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PEACE PRIZE OR PANDORA PRIZE?

PEACE PRIZE OR PANDORA PRIZE?

On the 7th of October Laureates of the Nobel Peace Prize will be announced in Oslo. It’s difficult to say whether Wael Ghonim will be awarded — he has tough rivals. Yet, if we start giving this award away to people, who provoked a chain reaction of coups, civil conflicts, full-scale civil wars and mass bombings, then the name "Pandora Prize" fits the Nobel Peace Prize more.

Nobel Peace Prize holds a special place among the hundreds respectable and solid awards. Oxford dictionary of contemporary global history defines the Nobel Peace Prize as the most prestigious award in the world, given for preserving peace on Earth.

Peace Prize the only Nobel award, whose laureates aren’t chosen in Sweden, in violation of the routine procedures. Norwegian Nobel Committee was entrusted to choose the award-winner — Norwegian parliament elects its members out of Norwegian public and political activists, who do their best to emphasize their independence from the parliament, when it comes to choosing the candidate. Former and incumbent members of the Norwegian Nobel Committee, Norwegian Nobel Institute consultants, national parliaments and governments, members of Inter-Parliamentary Union, International Hague Court, International Arbitration, International Peace Bureau, International Law Institute, lecturers of certain universities, delivering lectures on the jurisprudence, history and philosophy can propose the candidacies for the Peace Prize. Finally, the Peace Prize Winners themselves are allowed to do that.

According to the last will of Alfred Nobel, Peace Prize should adjudged to the individual, who made the greatest contribution into general well-being of humanity and did more than the rest in the name of international fraternity, disbandment or reduction of acting armies, promoting and hosting the peace congresses. For quite a time this rule has actually been seen to. So, the first man to be awarded with this Prize was Swiss Henry Dunant, founder of the International Committee of the Red Cross.

In 1991 Norwegian Nobel Committee officially announced that henceforth his priorities for picking out worthy candidate were the cessation of local conflicts and wars and protection of human rights. At that background truly worthy candidates were celebrated — politicians, who contributed to end the Arab-Israeli conflict, civil war in Northern Ireland, organizers of international campaign on ban for the land-mines.

However, as far back as in 1948, when the Universal Declaration of Human Rights was adopted, this award was adjudged for human rights advocacy rather than promotion of peace more often than not. Since the 1970s this award also became a prize "for victory" in the ideological stands, not directly connected with the peace-making activity. Otherwise, it’s difficult to explain, what the U. S. President Barack Obama, Mikhail Gorbachev and other people, whose activity produced little improvement of global stability, were awarded for. Usually, the outcome of their actions was exactly opposite in fact. Yet, certain illusion that the Nobel Peace Prize was actually conferred for opposing chaos (rather than fomenting conflicts) still remained.

Now, though, yet another conventional cultural constants is seemingly about to perish. Bloggers, who have been organizing the revolutionary movements in the Muslim countries of Middle East and Africa this spring, are among the key nominee for the Nobel Peace Prize in 2011.

Jan Egeland, Norwegian ex-Minister of Foreign Affairs and the UN Undersecretary on Humanitarian Matters, expressed this opinion. According to him, committee leadership is willing to reflect the main international events of the year, which "directly result in stability and the decrease of amount of conflicts in the world". What are these events? You won’t believe this, but he’s talking about the train of revolutions in North Africa, which — apart from shocks and coup d’etats — have already triggered at least one civil war and foreign intervention into Libya.

According to Egeland, leaders of Norwegian Nobel Committee have to mark Wael Ghonim, Google manager, who is believed to be one of the masterminds behind Egyptian revolution, and Tunisian blogger Lina Ben Mhenni with this prestigious award.

"Nothing can match the significance and the ‘milestone’ momentum of the Arab Spring" — Egeland denotes. We can barely disagree with that, although the emotion tinge of this remark may vary in a wide range.

