Award a Nobel Prize for Peace and Nurture the Killing Fields of Humanity
NOBEL LAUREATES, 12 Apr 2021
A Trail of Destruction of Two Nobel Laureates in Recent History
The Nobel Prize is the most sought-after international award, yet very little is known about its sponsor and founder. Alfred Nobel was born on 21st October 1833 in Stockholm, Sweden, into a family of engineers. He was a Swedish chemist, engineer, and industrialist. Ironically, he was most famous for the invention of the destructive dynamite, This is used by the industries, medicine, saboteurs, the most famous being Guy Fawkes, who actually used gun powder, both the original as well as the 2005 movie version and terrorists, in various modified forms, over the decades.
Dynamite is an explosive made of nitroglycerin, sorbents (such as powdered shells or clay) and stabilisers. It was invented by Alfred Nobel in Geesthacht, Northern Germany and patented in 1867. It rapidly gained wide-scale use as a more robust alternative to black powder. Today, dynamite is mainly used in the mining, quarrying, construction, and demolition industries. Dynamite is still the product of choice for trenching applications and occasionally used as a cost-effective explosive booster for ANFO charges.
After the demise of Alfred Nobel in 1896 and according to his 1895 will, Nobel wrote several wills during his lifetime, he composed the last over a year before he died, signing it at the Swedish Norwegian Club in Paris on 27th November 1895. The Nobel Prize was inaugurated in 1901. The Nobel Prize is not a single award, but five separate prizes that, according to Alfred Nobel’s will, are awarded “to those who, during the preceding year, have conferred the greatest benefit to humankind”.
Nobel Prizes are awarded in Physics, Chemistry, Physiology or Medicine, Literature, and Peace. The Peace Prize is awarded “to 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”. Nobel Prizes are widely regarded as the most prestigious awards available in their respective fields. As with most things in life, there are the inevitable debates and acrimony. The Nobel Prize is no stranger to such controversies, over the years and in the awarding of the Nobel Peace Prizes, specifically. There are two main causes for this generalized discontent. The first is that many Laureates have been contemporary and highly controversial political role players. The second is that the Nobel Peace Prizes, in many instances, have increased public focus on international or national conflicts. This category of awards have often been seen by local authorities as “interference” in national matters. On some occasions there has even been strong criticism against the Norwegian Nobel Committee itself and the way its members are selected.
In recent times there are two awards which have raised questions along the lines, which were discussed on several occasions during the first century of the Nobel Peace Prize. These two Peace Prizes concerned the selection and awarding to The Prime Minister of Ethiopia and the State Chancellor of Myanmar, of the Nobel Peace Awards, by Norway. It is also of serious concern whether the Nobel Committee should be an international committee of scholars rather than a committee of Norwegian political and aging veterans.
Alfred Nobel was a Swedish chemist, engineer, and industrialist most famously known for the invention of dynamite. He died in 1896. In his will, he bequeathed all of his “remaining realisable assets” to be used to establish five prizes which became collectively known as “Nobel Prizes”. According to his will, read in Stockholm on 30th December 1896, a Nobel Foundation established, would reward those who serve humanity. Alfred Nobel’s fortune funded the Nobel Prize. According to the official sources, Alfred Nobel bequeathed from the shares 94% of his fortune to the Nobel Foundation that now forms the Nobel Prize’s economic base. Nobel Prizes were first awarded in 1901. In 1968, a sixth prize was established in Economic Sciences, which is also known as “The Sveriges Riksbank Prize in Economic Sciences in Memory of Alfred Nobel”.
As dictated by Nobel’s will, the award is administered by the Norwegian Nobel Committee and made by a committee of five people, elected by the Parliament of Norway. Interestingly, three Nobel Peace Prize Laureates were under arrest at their awards. These were Carl von Ossietzky, Aung San Suu Kyi, and Liu Xiaobo. Did the Norwegian Nobel Committee violate the intentions of Alfred Nobel when it awarded the Prize and continues to do so, to politicians? This is a question for history to judge.
The Nobel Peace Prize is presented annually in Oslo, in the King of Norway’s presence. Except for the Peace Prize, the Nobel Prizes are presented in Stockholm, Sweden, at the annual Prize Award Ceremony on 10th December, the anniversary of Nobel’s death. It is the only Nobel Prize not presented in Stockholm. Unlike the other prizes, the Peace Prize is occasionally awarded to an organisation (such as the International Committee of the Red Cross, a three-time recipient) rather than an individual.
