The 2021 Nobel Peace Prize was on Friday awarded to journalists Maria Ressa and Dmitry Muratov for their courageous fight for freedom of expression in the Philippines and Russia respectively.
“Both have tried to protect the freedom of speech which is an essential condition of democracy and peace,” said a tweet by the Nobel Prize-winning body.
Maria Ressa is a well-known Philippine journalist who runs a website called Rappler. Due to asking difficult questions to the government, she has faced problems in the Philippines. Ressa was born in the Philippines but moved to America as a child. She studied at Princeton University.
Dmitry Muratov is a journalist too. He founded an independent newspaper named Novaja Gazeta. He has been an advocate of freedom of speech in Russia for decades.
The winner of this prestigious award gets an amount close to Rs 8.5 crore. The two recipients have been selected out of 329 candidates.
While the Nobel Peace Prize is one of the six prizes that were instituted to honour the will of the Swedish scientist, businessman and philanthropist Alfred Noble, the committees that decide on the prizes for science streams and those for literature and peace are different. They are based in different countries. The recipient(s) of the Nobel Peace Prize is/are selected by the Norwegian Nobel Committee, a five-member committee appointed by the Parliament of Norway.
The Nobel laureates for physics are selected by the Nobel Committee for Physics, a Nobel Committee that consists of five members elected by The Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences. The Nobel Laureates in chemistry are selected by a committee that consists of five members elected by the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences. Only select persons are eligible to nominate individuals for the award for medicine. These include members of academies around the world, professors of medicine in Sweden, Denmark, Norway, Iceland, and Finland, as well as professors of selected universities and research institutions in other countries. Past Nobel laureates may nominate too.
The Nobel Peace Prize has been controversial, unlike the Nobel Prizes for science subjects, thanks to a clear political bias the recipients betray. While the bias is mostly leftist, even leftists wonder at times why some ‘champions’ of causes dear to them missed it. The following are six among several recipients of the political award.
Many people objected to the award of the Nobel Peace Prize to former US President Barack Obama. Obama himself was surprised to receive this award.
In his biography published in the year 2020, he wrote that his first reaction after the announcement of the award was, “For what?”
He had become president only nine months before his name was announced for the Nobel Peace Prize. Critics said that it was a decision taken in a hurry. The nomination process for the Nobel Prize was over just 12 days after Obama took office.
In 2015, the director of the Nobel Institute, Ger Lundeston, said that the committee that took this decision later regretted it.
Former Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat was given this award in 1994 for the Oslo peace agreement with the then Prime Minister of Israel Yitzhak Robin and Israel’s Foreign Minister Shimon Peres.
The agreement brought hope of resolving the Israel-Palestinian dispute.
It was criticised in Israel and other countries because Arafat had previously been involved in paramilitary activities.
There was controversy over this decision in the Nobel Committee. One member, Kair Christensen, resigned in protest against the decision.
Aung San Suu Kyi
In 1991, Suu Kyi was awarded this award for her peaceful movement against Myanmar’s military rule.
But 20 years later, Aung San Suu Kyi was accused of human rights abuses and murder of Rohingya Muslims while she was supreme leader. The UN called it a ‘genocide’.
There was also a demand to withdraw the Nobel Prize from Aung San Suu Kyi, but the rules of the Nobel Prize do not allow this.
Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed was awarded this award in December 2020. This award was given to him for trying to resolve the long-running disputes with the neighbouring country Eritrea.
But only after a year, questions started arising on this decision.
The international community raised questions as to whether Ahmed’s military deployment to northern Tigri was justified.
Thousands of people had to lose their lives fighting there. The United Nations called it a “tragic tragedy”.
In 2004, the former Kenyan social worker became the first woman to win the Nobel Peace Prize.
But after his statement related to HIV and AIDS came to the fore, he was criticized a lot.
Mathai said that the HIV virus is an artificially created biological weapon and it is designed to eliminate black people.
There is no scientific evidence to substantiate his claim.
In 1973, the then US Secretary of State Henry Kissinger was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize.
Kissinger’s name was associated with the secret bombing campaign in Cambodia and the brutal military rule in South America, so many questions were raised about his name.
Kinsinger was given this honour along with Vietnamese leader Le Duc Tho, who had made a significant contribution to stopping the Vietnam War.
Gandhi did not get Nobel Peace Prize
The Nobel Peace Prize has been controversial also because some poser boys of the left never got them. At the top of these names is Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi. Despite being nominated several times, Gandhi was not given this honour.
In 2006, Norwegian historian and then chairman of the Peace Prize Committee, Ger Lundestad, said that not honouring Gandhi’s achievements was one of the biggest mistakes in Nobel history. In the recent past, however, Americans during the Black Lives Matter movement desecrated a statue of Gandhi. Furthermore, South Africans have been on record wondering why Indians claim Gandhi to be the inspiration behind the movement against apartheid even though India’s ‘Mahatma’ sided with the imperial power during the natives’ struggle for recognition and respect in their own counry.