What has happened to the Nobel Peace Prize?

I did not know much about this year’s winner of the Nobel Peace Prize except that I’d heard that he was a critic of the Chinese government and had been jailed by them for expressing his views, which made me instinctively supportive of him. But Tariq Ali points out that irrespective of Liu Xiaobo’s merits as an opponent of China’s authoritarian government, he is not actually much of a peace advocate.

For the record, Liu Xiaobo has stated publicly that in his view:

(a) China’s tragedy is that it wasn’t colonised for at least 300 years by a Western power or Japan. This would apparently have civilised it for ever;

(b) The Korean and Vietnam wars fought by the US were wars against totalitarianism and enhanced Washington’s ‘moral credibility’;

(c) Bush was right to go to war in Iraq and Senator Kerry’s criticisms were ‘slander-mongering’;

(d) Afghanistan? No surprises here: Full support for Nato’s war.

He has a right to these opinions, but should they get a peace prize?

Apparently, the Nobel committee at one time even “thought about giving Bush and Blair a joint peace prize for invading Iraq but a public outcry forced a retreat.”

Given that the Peace Prize was given last year to Barack Obama who has escalated the war in Afghanistan and is steadily raining down bombs on that country as well as Iraq, Yemen, and Pakistan and killing hundred of innocent people in the process, perhaps they should rename it the War Prize.


  1. Anonymous says

    The Nobel Peace Prize has never really been about peace, though, has it? One of the earliest ones went to Teddy Roosevelt, who although helpful in bringing the Russo-Japanese War to a close, had been extremely hawkish a few years earlier in the Spanish-American War. Mohandas Gandhi, despite his commitment to non-violence, never won it, whereas Kissinger and Arafat both did.

    In short, the Peace Prize has always been about politics and the name has never really fit.


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