The prestigious Nobel Peace Prize 2013 was awarded to the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW). The Committee declared:
[The OPCW and its relative conventions] have defined the use of chemical weapons as a taboo under international law. Recent events in Syria, where chemical weapons have again been put to use, have underlined the need to enhance the efforts to do away with such weapons.
Social networks were stunned by what followed as the Committee was unable to reach out to the winner:
@OPCW Please contact us @Nobelprize_org we are trying get through to your office.
— Nobelprize_org (@Nobelprize_org) October 11, 2013
This wacko situation, which emerged yesterday (October 11) was highlighted by The Next Web which greeted the OPCW:
That’s right, the folks behind the Nobel Prize turned to Twitter — which started out as a place to tell the world what you ate for lunch and other such frivolities – to let OPCW know it needed to get in touch.
Let that reality sink in for a moment.
The Washington Post wraps-up this year's missed calls by Nobel Prize winners.
Similarly to last year's winner, the decision of the Norwegian Nobel Committee drew huge attention and sparked dellusional comments as the list of nominees counted a series of high-profile individuals such as 16-year-old Pakistani Malala Yousafzai.
Indeed, requiting the OPCW was a surprise even for some Nobel watchers. In the past days, Malala Yousafzai, the pupil who risked her life to campaign for female education, was considered a contender for this year's Peace Prize. Malala supporters were in dismay after the Committee broke the news, and disappointment innundated the social networks.
Ironically, yesterday was also the International Day of the Girl Child, created by the United Nations to promote education for girls. Prior to the Committee's announcement, Curt Rice, outspoken commentator promoting gender equality especially in science and technology among others, hoped:
I hope the @Nobel Peace Prize committee will prove these words about their problem with women wrong: http://t.co/HLbGZJ9Zw4
— Curt Rice (@curtrice) October 11, 2013
Indeed, out of 44 women having received a Nobel Prize since 1901, only 15 have been awarded for Peace, and often one prize has been shared between at least two female winners. Males thus clearly outnumber Nobel prizewinners. Despite the Committee's arguments that gender doesn't matter, Rice urged it to take gender into account and to do so in a respectful fashion:
We can’t have a disproportionate number of single male prizewinners, and then make up for it by dividing a depreciated award among several women one year. The committee should not improve gender balance by creating a fire sale on female activists.
Of course, Malala Yousafzai not getting the Nobel Peace Prize does not make everyone out there unhappy:
Pakistani Taliban ‘delighted’ Malala Yousafzai missed out on Nobel Peace Prize |via @NDTV http://t.co/mTHhzMZkV6
— Tinu Cherian Abraham (@tinucherian) October 11, 2013
Another edgy stumbling block is the identity of the winner. For a second successive year, the prestigious award goes to an organization rather than to individuals, succeeding to 2012 Peace Prize which went to the European Union leading many to question the rationale behind the Committee's decisions:
Nobel Peace Prize seems a bit self-serving these days. EU, Obama, now OPCW. Idealistic.”
— NSUK DropOut (@Abu_swag) October 11, 2013
Nobel Peace Prize and such prizes should preferably be given to individuals who make real change, not just organizations & heads of states.
— Tarek Amr (@gr33ndata) October 11, 2013
I really don't care who gets the Nobel Peace Prize this year. There's no way they can make it up to us for awarding Obama & austeritarian EU
— Asteris Masouras (@asteris) October 11, 2013
Nobel Peace Prize probably doesn't deserve Malala. Appears to remain intent on making empty political gestures
— Rob Crilly (@robcrilly) October 11, 2013
In fairness the Nobel Peace Prize kind of descended into irony after Kissinger won it.
— Murtaza Hussain (@MazMHussain) October 11, 2013
Zeynep Tufekci, assistant professor at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, takes however a firm stance in favour of the OPCW getting the reward:
What the world is desperately lacking, and the Nobel Committee, for once, rewarded, is the kind of boring, institutional work of peace that advances the lives of people. Everyday. Little by little. But without which lives are shattered and countries crumble (as they do now).
