Organizations being conferred the Nobel Peace Prize is not new, but I haven’t heard before of an entire geographic region winning the coveted prize.
So, I am kind of amused to hear that the European Union has won the peace prize this year. No, I am not against the idea of recognizing an entire continent for its peace efforts. But, I know I am not alone when I ask, ‘But why the European Union?’
It reminded me of how embarrassed many in the United States were when President Barack Obama, just one year into his presidency was conferred the peace prize in 2009, a time when the country was in the thick of war on two fronts – Iraq and Afghanistan.
Okay, without questioning the relevance of a peace prize in today’s violence ridden world, let me understand why Europe?
So they are not exactly at war with each other, or with others, but who can deny the growing resentment among the weaker EU members against Germany’s economic superiority and the UK’s opportunistic fence sitting.
Perhaps the Nobel Peace Prize committee meant to acknowledge the EU in retrospect for its post-WW -II past. With images of violent protests on the streets of Greece still recent and fresh; and unrest over austerity measures, unemployment and a general economic collapse among several of the member countries it seems incongruous to pat them on the back for peace.
Or perhaps the Nobel Peace Prize committee is trying to send out a message to the EU to get its act together by putting it under the world’s glare.
Or could it also be that the Nobel Peace Prize committee, in its desperate quest to find some peace in the world, ironically found the European Union to be the lesser of evil elsewhere?
Whatever be the reasons, I guess the Europeans should be allowed their moment of pride. Still, I couldn’t help noticing in the web sphere that the most skeptical of comments over the announcement are from Europeans themselves.
CNN’s British-origin anchor Piers Morgan personalized the honor by tweeting: “I have just won the Nobel Peace Prize? How exciting.”
But BBC business correspondent Robert Peston had a more valid question: Would everyone in the EU get a share of the $1.2 million prize money. Well, the 500 million-strong continent that works out to about a quarter of a cent per person.
Just as well, Mr. Preston, in any case, the $1.2 million is hardly going to solve Europe’s economic woes.