The Nobel Peace Prize was first awarded in 1901 to Frédéric Passy and Henry Dunant who shared a Prize of 150,782 Swedish kronor (equal to 7,731,004 kronor in 2008) and, most recently, to the World Food Programme in 2020.
Linus Pauling, the Nobel Peace Prize laureate in 1962, is the only person to have been awarded two unshared Nobel Prizes; he won the Nobel Prize in Chemistry in 1954.
At 17 years of age, Malala Yousafzai, the 2014 recipient, is the youngest to be awarded the Peace Prize.
The International Committee of the Red Cross has received the most Nobel Peace Prizes, having been awarded the Prize three times for its humanitarian work.
In summary, as of 2020, the Nobel Peace Prize has been awarded to 106 individuals and 24 organisations. Seventeen women have won the Peace Prize, more than any other Nobel Prize. Only two recipients have won multiple Prizes: The International Committee of the Red Cross has won three times (1917, 1944 and 1963). The Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees has won twice (1954 and 1981). There have been 19 years in which the Peace Prize was not awarded.
The most controversial winners and nominees of the Nobel Peace Prize contain a long list of international luminaries and nefarious figures. Incidentally, Adolph Hitler was also nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize in 1939. The former US Foreign Minister, Henry Kissinger won the peace prize together with the Vietnamese revolutionary, general and diplomat Le Duc Tho. They received the prize because they had agreed a cease-fire in the Vietnam War, the so-called Paris peace agreements. Kissinger’s nomination immediately caused an international furore, as he was known as a war monger and as a minister at the end of 1972, he was also responsible for the 20,000 tons of bombs dropped by the US Air Force on the Vietnamese city of Hanoi. Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin, Foreign Minister Shimon Peres, and Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat received the Peace Prize for the Oslo Accords, which were to serve as the first impetus for a permanent solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
Let us examine why the awarding of the Nobel Peace Prize is presently raising concerns. Noting the sad odyssey of famine, human rights abuses, rampant corruption, monarchy for life, disease and death, all conveniently apportioned blame onto the historical, colonial occupation by foreign empire builders and slavers, the depressing story of Africa is indeed an abyss of dismay and desperation, over the millennia. Hence, it is not entirely surprising that the Nobel Peace Prize is often awarded to an African, for reasons of political sensitivity and correctness. The recipient then invariably proceeds to propagate and echo the same abuses of his former, Colonial Masters, transforming himself, to cause unbridled human rights violations, on fellow humanoids, in the region.
In 2019 Abiy Ahmed Ali, born 15th August 1976, the President of Ethiopia, was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize “for his efforts to achieve peace and international cooperation, particularly for his decisive initiative to resolve the border conflict with neighbouring Eritrea.
President Abiy is a career Ethiopian politician serving as 4th Prime Minister of the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia since 2nd April 2018. He was the third chairman of the ruling Ethiopian People’s Revolutionary Democratic Front and the first Oromo to serve in that position from the Oromo Democratic Party (ODP), one of the four coalition parties of the EPRDF. Abiy is also an elected member of the Ethiopian Parliament and a member of the ODP and EPRDF executive committees.
He is the first Ethiopian and the first Oromo to be awarded a Nobel Prize, winning the 2019 Nobel Peace Prize for ending the 20-year post-war territorial stalemate between Ethiopia and Eritrea. However, during this time, political and ethnic unrest and ethnic discrimination also increased in Ethiopia, marked by heightened episodes of violence and an armed conflict between government forces and TPLF forces. In June 2020, Abiy, in concert with the National Election Board of Ethiopia (NEBE), decided to postpone scheduled parliamentary elections due to the COVID-19 pandemic. This move prompted criticism, especially from the opposition and raised questions about the delay’s constitutional legitimacy. In November 2020, simmering ethnic and political tensions, as well as the November 4th Northern Command attacks on the Ethiopian National Defense Force (ENDF), exploded into the ongoing Tigray War between the ENDF and the Tigray People’s Liberation Front. This ethnic party dominated Ethiopian politics during a nearly thirty-year period marked by oppression and rampant corruption, before Abiy came to power in 2018.
