Shamelessly tapping into the resourcefulness of Wikipedia without having to spend precious hours towards establishing a more legitimate resource base for my ramblings just a quick thought on yesterday’s awarding of the Nobel Peace Price to the European Union.
According to Mr. Nobel himself, the award shall go to the person who “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.”
Most Nobel laureates were individuals, but several institutes, organisations and a number of UN programmes also were awarded the most coveted peace award – as well as the UN as a whole, in 2001, a rather odd choice I would say.
With the European Union, it’s the first time the Nobel Committee chose a security community, i.e. “a transnational region comprised of sovereign states whose people maintain dependable expectations of peaceful change” (Adler & Barnett 1998). The Nobel Committee argued the EU has “over six decades contributed to peace and reconciliation, democracy and human rights”.
In 2015, when ASEAN aims to realise the ASEAN Political-Security Community (APSC), it might seem timely for the award to go to Southeast Asia. The Association has over 45 years maintained interstate peace among its members. True, there is a lot of room still to improve the status of democracy and human rights within the region. The ASEAN Charter as well as the APSC Blueprint refer to strengthening and promoting democracy and human rights, and recent changes in Burma seem to herald more reason for optimism – though there’s little coverage on the ongoing war in Kachin state and numerous other instances of central governments battling insurgents, secessionists, terrorists, freedom fighters, and the already marginalised.
Many of the 500 million Europeans also don’t quite appreciate the Nobel Committee’s choice. They argue their governments, in collision with the EU, are waging war against them, with “increasing violence and division”. Sure enough it is not the best timing for the award to go to crisis-battled Europe. An odd decision – maybe the award should have gone to Korean Rapper Psy instead. After all, Ban Ki-moon himself called Psy’s Gangnam Style “a force for world peace”. With close to 500 million views, you almost have a community as big as Europe’s, though not bound by geography! How’s that for an individual effort!!!