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The Nobel Peace Prize seems to always cause debate. It was awarded to Obama very early on in office which led the then President to exclaim that he was ‘surprised’. Another controversial recipient is Aung San Suu Kyi. Amid calls for her to be stripped of the award due to her silence on the Rohingya crisis, the Nobel Committee has stated that ‘it is not possible to strip a Nobel Peace Prize laureate of his or her award once bestowed’. Ahem, a glitch in the rules apparently.
The rules which govern the Nobel Foundation are peculiar to say the least, for example, the names of the nominees and other information about the nominations cannot be revealed until 50 years later. What criteria is used and how is it applied you may ask? Well though we are not entirely sure, we do know from the website that the Nobel Committee chooses the Nobel Peace Prize Laureates through a majority vote. The decision is final and without appeal.
Some like Martin Luther King have been considered deserving recipients. However, the choices and omissions of the Nobel Committee have rightly come under scrutiny. Many have asked why Mahatma Gandhi who is indisputably the strongest symbol of non-violence in the 20th century was never awarded the prize. Dubbed the Missing Laureate by some, he was nominated many times but was never chosen by the committee. In fact, in 1948, following Gandhi’s tragic death by assassination, the Nobel Committee declined to award a prize on the ground that there was no suitable candidate that year.
In 1994 the Nobel Peace Prize was awarded to Yasser Arafat for efforts to create peace in the Middle East. Ironic indeed. Little needs to be said on this head as most of you will know that because of his subsequent actions in the region he is labelled by many as the ‘worst man to ever win the Nobel Peace Prize’. Hell, a lot of the other recipients certainly do provide Yasser with intense competition. And the thing is, as with Aung San Suu Kyi, it cannot be revoked. Another questionable choice is the 2005 award to the International Atomic Energy Agency and its then-director general, Mohamed ElBaradei, the last Vice-President of Egypt. One does wonder how Gandhi was never considered worthy by the committee? Perchance we should rename the Prize or revise the rules on irrevocability…
It is no surprise then that this year, North Korean Leader and President of the United States Donald Trump are on the nomination list. As well as other leaders such as the Queen and Malaysia’s PM. In good company? I’ll leave that rhetorical question to you.