The reason is simple. 'Their' candidate did not get it. There goes all talk about a unified world.
Technically, this year's winner is the right choice, if we understand that the Nobel Peace is for disarmament. The Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) was awarded the 2013 prize "for its extensive efforts to eliminate chemical weapons".
However, it is clearly a political decision. Despite its avowed independence, somebody is pulling the strings. What exactly is the definition of "champions of peace"? This year there were 259 contenders, and there is no peace in sight. Most parts of the world are in a state of constant disturbance, if not civil war.
Getting rid of chemical weapons is indeed necessary, and important. One cannot even dispute the topicality, for the Nobel Prize organisation has stated:
"OPCW inspectors are currently working in Damascus on a U.N.-backed disarmament mission to verify and destroy Syrian President Bashar Assad's arsenal of chemical weapons."
This is where one must pause. Does an organisation become relevant only after the chemical weapons have been used, or should it not be able to sniff them out and preempt any strike? Is it not valid to question other means that might push such abuse of weapons? How would OPCW respond to individual nations interfering in what is their work?
Fact is, it is not just their work. The United Nations has a history of taking bad calls, and people similar to those who sit in the U.N. also constitute the Nobel Commitee.
Syria is eyeball-grabbing in so many ways. A dictator, rebels depending on Big Brothers (yes, it is a 'plural'istic world in interesting ways), and then the self-righteous war against terror.
One can safely assume that the 2013 Nobel Peace Prize has been awarded to 'own' the Syrian construct, if not manufacture it.
This is probably one of those rare times when a message is being sent under public glare to these nations as to who is boss. Within the western world, it will also come across as a politically-correct decision.
Most Nobel Peace decisions are pleasers. There was not a chance in hell for Russian President Vladimir Putin to win it, forget Edward Snowden or Bradley (now Chelsea Manning). These are thorns in the way of how sanctified systems works, although Putin has his own system that is questionable.
The other politically-correct choice would have been Malala Yousafzai. In the run-up to the awards, she has appeared on primetime talk shows, received other awards, has released a book. She had most of Pakistan rooting for her, as also a number of people in the West.
It is easy to understand why. At 16, she would be the youngest. The West has saved her from the Taliban. She talks about pen against weapons (never mind that her audience uses drones). She even mentions little children in Syria.
If Malala were a country, some superpower would be trying to bring in democracy and park its forces and arms there.
A couple of articles even said that she does not need the Nobel, the Nobel needs her. With so much over-the-top basic acceptance, there would be little space for understanding nuances.
Those who rant against the 'Malala Haters' expose their need to be in control. They can do this only by toeing the line the West takes.
Pakistan is pretty much indebted to the West for almost everything politically. It cannot afford not to like what the West likes. The real problem is that the vocal segment of Pakistanis is uncomfortable that those raising questions do not have a problem with the young Malala and her fight for education, but with them and their stupor that prevents them from acting and choosing instead to ride on the fame of one who was targeted.
Reacting to the accusation that she is speaking for the West (this viewpoint is mainly from the Taliban, and the professional liberals are giving it importance only because they need to look good in comparison), the opinionators came up with the argument that she always talks about Swat and Pakistan. Naturally. Will anybody be interested or even tolerate her views on Haiti, let alone a government that had to shut down? It is like diaspora literature. It has to stick to its brief and not veer away from the exotic.
In a typical subcontinental response after the award was announced, the Nobel Peace Prize was questioned. Had Malala won, it would have been a perfectly legitimate award. Sherry Rehman was among those who said, "Whole of Mingora is praying for Malala to win the award." This was supposed to convey the sentiments as a 'proud Pakistani'. Indeed, an honour is a matter of pride, but why the double-speak then by the hype-pushers?
It included the chairman of the Pakistan People's Party, Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari, who was depending on what the bookies said, that "Malala is the second favourite to win Nobel?! Who's beating her? Don't tell me they're giving it to Obama again?"
After the announcement he declared her prime minister: "Wazir-e-Azam Malala Yousafzai." His humour surfaces only when his party is not in power. Would he have said this if PPP was in the seat?
Simmering with discontent, they have now transformed her into a queen of hearts. It really has all along been about them.
© Farzana Versey
Also A Mirage Called Malala