What Alfred Nobel Really Wanted His Peace Prize to Achieve

13 Oct 2010

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The awarding of the Nobel Peace Prize to jailed Chinese human rights activist, Liu Xiaobo, has raised tension between China and the West.

Xiabo advocates for human rights, freedom of expression and democracy in China and his activism has resulted in an 11-year jail sentence for what has been described as "subversion" by the Chinese government.

The Nobel Peace Committee, awarded Xiabo the peace prize for using non-violence to demand human rights, raising China's ire.

Al Jazeera's Inside Story asks, "Is the prize making bold moves to support suppressed voices or is it straying out of its mission statement?"

Did the Nobel Peace Committee choose the most appropriate winner this year in light of the true aims of its founder?

After all, they have in the past awarded the prize to controversial winners, including last year's winner, American President Barack Obama, who won the prize just a few months into his presidency and who has since earned notoriety for ramping up the war in Afghanistan and unleashing drone attacks that have also resulted in the deaths of helpless civilian populations.

In Alfred Nobel's will, he stipulated that the prize should be "awarded 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 promotion of peace congresses."

Norwegian author of the Book, "Nobel Peace Prize: What Nobel Really Wanted," Frederik Heffermehl, contends that Nobel had very specific peace work in mind that has been misinterpreted by the current Nobel Peace Committee, which has also become a tool for political patronage in Norway.

According to Heffermehl, the prize was aimed at champions of peace and not just at peace itself.

Heffermehl argues that the Peace Committee lacks the courage to implement the true essence of Nobel's wishes, which were to combat the military industrial complex. He contends that the Peace Committee believes in the opposite of what Nobel intended his legacy be used for -- as it is dominated by military sympathizers.

According to the author, the committee believes in military strength and a military alliance in NATO with allegiance to the United Sates of America. All Nobel prizes are expressions of this Norwegian foreign policy.

Independent China specialist, Andrew Lenugh defends the committee's decision to award the prize to Xiabo, but also believes that China has a right to question and critique Western models of democracy.

You can find this page online at http://sacsis.org.za/site/article/282.19.

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