There are also several credible reports that special forces are supporting the ENDF from Amhara and a military alliance with Isaias Afwerki’s Eritrean Forces. Hostilities between the central Government and the TPLF escalated after the TPLF rejected the central Government’s decision to postpone the August 2020 elections to mid-2021 due to the COVID-19 pandemic, accusing the Government of violating the Ethiopian constitution. The TPLF carried out its regional elections, winning all contested seats in the region’s Parliament. In response, Abiy Ahmed redirected funding from the top level of the Tigray regional government to lower ranks in a bid to weaken the TPLF party.
The central matter of the civil conflict, as portrayed by Abiy and as reported by Seku Ture, a member of the TPLF party, is an attack on the Northern Command bases and headquarters in the Tigray region by security forces of the TPLF, the province’s elected party, though such a claim is contested. The Ethiopian Government announced on 28th November 2020 that they had captured Mekelle, Tigray’s capital, completing their ‘rule of law operations’. However, there are reports that guerrilla-style conflict with the TPLF continues.
About 2.3 million children are cut off from desperately needed aid and humanitarian assistance, said the United Nations (UN). The Ethiopian Federal Government has made strict control of access to the Tigray region (since the conflict). The UN said it is frustrated that talks with the Ethiopian Government have not yet brought humanitarian access. These include “food, including ready-to-use therapeutic food for the treatment of child malnutrition, medicines, water, fuel and other essentials that are running low” said UNICEF. During the Tigray conflict that started on 4th November 2020, the Amhara Region actively participated on the side of Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed. On 18th December 2020, looting was reported by EEPA, including 500 dairy cows and hundreds of calves stolen by Amhara forces. On 23rd November, a reporter of AFP news agency visited the western Tigray town of Humera and observed that officials took over administering the conquered parts of Western Tigray from Amhara Region. Refugees interviewed by Agence France Presse (AFP) stated that pro-TPLF forces used Hitsats as a base for several weeks in November 2020, killing several refugees who wanted to leave the camp to get food, and in one incident, killed nine young Eritrean men in revenge for having lost a battle against the EDF.
The public image of a Nobel Peace Prize winner is rapidly re-assessed by European media as increasingly grisly reports of atrocities emerge. The US Secretary of State, Antony Blinken, has been quoted as saying that they had seen “very credible reports of human rights abuses and atrocities” and that “forces from Eritrea and Amhara must leave and be replaced by a force that will not abuse the human rights of the people of Tigray or commit acts of ethnic cleansing,” The atrocities committed by his army are abhorrent, whereby Tigray civilians are thrown off cliffs, as shown on visuals recently. Is this the man one needs to award a Nobel Peace Prize?
However, Abiy is not the only laureate to receive a peace prize and then becomes the “master of killing fields in Tigray”
There is also a “Madam of the killing fields of Myanmar” In 1991 Aung San Suu Kyi, a Burmese politician, diplomat, author, and a 1991 Nobel Peace Prize laureate who served as State Counsellor of Myanmar and Minister of Foreign Affairs from 2016 2021. She was awarded the peace prize “for her non-violent struggle for democracy and human rights. She has served as the president of the National League for Democracy (NLD) since 2011, having been the General Secretary from 1988 to 2011. She played a vital role in Myanmar’s transition from military junta to partial democracy in the 2010s’.
The youngest daughter of Aung San, Father of the Nation of modern-day Myanmar, and Khin Kyi, Aung San Suu Kyi, was born in Rangoon, British Burma. After graduating from the University of Delhi in 1964 and the University of Oxford in 1968, she worked at the United Nations for three years. She married Michael Aris in 1972, with whom she had two children.
Aung San Suu Kyi rose to prominence in the uprising of 8th August 1988 and became the General Secretary of the NLD, which she had newly formed with several retired army officials who criticised the military junta. In the 1990 elections, NLD won 81% of the seats in Parliament. Still, the results were nullified, as the military Government (the State Peace and Development Council: SPDC) refused to hand over power, resulting in an international outcry. She had been detained before the elections and remained under house arrest for almost 15 of the 21 years from 1989 to 2010, becoming one of the world’s most prominent political prisoners. In 1999, Time Magazine named her one of the “Children of Gandhi” and his spiritual heir to nonviolence. She survived an assassination attempt in the 2003 Depayin massacre when at least 70 people associated with the NLD were killed.
