It used to be prestigious – an award to be treasured. It made you a person of great standing and respect in the world community. Some of the most revered names in recent history have been recipients:
Martin Luther King, Jr.
Tenzin Gyatso (The Dalai Lama)
To name a few…
This week, it became a joke.
It didn’t just happen this week, it’s been sinking into the mire for some time. In 1973, for example, it was awarded to that defender of Realpolitik, Henry Kissinger, ostensibly for the inaptly named and failed Paris Peace Accords. To quote the late Christopher Hitchens, Kissinger should be prosecuted “…for war crimes, for crimes against humanity, and for offenses against common or customary or international law, including conspiracy to commit murder, kidnap, and torture.“
Personally, while I was never a fan of Hitchens, there is no doubt in my mind as to the veracity of that statement.
Mother Theresa was another dubious recipient, given that her policy of “no painkillers” to those in terminal agony created far more suffering than she was ever responsible for alleviating:
“The most beautiful gift for a person is that he can participate in the sufferings of Christ.”
Yes, especially when that person is entirely at your mercy – or, lack of it.
In 2009, the Nobel Peace Prize committee saw fit to award their (rapidly becoming less-prestigious) award to none other than the newly elected US president, Barack Obama. For what, we’re not quite sure. His promises to close Guantanamo Bay Detention Center, perhaps, or end the war in Afghanistan? Surely, not for becoming the first US president to murder more innocents than his predecessors, by remote control?
Announcing the winner of this year’s Nobel Peace Prize must surely have sent gasps of astonishment reverberating around the globe, closely followed by loud guffaws of hysterical laughter.
The plutocrats of the European Union could scarcely believe their good fortune. They strutted their stuff, preened their already immaculate feathers before the various member states’ media cameras, like overfed turkeys on hearing Thanksgiving was cancelled.
The reason put forth, by the Nobel Prize Committee, for awarding it to the European Union, was basically that Europe had managed to refrain from going to war with itself for the last sixty years. (Presumably, a little skirmish in the Balkans didn’t count).
The once auspicious Nobel committee has finally sunk to the level of a grade school teacher handing out lollipops to a group of unruly kids who’ve managed to make it through a week without fighting in the playground.