The Dirty Politics of the Nobel Peace Prize
NOBEL LAUREATES, 27 Oct 2014
The award of the 2014 Nobel Peace Prize to Pakistan’s Malala Yousafzai and India’s Kailash Satyarthi raises anew the persistent question concerning the dirty politics of the Norwegian Nobel Committee in the past decades. There are 3 major evidences to back up this claim.
1st Evidence — Both Winners Have Made No Achievement for World Peace
The first evidence for the dirty politics of the Norwegian Nobel Committee is that both Malala Yousafzai and Kailash Satyarthi have made no achievement for world peace.
Alfred Nobel, the founder of the Nobel peace prize, explicitly states that the prize should be awarded annually to those who have “done the most or the best work for fraternity between nations, for the abolition or reduction of standing armies and for the holding and promotion of peace congresses,” according to The Oxford Dictionary of Twentieth Century World History.
Nobel’s creation of the peace prize has much to do with his feeling of guilt over his inventions of “dynamite and ballistite, both of which were used violently during his lifetime. Ballistite was used in war and the Irish Republican Brotherhood, an Irish nationalist organization, carried out dynamite attacks in the 1880s. Nobel was also instrumental in turning Bofors from an iron and steel producer into an armaments company,” as documented in the Wikipedia article “Nobel Peace Prize.” Nobel therefore created the prize to promote global disarmament for world peace.
With this historical background in mind, in the first case concerning Malala, as I already explained in my previous article “The Story of Malala, and its Misuse for the Western Culture War” on November 29, 2013, she was known as writing a blog (under a pseudonym) when she was 12 years old, to depict the “oppressive” Taliban rule (not favoring formal education for girls), at a time when the Western “war on terror” in the region killed a lot of innocent civilians, and her story was picked up by the BBC in the U.K and later extensively promoted by other mainstream Western mass media (after she was shot by Taliban gunmen in 2012) to demonize the Taliban as a way to justify the Western-led “war on terror.”
But the choice of Malala for the peace prize is questionable, for two reasons.
Firstly, Malala was only 12 years old then and is 17 years old now, so she is too young to make any contribution to global education at all (other than making speeches mostly in the West arranged by Western sponsors in the last 3-4 years), while her polemic piece “I am Malala” (written on her behalf by the British journalist Christina Lamb, using the propagandistic slogan “I am Malala” advocated by the former British Prime Minister Gordon Brown) has been banned in her own country, or more precisely, by the All Pakistan Private Schools Federation in its 152,000 member institutions, due to her problematic hidden Western agendas.
And secondly, Malala’s passion for education has nothing to do with global disarmament for world peace as stipulated by Nobel in his will. If the Norwegian Nobel Committee were really serious to promote global education, they should have created a Nobel “Education” Prize instead.
In the second case concerning Satyarthi, he is known to be the founder of “the Bachpan Bachao Andolan,” an organization to campaign against child slavery (or forced child labor) in India over the past decades. Again, the choice of Satyarthi for the peace prize is questionable, for two reasons.
Firstly, the campaign to end child slavery (or forced child labor) has done nothing to eliminate the root cause of child labor, since the sad human condition there is the inability of families living below poverty lines to survive without the help of their children to work together to make ends meet; their problem is not that the poor parents of these unfortunate families do not want their children to have education but that they are simply too poor to make their ends meet without asking their own children for help by working. For this reason, in Bolivia, for instance, child labor is a fact of life and becomes legalized (not abolished) under the popular leadership of Evo Morales. If the Norwegian Nobel Committee were really serious to end forced child labor, they should have given billions of dollars annually to these poor families around the world so as to allow them to feed themselves, so that the children can be well fed and go to school without the need to help their families for survival by working.
And secondly, Satyarthi’s passion for child labor abolition has nothing to do with global disarmament for world peace as stipulated by Nobel in his will. If the Norwegian Nobel Committee were really serious to promote global child labor abolition, they should have created a Nobel “Abolition” Prize instead.
So, why did the Norwegian Nobel Committee award the prize to 2 individuals who make no contribution to global disarmament for world peace? This then leads us to the second evidence.
