To Nobel or not!


– An ambivalent protest, without  introspective reasoning –

What is the real  fuss with the most recent Nobel Peace Prize nomination of the European Union as this year’s worthy recipient.

Comment is running wild expressing disgust for the choice of recipient. A litany of reasons some purely emotional others rational are advanced as to why the choice of recipient is rejected by some.

For the record this is not the first time that we had seen this uproar, we are all reminded of the award to Barack H. Obama hardly a year into his term as the USA 44th President. I guess one could go further back in history and find more rejections by some sectors of public.

I am not going to deal with the merits or non-merits of who should be nominated, mine is simply to ask why the Nobel Peace Prize holds such venerable position in our global world? In addition, if does hold such space whose fault is it?

For our challenge cannot be directing it what and who it should honour if we had not afforded it such pristine place in our psychology of peace embrace.

This year even a former recipient Archbishop Desmond Tutu has added his voice in disdain rejection of the EU as a worthy recipient. That adds another dimension to this skew debate, for do laureates have a right to critique an institution that made them. Perhaps that is a debate for another day.

Back to my point, are we not seeking to dictate to the Nobel Peace Prize Committee when it suits us when we equally prove silent when we agree with them?

Can we accept that the same principles that guided former recipients choice, consistently guides the current processes even if these do not favour our choice.

When we celebrate the lives of Chief Albert Luthuli, Nelson R Mandela, and Archbishop Desmond M. Tutu, we are quick to see them worthy recipients of this award, therefore accepting the award as pristine, almost sacrosanct and in a class of its own.

Yet when others we do not appreciate are nominated no different to our heroes, scrutinized no different to our heroes and ultimately shortlisted and chosen we cry foul. I guess the error is with us, because we erred in the following:

1. We embraced this award as necessarily a worthy award.
2. We accepted the significance of it and granted it a space and place of due honour
3. We celebrated it for decades without ever asking in whose interest for what agenda and what purpose recipients are chosen.
4. We have not always discerned the interest that dictates the existence of this organisation.

We must concede that for all its previous awards or recipients, a counter argument of veracity of peace championship could have been raised by another group of constituencies who found them opposite to the very recipients we celebrate.

When Obama was honoured, there were those who said – for what? He is still to make his mark
Yet Mandela and De Klerk were collective recipients, in a season when both could have been reliably questioned as peace champions, depending where you found yourself on the side of the fence.

Certainly, I as an anti-apartheid activist cannot celebrate De Klerk as a worthy contender for this award, and almost 20 years later, that view has not changed. I shall venture to say equally on the part of many Afrikaners, Right-wing groups around the globe; Mandela is not the symbol of peace but trouble.

I guess I am arguing, the veracity even necessity of this Nobel Peace Prize practice, when the world remains divided along clear lines, and the seat of decision making for worthy recipients exemplified in Nobel Peace Prize context is not existing in space outside of the world, global economic and political domains, in fact it finds meaning in that very conflated and less biased context, in which it remains questionable.

Perhaps it is time we accept that the Nobel Peace prize in a sense mirrors our rating agencies that have their own agendas and intentions.

Perhaps we must ask ourselves why the Nobel Peace Prize is such a pristine award, if we can question its recipients, its nominations, and its practices.

If the Prize holds this gigantic moral code, we must ask who affords it such. Equally have we been that naive to assume that a European or any for that matter institution can be unbiased, and if we did assume that,  what does it say of our psychology?

In conclusion it is either we accept the Nobel Peace Prize it’s systems, nominations processes, shortlisting of potential candidates and ultimately it’s choice of recipients or we utterly reject it today an yesterday as a bias Eurocentric interest based entity, therefore rejecting even our heroes as due recipients of it.

My challenge to Archbishop Tutu in this season,  if you reject the current Nobel Peace Prize award which is your right, also consider handing back the award you received, as a means of making your choice clear and prove less ambivalent for perhaps it’s time the award is returned. It would say more

After all, you had a name before the award. For the rest of us, who cannot give back any award, whinging and moaning in protest, we simply cannot have our cake and eat it, it is either we accept the flawed, dualistic and complex organisation in its fundamental outlook or we reject it in history, present and future as biased and not sensitive for the globe we defined.

Our protest says more of our lack of introspect than any wrong on the part of the Nobel Committee for they are doing what they always have done, with the same consistent interest as their paradigm, can we really blame them when we must blame ourselves? Commentators are at pains to flag that the present award brings the Nobel Peace Prize into a joke, yet they fail to accept it may always have been a joke.

Respectfully submitted

Clyde N.S. Ramalaine

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