Certain awards reputable globally are actually each a simple reflection of political and international relations’ agendas. The Nobel Peace Prize given every year since 1901 – with the exception of a few minor disruptions – is one such example. Despite being considered the most prestigious award in its field, the Nobel Peace Prize is nothing more than a token procedure that observes and directs international balances rather than the “peace” mentioned in its title.
A small mixed collection from the list of names considered worthy of the Nobel Peace Prize is enough to prove this theory. Here are some examples:
One of the people who received the Nobel Prize in 1973 was then U.S. Secretary of State Henry Alfred Kissinger. Kissinger, who was presented the award for his role in ending the Vietnam War, was actually the brain behind the U.S. policy that started the war and the one who implemented that policy. Hence, Vietnamese diplomat Le Duc Tho, who was also seen worthy of receiving the Nobel Prize in the same year as Kissinger, refused to accept it because a “ceasefire was not established.” Le went down in history as the first and only person to voluntarily reject the Nobel Peace Prize.
One of the two names considered worthy of receiving the award in 1978 was Israeli Prime Minister Menahem Begin (the other was Egyptian President Mohamed Anwar Sadat). Begin, who was primarily responsible for the countless massacres committed by the Irgun terrorist organization, which he led during Israel’s establishment process, was awarded in the name of “peace” because of the Camp David Agreement that he started negotiating with Sadat. Remembering the atrocious Deir Yassin massacre that took place on the night of Apr. 9 in 1948 alone is enough to understand the kind of “peace” profile Begin has.
In 2001, the Nobel Peace Prize went to then United Nations Secretary General Kofi Annan. Despite having presented no concrete “peace” vision in the name of the U.N. or personally, Annan was presented the award “in the name of the resistance he has shown against international terrorism and the success achieved in the fight against AIDS in Africa.”
In 2005, the award went to International Atomic Energy Agency Director General Mohammed Baradey. Baradey, who was considered worthy of the Nobel Prize for his efforts in preventing the use of nuclear energy for military purposes, was also praised for increasing the reputation of the institute he headed. Israel, which possesses nuclear power, was of course not among Baradey and his team’s targets.
Shimon Peres, who was considered worthy of receiving the prize along with Yasser Arafat and Yitzhak Rabin in 1994, was given award for his outstanding efforts to ensure peace in the Middle East. Rabin, who was referred to as “Bone-breaker Rabin” by even Western media for breaking Palestinian children’s’ bones, and both Arafat and Peres, who could not live long enough to see Palestine reach any kind of peace, of course boasted no achievements in the name of “Middle East peace.”
Former U.S. President Barack Obama, who was given the Nobel Peace Prize right away in 2009, only a few months after being elected president, went into Nobel history for being able to receive the award without doing anything. While the Nobel committee awarded Obama for his “outstanding efforts to strengthen international diplomacy and cooperation between nations,” the fresh president was just getting comfortable in his chair in the White House. Awarding Obama the Nobel Prize has been engraved in memory as the incident in which the awarding process and its logic was debated most seriously.
Activist and politician Aung San Suu Kyi from Myanmar, who received the Nobel in 1991 at age 46, is famous for turning a deaf ear to the genocide and exiles applied on the Muslim Rohingyas in her country. Aung San, who was praised for “being against all types of violence and her call to soldiers to hand over the administration to civilians,” is on the same page as the junta administration – whose torture she personally experienced for years – in relation to the view of the Muslims called “Rohingya.” After being released from house arrest 21 years later in 2010, Aung San, who turned into a simple town politician who gained support from voters through cheap heroism, is in cooperation with the Buddhists who see the Muslim minority worthy of all kinds of torture.
There is actually a fact we all know too well: The current international system, with all its instruments – from its fictional awards to its perfunctory statements – has been built on a logic that disregards Muslims’ rights. Hence, when the Muslims in any region of the world face torture, there is no sense in calling the international system or to accuse the various elements of this system of inconsistency. On the contrary, by turning a blind eye and deaf ear to the Muslim world and the state of Muslims, they are behaving quite consistently. The opposite would have been surprising.
Throughout these days in which hundreds of thousands of Muslims have gathered at Mecca for the “annual congress” hajj pilgrimage, it would be most appropriate to give up looking to the West for help and think upon our own potential and opportunities. Whether it happens or not, attempting to produce ideas on forming alternatives to the current system is a duty upon each and every one of us