2nd Evidence — The Award Serves Norwegian Foreign Interests
The second evidence for the dirty politics of the Norwegian Nobel Committee is that the award is to promote Norwegian foreign interests (which are, more often than not, Western-biased).
The explanation by the chairman of the Norwegian Nobel Committee in this year’s award is telling indeed: “What we are saying is that we have awarded two people with the same cause, coming from India and Pakistan, a Muslim and a Hindu. It is in itself a strong signal.” Yes, it is “a strong signal” for Norwegian foreign image.
The members of the Norwegian Nobel Committee are no dummies, since they understand quite well that the 2 winners of the 2114 prize have made no contribution to global disarmament for world peace. Instead, they cleverly make up a political statement by linking the 2 winners, a Muslim in Pakistan and a Hindu in India, as a symbol for the promotion of peace in South Asia, at a time when both Pakistan and India have clashed chronically on the Indo-Pakistani border over their territorial dispute in Kashmir.
But this clever trick of the Norwegian Nobel Committee only makes the 2014 award decision even more questionable, for 2 main reasons.
Firstly, the works of Malala and Satyarthi have nothing to do with regional geopolitics between Pakistan and India (and also have nothing to do with religious harmony between Muslims and Hindus in South Asia) and therefore have made no achievement for regional geopolitical and religious peace in South Asia, as this rivalry between the two countries has existed since the end of the British colonial rule after the end of WWII.
And secondly, Malala and Satyarthi had never worked together (prior to the award) to promote anything in South Asia in the past decades; after all, Malala is still a teenager now (17 years old) and was not even born then (in much of the history of South Asian multi-dimensional conflicts).
This political statement of the Norwegian Nobel Committee in 2014 is not surprising, however. After all, “Norwegian historian Øivind Stenersen argues that Norway has been able to use the prize as an instrument for nation building and furthering Norway’s foreign policy and economic interests. In another 2011 Aftenposten opinion article, the grandson of one of Nobel’s two brothers, Michael Nobel, also criticized what he believed to be the politicization of the award, claiming that the Nobel Committee has not always acted in accordance with Nobel’s will,” as documented in the Wikipedia article on “Nobel Peace Prize.”
3rd Evidence – The Norwegian Nobel Committee Has a Long Notorious History of Partiality
And the third evidence for the dirty politics of the Norwegian Nobel Committee is that the Norwegian Nobel Committee has a long notorious history of partiality (so the 2014 controversial decision is not an isolated case), for three reasons.
The first reason is that the members of the Norwegian Nobel Committee are partial in their decisions due to the questionable recruitment and selection criteria.
One should remember that, as stipulated in Alfred Nobel’s will, the members of the Norwegian Nobel Committee are 5 retired member of the Parliament of Norway directly “appointed” by the parliament. As politicians themselves by profession, the members of the committee are “political” in orientation, especially when they have to decide on matters which are political by nature, that is, about “world peace.”
So the problem here is that “many of the judges cannot themselves be said to be impartial observers. In 2011, a feature story in the Norwegian newspaper Aftenposten contended that major criticisms of the award were that the Norwegian Nobel Committee ought to recruit members from professional and international backgrounds, rather than retired members of parliament; that there is too little openness about the criteria that the committee uses when they choose a recipient of the prize; and that the adherence to Nobel’s will should be more strict,” as documented in the Wikipedia article on “Nobel Peace Prize.”
The second reason is that there is a long list of controversial winners in the past decades. For instance, “the awards given to Mikhail Gorbachev, Yitzhak Rabin, Shimon Peres, Menachem Begin, Yasser Arafat, Lê Ðức Thọ, Henry Kissinger, Jimmy Carter, Al Gore, IPCC, Liu Xiaobo, Barack Obama, and the European Union have all been the subject of controversy. The awards given to Lê Ðức Thọ and Henry Kissinger prompted two dissenting Committee members to resign. Thọ refused to accept the prize, on the grounds that peace had not actually been achieved in Vietnam,” as documented in the Wikipedia article on “Nobel Peace Prize.”
