Is the Nobel Peace Prize Brand Damage Reversible?

Oslo (PP Editorial) — The Nobel Committee is concerned about the civil war a Nobel Laureate is prosecuting in Ethiopia. The Nobel Committee seemed to have weathered criticisms about reluctance to withdraw the Prize from Aung San Suu Kyi, who has been indifferent to the persecution of Rohingyas in Myanmar.

The Nobel Committee woke up from slumber after the 2019 Nobel Laureate Abiy Ahmed, the Prime Minister of Ethiopia, had declared a war on Tigray, bombed key infrastructures and forced thousands of Ethiopians to cross the border into Sudan.

The Nobel Committee had not done political due diligence on Abiy Ahmed.

According to Filippo Grandi, the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, “more than 25,000 refugees have now fled from the Tigray region of Ethiopia to Sudan”.

Peace activists are wondering if the damage to the Nobel Peace Prize is reversible. It has become a key predictor of a Nobel Laureate’s political behaviour.

Abiy Ahmed rejected all calls for de-escalation. He mobilised ethnic militias alongside the Ethiopian National Defence Force. The Ethiopian Government backs up the war with demonisation campaign against Tigrayans.

It has belatedly become clear to the Nobel Committee that the decision to award Nobel Peace Prize to Abiy Ahmed was not well-thought-out. If Aung San Suu Kyi’s case has been a black swan, what did the Nobel Committee do to prevent the Prize from turning into a license to kill citizens?

The civil war in North Ethiopia reminds many people of the 1980s campaign by the Derg regime against Tigrayans. The song We are the World was a response to the manmade famine caused by the scorched-earth policy of Mengistu Haile Mariam whose regime TPLF overthrew in 1991.

Abiy Ahmed exploited the prestige of the Nobel Peace Prize and showed the court of the public opinion that the Nobel Committe had not done a political due diligence on the Ethiopian Prime Minister.

© Puntland Post, 2020