The Norwegian Nobel Committee announced that the prize this year has been awarded to Ethiopian prime minister Abiy Ahmed for his efforts to bring peace between his country and neighboring Eritrea and for his efforts towards bringing “reconciliation, solidarity and social justice” to the region.
Giving the Peace prize to current politicians is always a dangerous thing since they can then go on and do things that make a mockery of it. For example, the committee awarded the prize to Barack Obama in 2009 even though he had done nothing to deserve it and indeed soon after announced the surge of 30,000 troops sent to Afghanistan and increased the drone killings. Of course, nothing could be worse than giving the award to war criminal Henry Kissinger, something the prize committee was roundly and deservedly condemned for.
Ahmed actually has done something and taken great political risks to break down the barriers between Ethiopia and Eritrea, two neighboring countries that were once a single country whose populations are almost identical in character but have been separated due to a tragic civil war, with a hard border that split apart families. It was not unlike the separation between North and South Korea.
The Nobel Peace Prize has been awarded to Abiy Ahmed, the Ethiopian Prime Minister who helped end his country’s 20-year war with Eritrea.
Abiy, 43, also recently won plaudits for his role in helping to broker a power-sharing deal in neighboring Sudan after a political crisis that led to the arrest of Omar al-Bashir, the country’s ruler for almost three decades.
Elected in April last year, the early months of Abiy’s premiership were marked with bold and progressive decision making.
He released the country’s political prisoners, denouncing their torture, and freed jailed journalists. Abiy met the political opposition and civil society to discuss reform, and invited previously exiled political parties to return to Ethiopia. He also embarked on major institutional reforms, including in the security and justice sectors.
I had the pleasure of visiting Ethiopia in the early 1970s, just a year before the autocratic but then feeble emperor Haile Selassie was overthrown and the country became ruled by a succession of military dictators. It was clearly a very impoverished country at that time
Trump has been campaigning to be given the prize because, in his mind, he thinks he is deserving of it for the simple reason that if Obama could get it, then he should too. He has even asked other world leaders like Japan’s prime minister to nominate him for it. He must be seething that the leader of another country, a country that he has likely never heard of before but would lump together with other ‘shithole’ countries from Africa, has been given the honor that is rightfully his.
Given that the rest of the past week has been one setback after another both politically and legally for Trump, this snub will likely infuriate him. We should not be surprised to see a barrage of angry tweets.