Nobels and winners

The Nobel Prize has been awarded to Juan Manuel Santos, the president of Colombia, as a recognition for its work on the peace process with the FARC.

I always thought that it took two to Tango. So, if a war is fought between two or more, why only one gets the recognition of a prize for peace. When in a war there is only one winner, it’s not called peace process but conquest. Of course it would be awkward to award the Nobel Peace Prize to a guerrilla organization. Perhaps the institutional frame of the state has something to say about whitewashing otherwise repulsive practices.

16-10-11-peaceExamples of democratic transitions and their pacts of forgetting, general amnesties, and leaps to social peace are plenty; from post-Nazi Germany to democratic Spain; from Timor-Leste to Sri Lanka. Whether silence works or not is only for time to tell, but peace is always welcomed. The tricky part is that only society will make it successful and, of course, it would be awkward to prize a whole society for enduring collective violence, for not enrolling, for safekeeping their lives and values, for pardoning violence with their bare hands beyond poverty, beyond humiliation.

Their daily collective effort culminates in the engraving of their president’s name in the back of a golden medal. In our civilized world, prizes are only for winners.


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