(By Raheem Oluwafunminyi)
“The production and use of chemical weapons debases the very core of human existence and, therefore, must be done away with. The Committee couldn’t have been more right to have indicated that disarmament figures prominently in Alfred Nobel’s testament, yet observers feel Nobel’s vision did not only wish to establish a society where peace would remain by abolishing certain weapons but all kinds of deadly weapons all over the world which threatens human existence.“
Continued from yesterday
OBSERVERS of events in the last one and half years were keen to have made their own nominations for the award aside those put forward to the Nobel Committee. A sociologist professor in Sweden had recommended Edward Snowden, the NSA whistle-blower for his revelations about the U.S. and British mass surveillance programme. The choice was informed by the travails he faced in the hands of the U.S. authorities who say he is a fugitive, having been charged with espionage sometime in June. Mairead Maguire, a peace activist, nominated U.S. soldier Bradley Manning for the prize. According to her, Manning’s brave act of disclosing secret documents to Wikileaks had assisted in ending the war in Iraq and helped prevent conflicts elsewhere. Manning is currently facing a 35-year-jail term for disclosing classified information believed to be the largest intelligence leak in U.S. history.
On the other hand, Vladimir Putin made the controversial list of nominees through a Russian advocacy group which claimed Mr Putin “actively promotes settlement of all conflicts arising on the planet.” His insistence that the Syrian crisis should be solved diplomatically which eventually led to a U.S-Russia agreement has been praised by many and was seen as a very good reason for him to earn the award just like Obama did in 2009, having advocated for a peaceful world before assuming office. Putin’s nomination, however, arrived late before the February deadline. Other nominees included Claudia Paz y Paz, the first female Attorney General in Guatemala who has been instrumental in the prosecution of organised crime and fight against political corruption. Denis Mukwege also made the nomination list. He and his colleagues are known to have treated more than 30,000 women gang-raped and tortured during the civil war in his native Democratic Republic of Congo. Despite an assassination attempt at his life which prompted a quick move to Europe, he later returned to continue treating his patients. The list is, however, endless.
As controversy and criticisms continue to trail this year’s award for peace, it is pertinent to state that by awarding the OPCW the prize, the Nobel’s committee may have ultimately opened our eyes to a very critical issue affecting the global world. The production and use of chemical weapons debases the very core of human existence and, therefore, must be done away with. The Committee couldn’t have been more right to have indicated that disarmament figures prominently in Alfred Nobel’s testament, yet observers feel Nobel’s vision did not only wish to establish a society where peace would remain by abolishing certain weapons but all kinds of deadly weapons all over the world which threatens human existence. They argue that international relations should be demilitarised while war should out-rightly be abolished. Whether such objectives will materialise in the nearest future is not certain, nevertheless, this year’s peace prize to the OPCW is a reminder that the world could achieve abolition of dangerous weapons like is currently pursued in Syria. It is a reminder that powerful nations could lead the way in ensuring that they completely abandon all nuclear, biological and chemical weapons and work together to prevent its re-emergence. By so doing and showing strong commitments, other states or non-state actors who believe the ownership of such deadly weapons is a right would have little or no reason to bring us all into a conflict which nobody knows its outcome.
•Oluwafunminiyi, a social commentator could be reached via email@example.com
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