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The Politics Of Nobel Peace Prize

By Abdus Sattar Ghazali

14 October, 2014

On Friday (Oct 10) the Norwegian Nobel Committee awarded the Nobel Prize for Peace to a Pakistani teenager, Malala Yousafzai and an Indian child rights campaigner, Kailash Satyarthi.

At the age of just 17, Malala is the youngest ever recipient of the prize. The teenager was shot in the head by militants in October 2012 when she was on her way home from school. She now lives in Birmingham in the UK.

Thorbjorn Jagland, chairman of the Norwegian Nobel Committee, said:

“Despite her youth, Malala Yousafzai, has already fought for several years for the right of girls to education and has shown by example that children and young people too can contribute to improving their own situations. This she has done under the most dangerous circumstances. Through her heroic struggle she has become a leading spokesperson for girls’ rights to education.”

The 60-year-old Kailash Satyarthi, has for decades been a leading voice in the fight against child trafficking and forced labor in India. His organization, Save the Childhood Movement, says it has rescued 83,000 Indian children from servitude in India since 1981.

Mr Satyarthi has maintained the tradition of Mahatma Gandhi and headed various forms of peaceful protests, “focusing on the grave exploitation of children for financial gain,” the committee said at the Nobel Institute in Oslo. He founded Bachpan Bachao Andolan, or the Save the Childhood Movement, which campaigns for child rights and an end to human trafficking.

The Times of India said that Kailash Satyarthi’s Nobel Prize is a cause for national celebration in India, even if many Indians had to Google him on Friday to appreciate the battle he has fought for child rights. There was a time when many in India were scathing of Satyarthi’s work, particularly his ‘Rugmark’ which was opposed by carpet weaver organizations as a “western” conspiracy to render their work uncompetitive. But today, as Satyarthi becomes the toast of the nation and the world, its unconditional applause for the nation’s latest celebrity.

India has one of the largest working child populations in the world, according to Time magazine of USA. There are close to 50 million child laborers in the country, more than 10 million of them in bonded labor, having been sold by their families to work off loans they couldn’t repay.

The committee said it was important that a Muslim and a Hindu, a Pakistani and an Indian, had joined in what it called a common struggle for education and against extremism.

After Malala Yousufzai and Kailash Satyarthi jointly won the Nobel Peace Prize, official reaction in Pakistan was overwhelmingly positive. Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif called her the “Pride of Pakistan” and said girls and boys should “take the lead from her struggle and commitment.” The spokesman for Pakistan’s powerful army, Major General Asim Bajwal, sent a congratulatory tweet, saying “Except for terrorists, all Pakistanis want their children in school.”

However, Many Pakistanis are skeptical about the meteorite rise to fame of Malala propelled by the Western media and Western controlled international organizations and institutions.

Liaqat Baloch, a leader of the Jamaat-e-Islami, a major political party, said: “Malala is a Pakistani student and she is getting a lot of support and patronage abroad. On the surface this is not a bad thing and we welcome this, and there is no objection to the award, but the attack on Malala and then her support in the west creates a lot of suspicions. There are lots of girls in Pakistan who have been martyred in terrorist attacks, women who have been widowed, but no one gives them an award. So these out of the box activities are suspicious.”

The BBC quoted Tariq Khattack, editor of the Pakistan Observer, condemning the prize and Malala: “She is a normal, useless type of a girl. Nothing in her is special at all. She’s selling what the West will buy.”

Not surprisingly, Chinese media has expressed skepticism over the Pakistani teenager being chosen for the award saying it was used to positively portray US intervention in Pakistan and Afghanistan.

Zhao Gancheng, director of the Centre for Asia-Pacific Studies at the Shanghai Institute for International Studies, told state-run Global Times: “Her propaganda coincides with the US troop withdrawal from Afghanistan. And the West is using Malala’s story to publicize the bright side of their effort of military presence in the other countries, such as improving the chances of women receiving education as well as their political participation. Meanwhile, they are downplaying the dark side of it, such as more conflict and mass civilian deaths.”

Who is Malala?

It may be pointed out that Malala was only 11 years old when her diaries were published by the BBC under the pen name Gul Makai – a heroine of Pakhtun folktale. Many people are wondering how a girl of such age from a backward area like Swat can write political diaries.

Malala Yusufzai came to lime light when she was profiled in Adam B Ellick’s 32-minute documentary — Class Dismissed — produced by the New York Times in 2009. Malala was only 11 years old when this documentary was made. In the documentary she acts mature beyond her years. The documentary, which can be seen at the New York Times website and YouTube, shows her, along with her father and mother meeting with the late Richard Holbrooke, President Obama’s special representative to Afghanistan and Pakistan. The documentary indicates that Malala played vital role in anti-Taliban military operation in Swat.

