Monday, October 13, 2014

Why Malala shouldn't win it...

By now we have all heard that Malala Yousafzai has finally been awarded the Nobel Peace Prize and as far as I can tell we're all super happy about it, right? After last year's outcry, did the Nobel Committee have any other choice? While I am delighted that this inspiring young lady is getting more and more recognition, which she undoubtedly deserves, I heard the criticism brewing the moment her name was announced. Yes, the world will celebrate that Pakistan's favorite name, a symbol for equality and justice, will receive the highest possible accolade, along with, out of all people, an Indian activist in times when hostilities between their two countries could not be worse. Were these two individuals the idea of Alfred Nobel when he founded the prize, on the other hand? Unfortunatly the answer is "No!".

How has there not been a movie yet?
I stand in no way in opposition to Malala or Kailash Satyarthi and their incredible work but as a thorough analyst I can't help to object about the reasons they were chosen for the prize. There is no doubt in my mind that they deserve an honor equivalent to a Nobel Prize as their work is noble, exceeding the work of many past recipients in terms of goodwill and charity. The truth is however that the prize has a definition, and it reads that the recipient "shall have done the most or the best work for fraternity between nations, for the abolition or reduction of standing armies and for the holding and promotion of peace congresses". Neither of this year's recipients can fit that description because, unfortunately, it is very restrictive to people of power. And when I mean power, I mean hard power.

When Malala was not given the prize last year I largely agreed because at 16 years old she was not equipped to make a reasonable difference in peace efforts. Correct me if I'm wrong but she still isn't. Of course she helps a lot of children get the education they need, and education is our best shot at living in a peaceful world one day, but Malala does not have the influencing power to make any person on the planet reconsider whether to be peaceful or not. The only people who could make the world a safer place are the people that usually point the guns, and those are statesmen. People criticized Obama for winning a peace prize when many were dying in his name. However, there was also considerable disarmament in his name, and that is eventually going to get us closer to world peace than Malala's activism. Even at 17, Malala has done a lot of good but she has not prevented the Taliban who once shot her to cease doing similar things, nor anybody else.

Although it's a depressing thought, peace is not in the hands of ordinary people like me or Malala. My local pastor would be deserving of a peace prize just like Malala if the eligibility for it would be measured in goodwill. However, most people doing good are not able to do it on a global scale. Malala gets to express her ideas worldwide but is there evidence that her words influenced any decision-makers to refrain from using acts of war? She is not equipped to rightfully win the Nobel Peace Prize. If anything, the prize's definition should be changed to prevent ridiculous recipients, such as the EU. Yes, Kissinger, Obama and many other controversial recipients had the power to cause peace and there were areas of their work where more peaceful measures were achieved. At the same time, these guys also caused a lot of destruction. It is evident that peace comes at a price, and that price can only be paid by the powerful. Not Malala. 

Awarding Kailash Satyarthi the price along with Malala to underline the conflict between their two countries is equally ludicrous to me. Why can't I just shake the feeling that Malala was going to win it and they looked to India to find someone symbolic to go with it? Seems hardly fair. If such customs were appropriate I demand to award Vladimir Putin the Nobel Peace Prize in a joint ceremony with Barack Obama as New START was a joint venture, at least on paper. The perpetual criticism does not stem from bad choices the committee makes though but the nature in which this prize is restricted to the powerful of the right side. I'm sure the prize would be a total joke these days if Hitler had received it but I am sure he was nominated. In a way Malala's win is portraying an effort to no longer restrict the accolade to those in power but to make it accessible to those who make a difference. Unfortunately, that is not what the prize originally called for.

Needless to say, despite the possibly wrong definition of her win, I am ecstatic Malala won...

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