not when its directed at himself…

                Celebrating the WFP and its quiet, competent and productive efforts to deliver humanitarian relief is just the kind of positivity this year needs. Gov. Beasley deserves credit as well for dedicating himself to yeoman’s work (yeah, I know, living in Rome, etc.) as executive director of the WFP. That’s the story that should be the subject of our public discourse.

                1. Ken

                  I think the Nobel Committee was simply aiming to give a boost to a worthwhile UN-associated agency. That the ego monster in the White House may perceive their choice as a snub is possible. But it gives him WAY too much credit to suggest he actually prompted the committee to make the selection they did

                  Besides, Republicans have a record of disliking the UN stretching back at least to Reagan. So Trump’s attitude toward the body is par for the course rather than an exception.

    1. Bill

      I won the Nobel Peace Prize and a couple others(order of palmetto) before but the peace prize was stolen by Barbers Without Borders…

  3. Mark

    It should be lost on no one that Beasley was nominated to the WFP directorship by Nikki Haley in February 2017 – and therefor in effect by President Trump as one of his earliest international actions.

    This is epic level repudiation by the Nobel Prize committee. Epic trolling of the guy who will NEVER receive Nobel prize recognition, and its even too remote for him to try to claim credit for the WFP’s success. The fact that Beasley, a Republican, supported – against the tide – hauling down the Statehouse Confederate flag is just a bit of icing on the cake. Three-dimensional chess I think Trump’s base call it. But this time, it’s in full reverse. Smack! Wonder how long it will take Trump to figure it out… Never?

    1. Brad Warthen Post author

      That picture at the top of the post is from the day Nikki signed the legislation to bring down the flag. That’s the last time I saw him in person, so it’s the last picture I have of him…

    2. Barry

      Beasley was against the lottery in South Carolina and is a decent human being.

      Trump owned casinos and is an awful human being.

      Don’t know you know trump would just hate Beasley.

      1. Mark

        No lottery, no Confederate flag – quite a stand in the 1990s. Don’t know him, but suspect he’s a forward and empathetic thinker.

  4. jim catoe


    Kary Mullis a classmate of mine at Dreher High School, won the Nobel Prize in Chemistry in 1992.

    1. Scout

      That’s right! I knew Dreher had a chemistry winner and was going to look it up. I just googled him. He won the award for developing the PCR process. That’s rather timely now, since it’s what they use for the gold standard Covid test (and other genetic tests).

      1. Brad Warthen Post author

        Can’t say I’m familiar with Dovesville. I seldom have had occasion to pass that way.

        But I’ve known Society Hill my whole life — mainly as a place to pass through, and also as the place where you turn off to go to Camp Coker.

        Even when I was a little kid, I was sort of, I don’t know, entertained by the name of the place. Which I just looked up: “Society Hill was originally settled in the 18th century by a colony of Baptists, who named the community after their “St. David’s Society”.”

        I suppose those would have been original, regular Baptists, rather than Southern Baptists.

        Anyway, since the ’90s, I’ve tended to be reminded of David Beasley when I pass through there on the way to Bennettsville…

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