There are scores of extraordinary Pakistani kids who blog online, write diaries in publications and appear on TV however, Malala was apparently selected by Western NGOs to be groomed into an anti-Taliban icon. Not surprisingly, she was routinely invited by a variety of senior government, military, diplomatic officials especially the US as indicated by the 2009 New York documentary.

Her father, Ziauddin Yusufzai is the spokesperson for the Swat Qaumi Jirga, which has helped the mercenary Pakistani Army in its Swat operation launched in January 2009 that displaced 2.2 million people. The Swat valley, where army reportedly committed extra-judicial killings, still remains under military occupation and for many displaced persons life never returned to normal.

Internet and facebook are abuzz with stories that McKinsey & Co, Inc., the globalist management consulting firm is behind the Malala project. Not surprisingly, since October 2012 she was bestowed with 34 global and local awards and honors, according to her biography on Wikipedia.

278 Nobel Peace Prize nominees

This year’s record number of 278 Nobel Peace Prize nominees included Pope Francis and Congolese gynaecologist Denis Mukwege, although the full list was kept a secret. Former NSA contractor Edward Snowden and Russian newspaper Novaya Gazeta had also been tipped as favorites for the award.

The Nobel Peace Prize has, more often than not, raised eyebrows and created controversies. The politics of the Nobel Peace Prize have been described as tragic, outrageous and sometimes cringe-worthy. While meant to recognize those whose work has greatly benefited or contributed to the advancement and unity of mankind, the Nobel Peace Prize has sometimes been given to those with violent pasts or who have been exposed for lying in the so-called factual work that earned them the award. In recent years the Nobel prize committee has made some controversial decision on those who were awarded the peace prize.

In 2010, the Norwegian committee gave the Nobel Peace Prize to Chinese dissident and political prisoner Lu Xiaobo. An enraged Chinese government snapped political and economic ties with Norway. Norway could only restore relations in 2014, when the government refused to meet the Dalai Lama who was visiting the country.

Here are more examples as enumerated by Frank Carson in10 Most Controversial Nobel Peace Prize Winners published by wallstcheatsheet.com:

In 1973, Henry Kissinger was given the award with North Vietnamese leader Le Duc Tho. Le Duc Tho rejected the award, given for the pair’s peace work in South Vietnam, because he felt that peace had not yet been achieved in the area. Kissinger, President Nixon’s Secretary of State, accepted the award “with humility,” but many felt that it should never have been offered to him in the first place. There were two reasons for this controversy: Kissinger was accused of war crimes for his assistance in America’s secret bombing of Cambodia from 1969-1975, as well as for helping to contribute arms to South American dictators who would slaughter thousands of people during the terror campaign Operation Condor. Two Norwegian Nobel Committee members resigned to protest Kissinger’s win.

In a move called “a stunning surprise” by the New York Times, Barack ”KING OF DRONES” Obama was nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize only 12 days after he took office in 2009. When he actually won the prize only months into his first term in office, many accused the Nobel Peace Prize Committee of being politically motivated since the award was given to Obama due to his efforts to “strengthen international diplomacy and cooperation between peoples” instead of his actions. In subsequent years, Obama expanded the drone campaign, bombed Libya and has had to return to Iraq to fight another war against the so-called Islamic State.

While Al Gore’s Nobel Peace Prize win in 2007 was, according to the Nobel Peace Prize Committee, awarded because “he is probably the single individual who has done most to create greater worldwide understanding of the measures that need to be adopted” regarding climate change and global warming, many feel Gore was undeserving of the award since he hardly practiced what he preached. In 2006, shocking electric and gas bills from the Gore household showed that his 20-room home and “pool house” were eating up over 20 times the national average electricity usage.

Additionally, Gore’s eye-opening film about the effects of global warming and measures that could be taken against it was exposed as having nine gross errors, as ruled by a High Court in England. The errors, crafted to support Gore’s argument, included “alarmist” fudging of facts regarding the rising of sea levels, unfounded claims of the effects of global warming with no evidence to back them up, and the manipulation of statistics. Although his work is undeniably important, his presentation of speculation as fact coupled with his refusal to address concerns regarding said inaccuracies makes Al Gore one of the most controversial Nobel Peace Prize winners of all time.

In 2012, the European Union was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for “six decades of contributions to the advancement of peace and reconciliation, democracy, and human rights in Europe,” despite the protests and riots occurring in Greece, Portugal, and Spain at the time. The Associated Press stated that the win came during the union’s most severe internal crisis ever. Arguments over the European Union’s possible democratic deficit and its economic crisis made this Nobel Peace Prize particularly controversial, but there’s no denying the positive effects the European Union has had uniting participating nations after World War I and II and by participating in international aid efforts. (We should not forget that EU’s military arm, NATO is currently involved in an aggressive war in Afghanistan, it bombed Libya in 2011 and at present one of its member Turkey is involved in supporting a civil war in Syria.)

Abdus Sattar Ghazali is the Chief Editor of the Journal of America (www.journalofamerica.net) Email: asghazali2011 (@) gmail.com

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