Kristian Berg Harpwiken, director of Peace Research Institute Oslo, agrees with Egeland’s views. He reassured everyone that the Arab Spring will dominate the internal debates of Nobel Committee. At that, Harpwiken views the theoretical awarding of bloggers as a peculiar investment into the further changes at the African continent. "There’s a huge aspiration for not just awarding the present contributors, but turning the prize itself into a future investment" — Norwegian activist said, apparently hoping for bloggers to make a good use of money.

Wael Ghonim was born in Egypt, grew up in the UAE and lived in Dubai afterwards. Due to a weird set of circumstances, in January of 2011 certain insuperable personal needs of his emerged, forcing Google to send him to Egypt. There Ghonim actually started a profound network activity. However, Ghonim failed to keep a reputation of a lone fighter. His direct employer, Google Inc. contributed to his fight in every possible way. This is the very same corporation that given Egyptian an opportunity to tweet even in the situation, when Egyptian Internet was cut off the rest of the world. We may surely make a conclusion that Google social package including aiding each of its employees, once they want to return to their historical motherland and bring some regime down. Yet, less trustful people stick to some other opinion.

Ghonim’s role in the coups cannot be reduced to Facebook network alone. He found the time to take the stage at various TV-channels, hold rallies and other important events. When yet another Nobel Prize winner Mohammed El-Baradei, the former IAEA chief, decided to leave his post and go into politics, Ghonim joined his team. In February of 2010 El-Baradei created a non-partisan oppositional organization named "National Association for Changes", which promoted the democratization of election legislation. Ghonim created the official web-site for El-Baradei’s election campaign and the support network for his chief. It included groups like the April 6 Movement and rather symptomatic Muslim Brotherhood; Revolutionary Youth Movement was created. The latter one has thoroughly prepared for the street protests like its Orange Eastern-European counterparts — they’ve worked out the routes for rallying groups, trained the coordination by arbitrary signals and calculated the exact timing. Thanks to that, dispersed groups of people gathered at the proper place and proper time.

Yet, what’s so surprising in that? Leaders of the April 6 Movement visited Washington as far back as in 2008 — allegedly to negotiate with the U. S. State Department officers on some matters. It also had some nearly unidentifiable financial support of Movements. org web-site. This is a rather peculiar resource, combining calls for spreading democracy and fight against all sorts of "injustice" with the detailed instructions to disguise one’s identity from authorities on Facebook. Egyptian revolutionaries applied the various achievements of the hive-mind, which aided them with counsel on various matters. If the Egyptian web-revolutionary is awarded with the Nobel Prize, it would be fairer presenting Wael Ghonim not as a "lone wolf" of the Internet space, but rather an envoy of a numerous and anonymous group of people.

Service record of the second Twitter-contender looks more modest. Although Lina Ben Mhenni created the "Tunisian Girl Journal", which is hugely popular among the Western journalists, demonstrating the wonders of efficiency of awareness and the rapidly appearing reports about yet another state "infamy" with all the shocking details, scope of her activity still falls behind the deeds of her Egyptian colleague.

On the 7th of October Laureates of the Nobel Peace Prize will be announced in Oslo. Wikileaks founder Julian Assange and former German Chancellor Helmut Kohl are also among the aspirants. It’s difficult to say whether Wael Ghonim will be awarded — he has tough rivals. Yet, if we start giving this award away to people, who provoked a chain reaction of coups, civil conflicts, full-scale civil wars and mass bombings, then the name "Pandora Prize" fits the Nobel Peace Prize more.

By Alexandre Vishnevsky

 

 

 

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PEACE PRIZE OR PANDORA PRIZE?
On the 7th of October Laureates of the Nobel Peace Prize will be announced in Oslo. It’s difficult to say whether Wael Ghonim will be awarded — he has tough rivals. Yet, if we start giving this award away to people, who provoked a chain reaction of coups, civil conflicts, full-scale civil wars and mass bombings, then the name "Pandora Prize" fits the Nobel Peace Prize more.

 

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