When, in 2oo9, former USA President Barack Obama was elected, he did not even have a chance to order one Executive Order before the Oslo based Peace Committee of the Sweden based Nobel Prize awarded him the Peace Prize for that year. Many in the world were stunned. It was as if Obama came to office with a talisman which earned him goodwill which he did not have to earn with actual or genuine work. At that time Obama was gaining one recognition after another without first having to demonstrate that he deserves them.
Members of the Oslo peace prize committee which is the more political of the world famous Nobel Awards are very shrewd. They calculated that before Obama could sit comfortably in the Oval Office, grow in stature, gain some confidence and begin to order which country of the world should be bombed to serve American interest, he should be quickly bribed so that he will be a good boy in favour of world peace and dissuaded from being the usual American cow boy president who loves to send messages to citizens of other countries through tanks, air-to-surface and surface-to-surface missiles.
As things turned out later in Obama’s 8-year presidency, the Oslo shrewd men were wrong. Obama was no different from most American presidents before him. He was as war-like as them all. His greatest trophy of infamy is the destruction of Libya, then one of the best governed nations on earth. Today, Libya is a failed nation, no thanks to Obama. His Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton, shocked the civilized world when she breathlessly said immediately after the devastation of Libya and the dastardly killing of Muammar Gadhafi, its leader, that ‘’we came, we saw and we destroyed’’ or something near this.
The shrewd calculators in Oslo also missed it, it is now clear with what is happening in Ethiopia and the whole horn of Africa, with the award of the Peace Prize to Ethiopian Prime Minister, Abiy Ahmed. As they thought about Obama, they felt it is wise also to bribe a potential bully into a peace-monger without reckoning with the political underlining factors responsible for making many otherwise reasonable men and women becoming unreasoning bullies while they occupy an office.
America is an imperial empire. Those behind-the- scene men who run the empire know that an imperial power benefits more by either stoking conflicts abroad or actually directly provoking one under whatever guise as was the case in Iraq and Libya than seeking to be a peace-maker. How can peace profit America? How will the war industry sell arms and ammunitions and help to bring about national prosperity?
The Amharas are the ruling class in Ethiopia. The Oromos, the majority ethnic group, have been consigned to the background. The Tigrans are the contenders with the Amharas for power. With the ascension of Abiy Ahmed to the prime ministership, the men in Oslo felt it will be wise to bribe Abiy Ahmed with the Nobel Peace Prize so he does not turn a bully and a pain in the neck to, especially, the Tigrans. Under the bribed Ahmed now, the Amharas are carrying out ethnic cleansing on the minority but hugely influential Tigrans. Once again, award as a bribe for good behavior has failed because it is the prevailing political realities in countries that influence the political behavior of who happens to be at the apex of power at any one time.
Rather than facing the reality of their coldly calculated wrongs inflicted on the Tigrans, the ruling people are blaming the crisis in Ethiopian on the very intelligent and influential Tigran son who is the World Health Organisation chief, Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus.
The Oslo people also made the same mistake with the now detained Myanmar leader, Aung San Su Kyi. When the woman got to power, she was as murderous to the minority Muslim Rohingya as all other Buddhist leaders before her, provoking decent men and women of the world to call for the stripping of her Nobel honours.
I wish to humbly suggest to the Peace Committee in Oslo to change tact by awarding the Peace Prize to men and women who lead national efforts to amend constitutions and change policies that will make national governments more inclined to pursuing peace, justice, fairness and equity rather than seeking to nudge lone individuals to behave well while in office. That has so far proved ineffective.
– Idang Alibi is a journalist, pastor, farmer, businessman and an aspiring industrialist