The Nobel peace prize is a rare honor. But many receipients of the prestigious award have gone on to undermine, shoot, even bomb away the very peace they were recognized for facilitating or fighting for.
Abiy Ahmed, Prime Minister of Ethiopia (2019)
For Ethiopian prime minister Abiy Ahmed, the award came after his bold reforms soon after coming to power and an agreement to make peace with arch-rival Eritrea.
For a man who played an active role in reconciling South Sudan’s protagonists, and whose intervention helped create a transitional authority in Khartoum, it is disturbing that he’s resorted to violence to resolve a dispute at home.
Barack Obama, U.S. President (2009)
Barack Obama was awarded a Nobel Peace prize the same year he took office. He would go on to back the military intervention in Libya which killed the country’s head of state and unleashed an unending conflict, on top of ramping up deadly drone strikes in Afghanistan and Pakistan.
Shimon Peres, RIP (1994)
A joint Laureate with Yitzhak Rabin and Yasser Arafat, Shimon Peres (deceased) was accused of disgracing the Nobel peace prize by overseeing the crippling blockade of Gaza as Israeli president and repeated invasions by his military that resulted high civilian deaths, so much for achieving mid-east peace in 1994.
Aung San Suu Kyi, Leader of Myanmar (1991)
But perhaps there’s been no bigger disappointment than Aung San Suu Kyi. Awarded the 1991 peace prize for her non-violent resistance against Burma’s military junta, the former human rights icon has overseen a bloody crackdown against the Rohingya Muslim minority that the UN has called a “text book definition of genocide”.
After all, the Nobel doesn’t bring peace. Men do.