Afghanistan, African National Congress, Al Gore, Al Gore is the political Art Garfunkel, Albeert Lutuli, ANC, Andrei Sakharov, Barack Obama, China, closeted homosexual, dissident, Henry Kissinger, hypocrisy, Jimmy Carter, Le Duc Tho, Liu Xiaobo, Mahatma, Martin Luther King Jr., Mikhail Gorbachev, Mohandas Gandhi, Mother Teresa, Nelson Mandela, Nobel Committee, Nobel laureates, Nobel Peace Prize, non-violence, Norway, pacifism, Peace Prize as political statement, resignation in protest, Ronald Reagan, Shimon Peres, undeserving winners, Yasser Arafat, Yitzhak Rabin
The Nobel Peace Prize was once one of the most prestigious honors an individual could receive, given out for actions which furthered the pursuit of peace. Many previous laureates are deservedly beloved either for their work toward establishing peace, or for the peaceful means by which they achieved change under difficult circumstances: Martin Luther King Jr., Mother Teresa, Andrei Sakharov, Jimmy Carter, and non-violent head of the African National Congress, Albert Lutuli.
To some degree, the Nobel Prize has always been about expressing the Nobel Committee’s political view, as in 1973, when the Peace Prize was awarded jointly to Henry Kissinger and Le Duc Tho, the latter having the good grace to refuse the award. Two members of the committee quit in protest over the selection.
Recently, the award has slipped further toward irrelevance as the politicization of the Peace Prize has increased. Nelson Mandela, the cause celebre of the late 1980s, was awarded the prize in 1992 despite refusing to renounce violence on behalf of the ANC, an organization he wrested from the non-violent Lutuli.
In 1993 Yitzhak Rabin and Shimon Peres shared the award with terrorist and closeted homosexual Yasser Arafat. In 1990 Mikhail “Spot” Gorbachev was awarded the prize, but not his partner in peace, Ronald Reagan. Following the cue of the American people, the Nobel Committee made Barrack Obama a laureate based on what he might do. Obama took some time from planning the United States’ escalation of the War in Afghanistan to make a quick speech before the Committee. Al Gore, America’s Official Second Banana, took home the prize in 2007 for jetting around the world to remind people to travel coach.
Awarding the prize to Liu Xiaobo, a Chinese dissident further waters down the meaning of the prize. Although Liu Xiaobo–and anyone who challenges the Beijing regime is undoubtedly brave–it’s difficult to see what achievements he’s made toward peace. If anything, riling up an autocratic regime leads to anything but peace.
Many recipients of the prize are certainly deserving of recognition for their superlative efforts in some field, but the Peace Prize seems cheapened somehow by giving it to people who aren’t really all that interested in peace. What might work better is if the Nobel Committee first picked their laureate, and then created a one-time prize based on his or her accomplishments.
To better demonstrate exciting innovation in award theory, we proudly present:
The Promethean Situational Peace Prize 2010 Inductees:
The Promethean Peace Prize For Cessation of Hostilities: Henry Kissinger, Le Duc Tho.
The Promethean Peace Prize For Promising to Stop Fighting: Yitzhak Rabin, Shimon Peres, Yasser Arafat.
The Promethean Peace Prize For Potential Future Peacemaking: Barack Obama.
The Promethean Peace Prize For Using Violence To Achieve Political Aims: Nelson Mandela.