They’re too good for it. In the past few months there’s been growing support for both Bradley Manning and Edward Snowden to receive the Nobel Peace Prize. Manning, who has been nominated previously, was officially nominated by Mairead Maguire, a winner of the 1976 Nobel Peace Prize for her efforts towards peace in Northern Ireland, and Snowden has been nominated by Swedish sociology professor Stefan Svallfors. Snowden’s nomination comes too late for him to be considered for the 2013 prize but his nomination will put him in the running for the 2014 edition. The nominations are nice, but neither Manning nor Snowden have a realistic chance of being selected.
While the global media attention (no matter how negative) as well as the monumental fuck-you it would present to their detractors would be welcome, Manning and Snowden won’t be collecting the Nobel Peace Prize anytime soon. And this isn’t just because Manning will be too busy being beaten up in a cell to attend the award ceremony and Snowden will be trapped in Russia.
Manning, and to a lesser extent Snowden, are everymen who managed to expose some of the United States’ worst clandestine transgressions against smaller nations and its own people. For the act of revealing state secrets and challenging the power of its empire, Manning and Snowden have been demonised and hounded by the mainstream U.S media and the U.S government. This groupthink and pressure from the U.S will invariably affect the Peace Prize decision making process.
The Nobel committee has always shown an intense infatuation with power and those who wield it in their awarding of the Nobel Peace Prize.
When you look through the list of Peace Prize laureates it becomes clear that the Nobel Peace Prize has been awarded to some heinous people who have done heinous things and that the Nobel committee has always had an agenda, or at least a serious aversion to upsetting the status quo.
Laureates like war criminal and all-round terrible person Henry Kissinger, fanatical fraud Mother Teresa, the European Union and Barack Obama (effectively an award for not being George W. Bush, which is ironic given that Obama has either maintained or expanded the worst aspects of Bush’s foreign policy) make the whole thing seem like a farce.
While there have been other worthy winners, and no doubt there will continue to be, the Nobel Peace Prize is obviously beholden to the standard of Western hegemony. In this way, the Nobel Peace Prize does not miss the chance to make loud, but definitely not bold, political statements.
The selection of the Dalia Lama in 1989 and the imprisoned activist Liu Xiaobo in 2010 can be construed as admonishments of China’s human rights record. This is great, of course, but the moral tunnel vision of the Nobel committee only becomes more evident.
While China and the U.S are not comparable in their suppression of free speech or the treatment of its own citizens, they are both guilty of contravening human rights and causing a great many people to suffer.
It’s hard to think of any individual who has done as much in the fight against U.S militarism (and that of its allies), the cause of a great deal of suffering and human rights violations, than Bradley Manning. He has revealed covert U.S military operations in Yemen, shed light on civilian deaths in Iraq and Afghanistan and exposed corruption in the governments of the United States, Egypt and Tunisia.
If the Nobel committee really did want to give a platform to and congratulate those who fight for peace and the creation of a better world, then people like Manning and Snowden would be a good way to start.