Now this is where the Nobel’s can take a left-hand turn into the twilight zone of weirdness. While the various Swedish academys and assemblies have made some very good decisions for the scientific and literature awards, it is now over to the Norwegian Nobel Committee today for the “Peace” award, and they, quite frankly, have made some rather weird choices over the years.
Here are a few examples …
- 1973 Henry A. Kissinger and Lê Ðức Thọ for a Vietnam ceasefire : The problem was that when the award was announced, both sides were still bombing each other. At least Lê Ðức Thọ had the decency to decline the award.
- 1979 Mother Teresa : Yep, a complete religious nut received it. She who claimed to have the interests of the poor in mind, but used all the money she gathered to promote fanatical Catholicism and simply dumped the poor she was supposed to help into some truly appalling conditions. Weirdness prevails with this one, she announced during her acceptance speech that the number one cause of a lack of peace in the world was “abortion”. Basically, she was a complete fraud.
- 1989 Dalai Lama : OK, criticism of him might be like trying to shoot Bambi, the issue here is that this appears to have simply been a way to annoy China and was given to score political points.
- 1994 Yasser Arafat, Shimon Peres, and Yitzhak Rabin for making peace between Israel and Palestine : Well that has really worked out well since then for them all.
- 2009 Barack Obama : Awarded perhaps because he was not as crazy as his predecessor. Even Obama himself was a bit mystified about it.
- 2013 The entire European Union : In one respect, I get it because the various European states have a long history of going to war with each other, but have ceased doing so since the formation of the EU, and so now all they do is distribute a rather unequal form of financial chaos. I still find giving an award to an entire economic block on the sole basis that they have not ripped each others throats out to be a tad odd.
What is also rather odd are the people they have skipped over
- Mahatma Gandhi never won – This omission has been publicly regretted, 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”
So have they got it right this year? Lets see …
The Nobel Peace Prize for 2013
The Norwegian Nobel Committee has decided that the Nobel Peace Prize for 2013 is to be awarded to the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) for its extensive efforts to eliminate chemical weapons.
During World War One, chemical weapons were used to a considerable degree. The Geneva Convention of 1925 prohibited the use, but not the production or storage, of chemical weapons. During World War Two, chemical means were employed in Hitler’s mass exterminations. Chemical weapons have subsequently been put to use on numerous occasions by both states and terrorists. In 1992-93 a convention was drawn up prohibiting also the production and storage of such weapons. It came into force in 1997. Since then the OPCW has, through inspections, destruction and by other means, sought the implementation of the convention. 189 states have acceded to the convention to date.
The conventions and the work of the OPCW have defined the use of chemical weapons as a taboo under international law. Recent events in Syria, where chemical weapons have again been put to use, have underlined the need to enhance the efforts to do away with such weapons. Some states are still not members of the OPCW. Certain states have not observed the deadline, which was April 2012, for destroying their chemical weapons. This applies especially to the USA and Russia.
Disarmament figures prominently in Alfred Nobel’s will. The Norwegian Nobel Committee has through numerous prizes underlined the need to do away with nuclear weapons. By means of the present award to the OPCW, the Committee is seeking to contribute to the elimination of chemical weapons.
Oslo, 11 October 2013
So there you have it then – a rather sensible choice this year, and that makes a rather pleasant change.