[T]he celebrity has moved on, the cameras have moved on, and those under-appreciated bureaucrats, technicians, the planners, the institutions that improve lives of millions of people, everyday, get dismissed, underfunded, even ridiculed. Hey, they are just bureaucrats and technocrats! Yes, one by one, they are just that. But as institutions they are what the world needs much, much more of.
Some find the Committee had missed the momentum for awarding the OPCW with the Peace Prize:
OPCW should have won #NobelPeacePrize in 2003, when it defied Bush by offering alternative to Iraq war. http://t.co/fvOOyLgXEO
— GeorgeMonbiot (@GeorgeMonbiot) October 11, 2013
Clearly sarcastic comments about the Committee's decision also flourished, acknowledging that the OPCW won the Prize “because its director [Üzümcü] has three umlauts in his name,” or clarifying the “selection committee to chose India's official entry for Oscars and the Nobel Peace Prize Committee think the same way.”
Beyond sarcasm and the institutions-not-individuals decision is an important consideration: was the OPCW rewarded for its work behind the scenes since 1997 or was the Nobel Peace Prize an attempt of subtle political communication? Some think the OPCW did not seriously do its job. More importantly, a wide number of commentators both in social and mainstream media have made a link between the OPCW's prestigious reward and recent massacres in Syria proven to be caused by chemical weapons, arsenal whose destruction the OPCW is overseeing. The Nobel Prize Committee (unconvincingly) denied such allegations:
Nonsense RT @Nobelprize_org: OPCW has NOT been given the #NobelPeacePrize because of #Syria but because of its long standing work.
— Jenan Moussa (@jenanmoussa) October 11, 2013
As Jenan Moussa, a renowned journalist having extensively covered Syria, others also doubt the alleged missing link between the Peace prize and Syria's chemical disarmament process led by the OCPW:
@PTI_FATA the decision was purely political for whats going on in syria…no one even knows the meaning of that organization #OPCW
— Umar (@Umar___) October 11, 2013
Syrian protestors from Kafranbel, known for drawing witty cartoons and posing for photographs with them with uncovered faces, posted their opinion denouncing the Nobel Committee's decision:
#OPCW #UN Received #NobelPrize !! #USA #Syria #Death #Kafranbel #الامم_المتحدة #سوريا #كفرنبل #جائزة_نوبل pic.twitter.com/XuGQdt56lK
— RaMi (@ramihsh) October 11, 2013
Facing the backlash, OPCW director announced that Syria will join the OPCW as the 190th member state, a declaration that, surprisingly, has not drawn much attention. The OPCW did not, however, address opinions that hailed Russian President Vladimir Putin's role in letting the OPCW in Syria. While some consider requiting the OPCW with the Peace Prize is “in line of flawed discourse that Obama & Putin ‘avoided war’ in Syria,” netizens seriously highlighted Putin's involvement in the ongoing effort to dismantle Syria's chemical weapons:
If somebody deserved a Nobel peace prize for eradicating CWs in Syria, it was #Russian president Vladimir putin, not some alien #OPCW.
— Arslan Jabar (@Arslan_Jabar) October 11, 2013
#Vladmir_Putin shld have won the Nobel Peace Prize, and NOT the #OPCW without Putin's nod they wouldnt have done isht in Syria!
— Beyond tribe (@tribe46thkenyan) October 11, 2013
Such reactions follow up an initiative announced by Russian public figures nominating President Putin for Nobel Peace Prize 2014. Ladies and gents, make your games for who will get the (less and less prestigious, more and more divisive) award next year:
It will be Putin's time “@omarsyria: Assad for Nobel Peace Prize 2014”
— Kety Shapazian (@KetyDC) October 11, 2013
So don't be surprised if next year Nobel peace prize is awarded to Netanyahu or Lavrov. #NobelPeacePrize
— Ibrahim – ابراهيم (@imansour00) October 11, 2013