And the winner of the 2013 Nobel Peace Prize goes to ... the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons?! Wait, who?! Why?! Well, according to its panel committee, the prize was awarded to the OPCW for its effort in Syria. But wait, Syria still hasn't been completely disarmed, nor has the function of its disarmament even been discussed or fully agreed upon since the nation being disarmed is still in a civil war.
Well, that's fine, I guess. Its intentions are in its name: "for the PROHIBITION of Chemical weapons." But what exactly have they prohibited? There have been two circumstances where chemical weapons were used in Syria just this year. Most recently in August in Ghouta, an Eastern Suburb of Damascus, and before that in March, in the Khan al-Assal district of Aleppo. What exactly did OPCW prohibit, and more importantly, why is it being awarded the Nobel Peace Prize?
The Nobel Peace Prize committee claims to have awarded the OPCW for "hav(ing) defined the use of chemical weapons as taboo under international law." Taboo is the way I feel when asked about whether or not I like Ethiopian cuisine. The use of sarin gas on thousands of innocent civilians in Syria, however, is not something I would consider taboo. It's something abhorrently wrong and inhumane.
Regardless, how can an organization be awarded for its minimal if not insignificant efforts in a conflict that has now surpassed a death toll of 100, 000 people? Neither its intentions nor its vague definitions are worthy of applause.
One would then assume that the Nobel Peace Prize committee had slim pickings on who to choose from this year, right? Wrong!
According to this year choice, one top contender was Malala Yousafza, the 16-year-old girl who spoke out about the cruel acts of terror used by the Taliban in her native Pakistan. Malala was wounded by the Taliban upon being shot in the head. She survived and continued to speak about the importance of education and peace as the only ways to defeat the Taliban.
There should be no confusion regarding this year's bizarre choices. Past recipients include individuals such as Yasser Arafat, and peace-loving Henry Kissinger, who advocated for the illegal bombing Cambodia that resulted in the deaths of thousands and induced a civil war. Some may be angered that a defiant 16-year-old civil rights activist was not chosen for the award, but I'd rather it be some organization that has shown very little success in changing the facts on the ground in Syria than to degrade this girl with a prize that is becoming increasingly ignored and futile.