Her party boycotted the 2010 elections, resulting in a decisive victory for the military-backed Union Solidarity and Development Party. Aung San Suu Kyi became a Pyithu Hluttaw MP while her party won 43 of the 45 vacant seats in the 2012 by-elections. In the 2015 elections, her party won a landslide victory, taking 86% of the seats in the Assembly of the Union, well, more than the 67% supermajority needed to ensure that its preferred candidates were elected president and second vice president in the presidential electoral college. Although she was prohibited from becoming the president due to a clause in the constitution, her late husband and children are foreign citizens, she assumed the newly created role of State Counsellor of Myanmar, a role akin to a Prime Minister or a head of Government.
When she ascended to the office of state counsellor, Aung San Suu Kyi drew criticism from several countries, organisations and figures, including Nobel laureates over Myanmar’s inaction in response to the genocide of the Rohingya people in Rakhine State and refusal to acknowledge that Myanmar’s military has committed massacres. Under her leadership, Myanmar also drew criticism for the prosecutions of journalists. In 2019, Aung San Suu Kyi appeared in the International Court of Justice, where she defended the Burmese military against allegations of genocide against the Rohingya. It is conservatively estimated, that in the first month of the Rohingya genocide, 6700 children, women and men were brutally massacred, while Aung San Suu Kyi was basking in her glory as the State Chancellor and a Nobel Laureate while the rest of the world, were indifferent or even denied the genocide, including prominent anti-apartheid activists in South Africa, who awarded her with a Gandhi Peace Award, ironically.
On 1st February 2021, Aung San Suu Kyi was arrested by the military during the 2021 Myanmar coup d’état after it declared the November 2020 Myanmar general election results fraudulent. Sadly, ironically and as a demonstration of ‘poetic justice”, Aung San Suu Kyi as well as the people of Myanmar are subjected to murder, torture and disrespect of the dead human body by the military junta in Myanmar, as she and her government allowed to be done to the Rohingya Muslims, previously. It is also possible that the coalition of heavily armed rebel militia in Myanmar against the military junta will lead to a future civil war if the military government is routed by this “Devil’s Collective” which is being formed in Myanmar. This has occurred in other parts of the world, so evident presently such as in Libya following the overthrow and murder in a gutter of Muammar Muhammad Abu Minyar al-Gaddafi (1942 -20 October 2011), commonly designated as Colonel Gaddafi and will certainly provide a fertile ground for the proliferation of terrorist groups.
The question which needs to be raised is that are these the types of individuals who need to be awarded the Nobel Peace Prize? Here we have two glaring examples of two laureates, one from Africa and one from Asia, a male and a female who were awarded the peace prizes and then engaged in genocidal as well as brutal civilian attacks in the Tigray region of Ethiopia,
It not only seems but is now clearly evident, in two cases, in the recent history of Nobel Peace Prizes, that once such awards are made, it becomes a licence to engage in murderous activities against fellow humanoids in different parts of the world. The Bottom Line is a message to the Nobel Foundation “The Nobel Peace Prizes must not be awarded based on political sensitivities, to obviate further murderous campaigns and genocidal activities, which may be orchestrated or supported by the recipients”. This follow-up, aggressive behavioural tendencies, as demonstrated by recipients, is not only an embarrassment to the Nobel Foundation, but also reduces its high esteem, as well as credibility in the international arena.
I, therefore, most respectfully, make a serious recommendation, while NOT undermining the excellent work done by the Nobel Foundation and its associate bodies, that the Selection Committee must review the criteria for the awarding of Nobel Peace Prizes in the future. Furthermore, while there is no mechanism in the Nobel Foundation enabling the Peace Prizes’ withdrawal, such a mechanism must be formulated by the committee and be implemented for the withdrawal of these prestigious awards, if necessary.
Prof. Hoosen Vawda, BSc, MBChB (Natal), ATLS, ACLS (NZ), PhD (Wits):
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Tags: Letter to the Editor, Nobel Peace Prize
This article originally appeared on Transcend Media Service (TMS) on 12 Apr 2021.
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