OSLO (Rooters agency) – The Norwegian Nobel Committee, which each year selects the winner of the Nobel Peace Prize, today announced that it would not be naming a recipient of the prize this year. From behind the scenes comments from committee members, it seems there may never be another.
Two different factors combined to create this decision.
One is that peace doesn’t seem to have been doing very well over the past year. “Of course,” as a committee staffer explained anonymously, “there are lots of people who have been trying to do something for peace. But to give one of them the prize implies that they have been successful, at least a little bit. Is anyone going to believe that? Just look at the world.”
The second factor is that, globally, the Peace Prize has been regarded as badly devalued ever since 2009. Reportedly, several potential recipients of subsequent prizes have declined to be considered, saying that accepting it would tend to identify the causes they represented with actions they did not want to be identified with, including multiple acts of foreign aggression, deportation of refugees, protection of torturers and other criminals, racist killings, and numerous other crimes.
This reluctance of many peaceful people to accept the award after 2009 was probably a main reason for the committee’s decision to award the 2012 prize to the European Union for its supposed contribution “to the advancement of peace and reconciliation, democracy and human rights in Europe.” Perhaps not surprisingly, this award only reinforced what many non-governments (i.e. people) regarded as the 2009 blunder.
According to anonymous staff of the committee, this year the steadily growing number of refusals became overwhelming. “Are you kidding? Would you like a punch in the head?” was, according to several of the staff, a not uncommon response from people who were asked, off the record, whether they would accept the prize if it were awarded.
“Have you taken it back from him? No? Then why would I want it?”, was, according to another staff member, the response of 68% of potential recipients questioned.
Given the reaction to the 2009 (and 2012) awards, it is hard to see how the committee can come up with a credible recipient in future years, especially if peacemakers continue to be as unsuccessful as they have been in the recent past. This year’s lack of a prize could become permanent.
That finding a willing recipient is only likely to become more difficult is indicated by the words of at least two potential recipients who were approached this year. Both suggested sarcastically that the committee could match its 2009 decision by awarding this year’s prize to Vladimir Putin.
Sources in Moscow report that the Russian President was in fact approached by the committee, but said he wasn’t interested.