And the third reason is that there are notable omissions of individuals in the past who deserved the prize but had been denied. For instance, “Foreign Policy has listed Mahatma Gandhi, Eleanor Roosevelt, U. Thant, Václav Havel, Ken Saro-Wiwa, Fazle Hasan Abed, Sari Nusseibeh, and Corazon Aquino as people who ‘never won the prize, but should have.’ Other notable omissions that have drawn criticism include Pope John Paul II, Hélder Câmara, and Dorothy Day,” as documented in the Wikipedia article on “Nobel Peace Prize.”
In fact, “the omission of Mahatma Gandhi has been particularly widely discussed, including in public statements by various members of the Nobel Committee. The Committee has confirmed that Gandhi was nominated in 1937, 1938, 1939, 1947, and, finally, a few days before his death in January 1948. The omission has been publicly regretted by later members of the Nobel Committee. Geir Lundestad, Secretary of Norwegian Nobel Committee in 2006 said, ‘The greatest omission in our 106-year history is undoubtedly that Mahatma Gandhi never received the Nobel Peace prize. Gandhi could do without the Nobel Peace prize, whether Nobel committee can do without Gandhi is the question,'” as documented in the Wikipedia article on “Nobel Peace Prize.”
The point here is not that Malala Yousafzai and Kailash Satyarthi have done no good for the world in their lives but that the award of the 2014 Nobel Peace Prize to them is a travesty of impartiality and a slap on the face of world peace. Malala may be nominated for a Nobel “Education” Prize and Satyarthi may be nominated for a Nobel “Abolition” Prize, but they do not deserve the Nobel “Peace” Prize.
Just in case that one may be tempted to dismiss this talk of the dirty politics of the Norwegian Nobel Committee as speculative at best, it is important to remember that “criticism summed up in the books of Norwegian lawyer Fredrik S. Heffermehl has [already] instigated a call by 16 prominent Scandinavians for a criminal investigation” against the Norwegian Nobel Committee, starting in 2014, as reported in the article “Criminal Investigation of the Nobel Peace Prize” on February 25, 2014 and documented in the Wikipedia article on “Nobel Peace Prize.”
Think about it again: The Norwegian Nobel Committee is under “criminal investigation”! Well, as a Chinese “sarcastic” saying has it, “We live in an interesting time.”
Dr. Peter Baofu is the author of 75 books and 77 new theories, all of which provide a visionary challenge to conventional wisdom in the social sciences, the formal sciences, the natural sciences, and the humanities, with the aim for a “unified theory of everything” — together with numerous visions of the mind, nature, society, and culture in future history. For more info about his visions on the future of global affairs, see some of his 75 books titled “The Future of Post-Human War and Peace” (2010), “Beyond the World of Titans, and the Remaking of World Order” (2007), “Beyond Civilization to Post-Civilization” (2006), “Beyond Capitalism to Post-Capitalism” (2005), “Beyond Democracy to Post-Democracy” (2004), “The Future of Capitalism and Democracy” (2002), the 2 volumes of “The Future of Human Civilization” (2000), and so on.
DISCLAIMER: The statements, views and opinions expressed in pieces republished here are solely those of the authors and do not necessarily represent those of TMS. In accordance with title 17 U.S.C. section 107, this material is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes. TMS has no affiliation whatsoever with the originator of this article nor is TMS endorsed or sponsored by the originator. “GO TO ORIGINAL” links are provided as a convenience to our readers and allow for verification of authenticity. However, as originating pages are often updated by their originating host sites, the versions posted may not match the versions our readers view when clicking the “GO TO ORIGINAL” links. This site contains copyrighted material the use of which has not always been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. We are making such material available in our efforts to advance understanding of environmental, political, human rights, economic, democracy, scientific, and social justice issues, etc. We believe this constitutes a ‘fair use’ of any such copyrighted material as provided for in section 107 of the US Copyright Law. In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, the material on this site is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes. For more information go to: http://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/17/107.shtml. If you wish to use copyrighted material from this site for purposes of your own that go beyond ‘fair use’, you must obtain permission from the copyright owner.