Strange are the ways of the Nobel Peace Prize

Last Updated: Fri, Oct 12, 2012 15:43 hrs

So the European Union (EU) has won the Nobel Peace Prize for over six decades of contribution 'to the advancement of peace and reconciliation, democracy and human rights in Europe.'

Maybe next year the prize should go to India for over three thousand years contribution to 'not having conquered any other country and faced dozens of deadly large-scale attacks with peace and poise!'

Of all the Nobels, the Peace Prize is definitely the most strangest. If there was a fairly awarded Nobel Peace Prize of the Century, then it would probably go to Mahatma Gandhi. If there was one for the millennium, he’d be a strong contender for that too!

So the end result is that Gandhi never won the Peace Prize, even though he was considered many times and his many admirers have won it.

Another contradiction is the post of the US President. How can you give the Peace Prize to the Commander-in-Chief of the largest military force in the history of mankind, especially considering the fact that they are stationed all over the world and involved with any one conflict at any given point of time?

Barack Obama was nominated when he was just weeks in office for doing nothing and promising the moon. This is most ironical, considering the fact that he is involved in the most intense military operations currently raging in Afghanistan.

The lowest point has got to be the Pakistani drone attacks. From 2004-08, under the George W Bush era, there were an estimated 46 attacks and the number of killed (exact figures vary) may have been up to 500. Obama intensified those attacks and the figure crossed 700 in 2009 and 1000 in 2008 alone!

Estimates say that up to a total of 900 civilians may have been killed and that includes the toll for children in 3 figures. Drone strikes have terrorized the area and led to great tensions for huge civilian populations.

The situation in West Asia is also critical. Iran’s nuclear ambitions are a huge threat and Obama has alienated both Israel and the Palestinians. Peace Prize for what? One may ask.

Bill Clinton as President ordered bombing and missile strikes in Bosnia, Afghanistan, Sudan and Iraq. That did not stop his deputy Al Gore from getting the Peace Prize in 2007 for his efforts in climate change. That even as no concrete breakthrough has been made in climate change except a lot of lofty talk and the US remains the biggest stumbling block.

Jimmy Carter became the only US President to boycott an Olympic Games. He reinstated registration for the draft for young males into military services. He proclaimed the Carter Doctrine which stated that the US would use 'military force if necessary to defend its national interests in the Persian Gulf region'. That set the tone for decades of war to follow. Carter was awarded the Peace Prize in 2002 all the same.

President Richard Nixon is infamous for the grim Vietnam War. His Secretary of State Henry Kissinger and North Vietnamese leader Le Duc Tho got the Peace Prize in 1973 even though peace had not come to Vietnam at that point. Two Nobel Committee members resigned in protest.

Nuclear proliferation has continued at a good pace since the first A-bomb was exploded in 1945. The Big 5 have thousands of nuclear warheads. After that India, Pakistan, Israel and North Korea all joined the club. Now Iran is also on the verge of doing so. The International Atomic Energy Agency has been ineffective in this regard and yet it won the Peace Prize in 2005.

Israel has been involved in many wars since its inception and refuses to give Palestinian statehood. Yasser Arafat on the other hand formed the paramilitary group Fatah and the two clashed on a regular basis. However both the President of Israel (Shimon Peres) and Arafat got the Peace Prize in 1994 for the Oslo Accords, which can be said to have failed and are viewed negatively both by the Palestinians and Israelis today.

There have been more winners who were once Army chiefs (like Egyptian Anwar-Al Sadat) or used violence as a means to achieve their ends (like South African Nelson Mandela) but embraced peace in the later stages of their lives.

Perhaps had Gandhi led an armed struggle against the British and then declared peace, he would have got the Nobel!

2012 also follows this strange trend. In the past the EU was seen as a panacea for all of Europe’s ills. Europeans were gung-ho and such unions seemed to be the future of the world.

However, today the reality has changed.

The continent is facing a financial crisis and now many people want to get out of the EU. To many it has just started failing and the worst is yet to come. It is in this backdrop that the Peace Prize is awarded is quite ironic indeed.

Image: A statue of a globe painted with the EU flag and a peace dove stands in the garden of a church near the EU Council in Brussels, Friday, Oct. 12, 2012. The European Union won the Nobel Peace Prize on Friday for its efforts to promote peace and democracy in Europe, despite being in the midst of its biggest crisis since the bloc was created in the 1950s. (AP Photo/Geert Vanden Wijngaert)

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