December 13, 2016

When in a peace process you cannot award both sides a Nobel Prize, you should know you should refrain entirely

Sir, Andres Schipani writes: “coming to Oslo represented a closing chapter for me too. I stood as the victims of the conflict Mr Santos had brought with him received thunderous applause. Oddly, there was no Farc presence. Instead, there was Ingrid Betancourt, a former hostage who has acquired celebrity status” “A Nobel Prize and the struggle for peace in Colombia” December 13. 

Let me be clear. I wish for peace in Colombia as much as anyone else, but the current peace proposal, and this Nobel Prize, represents too little of a closing chapter for many Colombians than what it could represent for irrelevant outsiders, like Schipani and me.

And since Schipani brings up Dylan, again I must speculate on the possibility of secretarial errors at the Nobel Committees in Oslo and Stockholm. Perhaps Dylan was more worthy of the Peace prize, while Santos the literature one. The latter because for Santos to have presented to his people a 297 pages long document for referendum, must surely represent an outstanding moment in required reading. Would anyone in Britain have dared to do such thing? I doubt it.

That said, I do not agree with the Nobel committee’s prize to Santos, for the very simple reason that if in a peace process, you do not find yourself capable of giving both sides the same prize, then you should know that you should better abstain altogether.

Besides even if one could argue that had he proposal won the referendum, Santos would have been worthy of the prize... now, going "fast-track", over the peoples heads, clearly puts the whole process in a much less favorable light. 

And, if the prize was a sort of domestic consolation for the role Norway played as an observer in the negotiation, then it could have been more transparent to give that prize directly to Norway. Why not? Do observers not very often have to play the most difficult role of total neutrality while utterly disliking one or the other side, or both?