This past week the winners of the Nobel Prizes were announced, and one result, the only one anybody actually cares about, has got me seething with rage, so now we have this lovely post. Now being angry about the Peace Prize is nothing new at all, but I’m not all that mad about who won. I would have much preferred for Malala Yousafzai, a 16 year old who fights for girl’s rights to have an education and all most got killed by the Taliban for it, to have won. I could list why I wanted her to win so badly, but I think I’ll let these links tell you why. If you don’t share in my anger yet, then allow me to tell you the main reason I’m angry, it’s not that a very deserving person got passed up in a prize that they should have won, it’s what passing her up said.
The Nobel Peace Prize makes statements. That’s just what happens, people take some message from it. The Prize is at it’s best when it uses this power. 2011 was used to say that women still have to fight for their rights in some places, and that women CAN fight for their rights. 2010 said that we shouldn’t shy away from human rights abuses wherever they are, no matter how big or powerful the country that commits them is. 1964 said that peaceful protest is the best way to change society. 1991 said that tyrannical governments can’t just lock up their dissenters. This year said “Syria was in the news.” That’s all I really take from this prize. In choosing the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW), which I want to say is a fine organization with a noble goal, the Norwegian Nobel Committee said, “Remember that thing that was in the news a few months ago? These bureaucrats do something related to that.” This wouldn’t be so bad, except in saying that they’re also saying, “Young people, your issues and what you do don’t matter to us. You can’t cause change or impact the world. Bombs are more important than access to education.” I’m not saying that chemical disarmament isn’t important or it isn’t a worthy cause, it’s nice that they’re raising awareness of this issue. What makes me mad is that they could have said something much more powerful.
If Malala had won the Prize they would be saying that young people can actually change the world. That age is not a barrier to making an impact on society. They could have endorsed fighting totalitarian regimes, not with threats of bombs or embargoes, but with education, courage, and determination. They could have said that any person, regardless of social position, gender, race, religion, and age can fight to make the world a better place if they’re willing to work for it, and are brave enough to face any hardships that come their way, never backing down. This year they could have said that women and youth matter. That you don’t need a vote or even a driver’s license to start changing the world. Instead they choose to be topical, and in doing so said to one of the most apathetic groups that they, they’re rights, and what they believe in aren’t as important as a major news story this year.