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The Nobel Peace Prize, like so much in this world, has lost legitimacy because it exchanged objectivity for elite consensus and mainstream media narratives. Recognizing great achievements in the framework of peace, far from being the object of this institution, has been reduced to a memory of the Prize’s past.
The origin of this award goes back to Alfred Nobel, a Swedish chemist, engineer, and inventor known for having created dynamite. In addition to dynamite, he held three hundred and fifty-five other patents. However, upon learning that his brother Ludvig died, a French newspaper mistook him for Alfred himself and in the obituary condemned the inventor for the use of dynamite for war purposes.
The obituary was headlined “The merchant of death is dead” and blasted the inventor: “Dr. Alfred Nobel, who became rich by finding ways to kill more people faster than ever before, died yesterday.” The chemist feared being remembered in this way and therefore began his crusade against the reputation he would be inadvertently building.
He then gave up 94% of his estate to create the first five Nobel Prizes. Three of the five would be awarded to prominences in natural sciences such as Physics, Chemistry, and medical sciences. The fourth would ideally be awarded for literary work. The fifth would be given to the person or organization that has rendered a great service to humanity, in the reduction of armies or the promotion of peace, hence called the Nobel Peace Prize.
The first recipients of the award were the Frenchman Frédéric Passy and the Swiss Jean Henri Dunant; one for being one of the founders of the Inter-Parliamentary Union and also the most prominent organizer of the first Universal Peace Congress; the other for his work in the formation of the International Committee of the Red Cross.
In later decades, other deserving recipients of the award would be President Theodore Roosevelt, who helped end the Russo-Japanese War; George Marshall, General President of the American Red Cross and creator of the Marshall Plan; Mother Teresa of Calcutta, who contributed with her leadership of the “Missionaries of Charity”; and Lech Walesa, for founding the “Solidarity” movement and his fight for human rights and against communism.
A damaged brand
However, the names were becoming more controversial and of dubious merit to receive a prize initially intended for people or organizations that contributed to world peace -and that their works maintained it over time-.
Former President Jimmy Carter received his Nobel in 2002 “for his decades of tireless effort to find peaceful solutions to international conflicts”, however, Carter was the one who started the war in Afghanistan that persists to this day, having taken hundreds of thousands of American lives. Furthermore, with “Operation Cyclone”, his government was responsible for giving unimaginable powers to the Islamic fundamentalists -fundamentalism that still plagues the Middle East.
On the other hand, he supported the “Sandinista Front” made up of communist guerrillas, who to this day exercise a dictatorship in Nicaragua with strong ties to the Cuban and Venezuelan regimes.
Al Gore was the next American to receive the Nobel Prize in 2007 “for his efforts to build and disseminate greater knowledge about climate change.” But world peace did not benefit from the administration he led with Bill Clinton. In the late 1990s, his administration ordered several bombings of Iraqi facilities, causing the conflict to escalate. As if that were not enough, Gore was a co-conspirator in the policy of regime change in the Middle East, this time against Hussein, provoking regional factions and governments’ radicalization.
The government headed by the Nobel Peace Prize winner also bombed Yugoslavia for three months during the Kosovo War.
Barack Obama for many is a benchmark for peace, and for this reason he received the Nobel in 2009, strangely just one year into his administration. Obama, in contradiction to the ideals of the prize, headed one of the most violent administrations in American history.
After saying he would end interventions in Iraq and Afghanistan, troops actually increased. His Libya intervention caused one of the worst stages of political instability in the country and armed Syrian rebels using children as soldiers. In 2016, for example, The Guardian and the Council on Foreign Relations reported that in that year alone, the Obama and Biden administration dropped 26,171 bombs, generating an average of three bombs dropped every hour, around the clock, for the entire year.
Former Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos received in 2016 the Nobel Prize “for his great efforts in trying to end the more than 50-year civil war in Colombia”. The peace agreement signed with Fidel Castro promised an end to the FARC’s conflict, and that cost so many Colombian lives. But the only result was that the Colombian narco-guerrilla remained active and stronger than ever – as it now had seats in the Colombian Congress – and is financed by organized crime institutionalized by Venezuela’s communist regime.
Now, organizations like “Black Lives Matter” are nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize; movements that have dedicated themselves to forging close ties with genocidaires like Nicolás Maduro, destroying hundreds of businesses, and killing innocents like Captain David Dorn.
Rafael Valera, Venezuelan, student of Political Science, political exile in São Paulo, Brazil since 2017 // Rafael Valera, venezolano, es estudiante de Ciencias Políticas y exiliado político en São Paulo, Brasil desde 2017