The Nobel Peace Prize is a Joke
Barack Obama has been president for nine months. Guantanamo Bay remains open; we’re still in two wars. These credentials hardly seem deserving of the world’s most prominent award for peacemaking. Of course, the Nobel Peace prize isn’t really about peace, is it?
One would think that a man who led nationwide campaigns to ease poverty, expand women’s rights, build religious and ethnic amity, end untouchability, and increase economic self-reliance would deserve a peace prize. Doubly so if he rid his nation of foreign colonial control. Triply so if the man’s strict adherence to the principle of nonviolence inspired the works of Martin Luther King, a laureate himself.
But no dice. Gandhi never won. But Arafat did. Yasser Arafat, a man responsible for the murder of Israeli civilians, a Jordanian civil war, monopolies of Palestinian commodities – essentially gouging his own people – and the theft of nearly one billion dollars of Palestinian money. If there were a Nobel Dickhead Prize, I could see giving it to Arafat. But peace? By the time he got going negotiating with Israel, he was pretty much de-legitimized in Palestinians’ eyes, and therefore ineffectual.
Mother Theresa also won the Nobel Peace Prize. Perhaps I am naive in assuming that her tight relationship with Haiti’s Duvalier family should have been a bar. After all, accepting vast amounts of money from the dictator of the poorest country in the western hemisphere is essentially taking vast amounts of money from the people he took that money from. Her grasp of the concept of “peace” seems to fall pretty far out of the mainstream, too. Her acceptance speech was a denunciation of abortion, which has little to do with international relations. She didn’t even provide the peace of palliative care to the inmates at her death dormitories.
Unlike the science awards, the Nobel Peace Prize apparently does not require that its recipients do demonstrable good for their cause. This year’s award is just another example of that.