So the winner of this year’s Nobel Peace Price is …. the EU? What the heck? Who’s going to be awarded the 2013 peace prize — the Nobel Peace Prize committee itself?
The Nobel Peace Prize for 2014 will be awarded to the word “peace” … for its undeniable power to help people express their ideas more easily.
For 2015 the Peace Prize will be awarded to “Life” for demonstrating temerity not to shirk from terrifying nonexistence and to infuse people with the desire to live and let live.
For 2016 it will be awarded to the “smile” for its unsung role in promoting peace and cooperation.
For 2017 it will be awarded to “paper” without whom the leading peace treaties would never have been possible.
For 2018 it will be awarded to “war” — which frankly has gotten a bad rap these last few centuries — but whose contrast helps us to value what peace itself is.
For 2019 it will be awarded to “myself” , the place where all peace has to start.
For 2020 it will be awarded to “traffic lights” for its crucial role in preventing collisions and disputes.
For 2021 it will be awarded to “Rainbows” for suggesting a kind of society which unifies all kinds.
For 2022 it will be awarded to “wimps” who are brave enough to embrace the path of nonconflict against intimidation and aggresison.
For 2022 a joint award will be given to “cannabis” for promoting the cause of indifference to conflict.
For 2023 it will be awarded to “Martin Luther King” because there’s nothing wrong with repeating oneself sometimes.
For 2024 a joint award will be given to “mouthwash and underarm deodorant” for helping people to get closer.
I realize that with this year’s award, the Nobel committee has made a clever and interesting point about the benefits of international bodies. But the main purpose of awards is to identify and reward extraordinary individuals. You are squandering this real value of an award when you try to reward institutions rather than individuals. Individuals are the ones who actually fight for these concepts. They are outgunned and underfunded. Their individual struggles matter, and awards can help expose these struggles to a wider audience and raise the status of these people in their own society. Peacemakers, contrary to what you might think, rarely make the news; they rarely work with a sizable PR budget, and frankly they don’t often “win” (even if ultimately their point of view ends up prevailing over the long term).