Nobel Committee Gets Peace Prize Wrong Yet Again

By David Swanson, World BEYOND War, October 8, 2021

The Nobel Committee has yet again awarded a peace prize that violates the will of Alfred Nobel and the purpose for which the prize was created, selecting recipients who blatantly are not “the person who has done the most or best to advance fellowship among nations, the abolition or reduction of standing armies, and the establishment and promotion of peace congresses.”

That there are numerous candidates who plausibly meet the criteria and could have been appropriately awarded a Nobel Peace Prize is established by the list of nominees published by Nobel Peace Prize Watch, and by the War Abolisher Awards which were given out two days ago to highly qualified persons and organizations selected from dozens of nominees. Three awards were presented. The Lifetime Organizational War Abolisher of 2021: Peace Boat. The David Hartsough Lifetime Individual War Abolisher of 2021: Mel Duncan. The War Abolisher of 2021: Civic Initiative Save Sinjajevina.

The trouble with the Nobel Peace Prize has long been and remains that it often goes to warmongers, that it often goes to good causes that have little direct connection to abolishing war, and that it often favors the powerful rather than those in need of funding and prestige to support good work. This year it has been awarded to another good cause that has little direct connection to abolishing war. Although virtually every topic can be tangentially connected to war and peace, the avoidance of actual peace activism intentionally misses the point of the prize’s creation by Alfred Nobel and the influence of Bertha von Suttner.

The Nobel Peace Prize has devolved into a prize for random good things that don’t offend a culture dedicated to endless war. This year it was awarded for journalism, last year for working against hunger. In past years it has been awarded for protecting children’s rights, teaching about climate change, and opposing poverty. These are all good causes and can all be connected to war and peace. But these causes should go find their own prizes.

The Nobel Peace Prize is so devoted to awarding powerful officials and avoiding peace activism that it is often awarded to the wagers of wars, including Abiy Ahmed, Juan Manuel Santos, the European Union, and Barack Obama, among others.

At times the prize has gone to opponents of some aspect of war, advancing the idea of reforming even while maintaining the institution of war. These awards have come closest to the purpose for which the prize was created, and include the 2017 and 2018 prizes.

The prize has also been used to advance the propaganda of some of the world’s major war makers. Awards like this year’s have been used to denounce violations of human rights in non-Western nations targeted in the weapons-funding propaganda of Western nations. This record allows Western media outlets each year to speculate before the prize announcement on whether it will go to favorite propaganda topics, such as Alexei Navalny. The actual recipients this year are from Russia and the Philippines, Russia being the primary target of U.S. and NATO war preparations, including the primary excuse for the construction of new military bases in Norway.

Journalism, even antiwar journalism, can be found around the world. Violations of the rights of antiwar journalism can be found around the world. The most extreme case of violating the rights of one of the most impactful antiwar journalists is the case of Julian Assange. But there was never any question of the prize going to someone targeted by the U.S. and UK governments.

At a moment when the world’s largest weapons dealer, most frequent launcher of wars, dominant deployer of troops to foreign bases, greatest enemy of the International Criminal Court and the rule of law in international affairs, and supporter of oppressive governments — the U.S. government — is trumpeting a division between so-called democracies and non-democracies, the Nobel Committee has chosen to throw gas on this fire, declaring:

“Since its start-up in 1993, Novaja Gazeta has published critical articles on subjects ranging from corruption, police violence, unlawful arrests, electoral fraud and ‘troll factories’ to the use of Russian military forces both within and outside Russia. Novaja Gazeta’s opponents have responded with harassment, threats, violence, and murder.”

Lockheed Martin, the Pentagon, and U.S. President Joe Biden will be delighted with this selection — Biden far more in fact than with the awkwardness of being ridiculously given the prize himself (as was done with Barack Obama).

Also given the prize this year was a journalist from the Philippines already funded by CNN and by the U.S. government, in fact by a U.S. government agency often involved in funding military coups. It is worth noting that the Nobel Peace Prize was established to help fund peace activists in need of funding.

6 Comments

  1. Tom Heibel says:

    When I first read Obama was awarded the prize, I immediately checked the by-line to see if it came from the Onion.

  2. Kevin Quinn says:

    Next year RT gets a turn?

  3. Fair criticism of the Nobel Committee.

    I have always been of the opinion that the Peace prize should not be ever given to a person representing a government organization or working for a government organization (this exception rule should include all politicians). In my opinion, the Peace prize should not be given to government organizations either. No International Government Organization (IGO) should be considered for receiving this prize either.

    The author is correct that this year’s prize in case of the Novaya gazeta is given for a good cause and it is not perhaps directly related to the purpose of the prize as it was originally envisioned. Yet, I am glad that the prize is given to the Novaya Gazeta and not to other less deserving potential candidates.

    I also agree that Julian Assange deserves this prize no less than the Novaya Gazeta or a journalist from the Philippines.

  4. Andrew Nichols says:

    The NPP was irrevocably corrupted once Kissinger got one for Vietnam. At least Le Duc Tho had the morals spine to refuse his joint award.

  5. Great article. But, let’s not forget the US Peace Prize, which since 2009 has been awarded to Americans with a direct connection to abolishing war http://www.uspeaceprize.org.

  6. The worst part of it all for us here in the Philippines is that Maria Ressa, time and again, has been caught spreading blatant lies, bloating information and exaggerating numbers, all in the hopes of making herself look as if she’s the one being inflicted and censured – by the government, no less. That she made sure.

    And now, because she has been entitled by this undeserving award, has accused Facebook of being biased when, surprise surprise, her “media” organization, Rappler, had always been the fact-checker for FB Philippines. They have stifled so many voices, removed so many posts all under the guise of being “fact-checkers against fake news”.

    We feel so gaslighted by her – she actually relishes over the thought of making the Philippines look so small to the world. She’s a megalomaniac who just felt bigger because she got this award.

    Alfred Nobel must be rolling in his grave.

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