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On the politics behind the Nobel Peace Prize

By Maria Millers  

It is clear that over the years the Nobel Peace prize has become purely a political exercise drawing criticism from many quarters.

This has been happening for quite some time.

To give but a sample of egregious examples: Henry Kissinger was awarded the prize in 1973 for negotiating ceasefire in the Vietnam War while at the same time carpet bombing Cambodia. It should be noted that North Vietnamese diplomat Le Duc Tho, also nominated, refused to accept the Prize, and for the first time in the history of the Peace Prize two members left the Nobel Committee in protest.

The 1991 recipient Ang San Sui Kyi has abandoned her saintliness and has gone on to overlook human rights abuses against the Rohynga Muslims in Myanmar.

But it truly turned into farce when Barak Obama, in power for less than eight months was awarded the prize in 2009. Obama may have slashed the number of U.S. troops in war zones, but he; “vastly expanded the role of elite commando units and the use of new technology, including armed drones and cyber weapons.” And “He launched airstrikes or military raids in at least seven countries: Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria, Libya, Yemen, Somalia and Pakistan.”

And it is ironic that an Age editorial last week welcomed the awarding of the Nobel Peace Prize to Maria Ressa, chief executive of Rappler in the Philippines and Dmitry Muratov, editor-in-chief of Novaya Gazeta in Russia as an “affirmation of the important part that free and vibrant journalism plays in the preservation of democracy” and warned about the threats to free speech and fact based journalism.

Few would argue with this assertion, but the irony is that at the same time this paper and other mainstream media have done little to prosecute the same argument in the case of Julian Assange or to condemn the disgraceful failure of our government to support him. Assange’s exposure of US war crimes has left him still facing extradition and on October 27th the US will once again appeal against the British court’s decision  to not extradite Assange on health grounds, and once again he faces life imprisonment or possibly worse. And we must not forget that Assange’s crime was to expose US war crimes for all to see – in other words, “free and vibrant journalism” that The Age so lauded in its editorial.

 

Image from myrepublica.nagariknetwork.com

 

However, the difference between Assange and this year’s recipients is that they did not challenge US power, in fact have connections to US interests. Muratov’s Novaya Gazeta is backed by a section of Russia’s wealthy who seek a more direct relationship with the US. Maria Ressa’s publication Rappler received substantial funding from a US organization for promoting democracy in what seems like an attempt to counteract Duterte’s pivot to China and away from the US.

 

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6 comments

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  1. Phil Pryor

    The Nobel prizes, like virginity, honesty, deity, remain very dodgy subjects, questionable from every angle. One no longer trusts trust.

  2. BB

    “The Nobel Peace Prize” is to be renamed to “The Snafu Peace Prize”

  3. Kathryn

    There is absolutely NOTHING “Noble” about the Nobel Peace Prize in the same way there is absolutely NOTHING “Liberal” about the undemocratic, totally corrupt, lying fascists in the Liberal National Party! The LNP is an appalling, unspeakably corrupt and condescending regime that has absolutely annihilated all credibility and any level of trust that most well-informed, discerning Australians (with an IQ >10) now hold in absolute contempt! In fact, if we staged an Olympic Games for the absolute worst, most abhorrent, totally corrupt, undemocratic, conniving political miscreants in the free world who can divide and destroy a nation in rapid time, the LNP would WIN Gold, Silver and Bronze Awards in EVERY event!

  4. Michael Taylor

    At least they didn’t award one to Trump, who – which is unclear to anyone with an IQ greater than that of a postage stamp – thought he deserved one or more.

  5. Kangaroo Jack

    It has to be said that our own record of awarding life achievement recognition also leaves little to be desired and I’ve often wondered about who it was that suggested Fat Clive Palmer may be a reasonable target for the award of national living treasure.

    Dr Karl Kruszelnicki disappointed me when he didn’t send his back after that piece of base political opportunism, though the award gave credence to the view that everyone has a price.

    Grace Tame this week noting she was not involved in the liarberals development of a child sex assault tool kit, had an excellent opportunity to make an even louder statement than she has already by suggesting that Morrison might like to stick her Australian of the year, up his arse.

    The tool kit of course will be welcomed by many liarberal members since it has the same level of usefulness as making a complaint against arse invasion by senior parliamentary members of the party.

  6. Aldo & Dolores Bellemo

    We agree with Maria Millers comments. Assange should get the Nobel Prize for telling us the truth instead of being punished for it.

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