Emu Devine
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The Nobel Prize is a fraud. It’s been a longtime coming, but with the recent genocide directed by Peace Prize receipent Aung San Suu Kyi, it’s now undeniable. While her crimes against humanity have recently been overshadowed by the 2021 coup in Myanmar, which saw the military depose her, her support of the genocide and ethnic cleansing of Rohingya Muslims has been going on for almost a decade; her comments denying it go back as far as 2013. With the beginning of this year filled with massive protests, some focused on protest art, public pushback over the false claim that citizens supported the military, and accusations within the country this week that China worked alongside the Burmese military to orchestrate the coup, Suu Kyi has been far from the most important piece of Myanmar’s socio-political environment.

However, she is still extremely important to talk about. It was Suu Kyi who directed the army to force approximately 750,000 Rohingyas to flee to Bangladesh, and presumably kill 43,000. That kill statistic was accurate in 2018. This isn’t a debate anymore; Suu Kyi and Myanmar are currently under investigation by the International Criminal Court and are being sued in the International Court of Justice. A different UN body, outside of its courts, already finished their report, and announced that Myanmar is unequivocally committing ethnic cleansing and a genocide. The chair of this commission, Marzuki Darusman, stated that “peace will not be achieved while the [Burmese military] is still above the law,” and later criticized Suu Kyi for keeping military officials from the previous authoritarian regime in power, and not limiting their power (something that obviously came back to bite her later).

So how did she even get a Nobel Peace Prize in the first place? After living abroad for many years, she returned to protest this military junta holding full power in government, formed a pro-democracy political party that won an election, and called for democracy in general. She was then made a political prisoner and spent the next two decades in and out of prison until the nation finally began the process of democratization, allowing her release days after the first election. She was awarded the Nobel Prize in 1991, still in prison, two years after her first arrest. The Nobel Prize committee, however, has refused to rescind the award or even condemn her for her actions, claiming it’s not their responsibility, even though it most definitely is.

Their defense is that it is against their rules to revoke awards or call for condemnation, even though they are the sole party in charge, and could change the rules at any second if they wanted to. They even have the absolute audacity to call her ‘Burma’s Modern Symbol of Freedom’ — kind words for a war criminal and genocidal maniac. Her credentials for winning in the first place aren’t as strong as they seem at first glance. Born to some of the most powerful people in Myanmar, she was given an upbringing of elites and got her degree from Oxford. After this, she would remain abroad and enjoy her privilege, not returning to her birthplace for decades, and only returning when her mother was dying. She only became involved in the resistance effort after this, saying “I could not, as my father’s daughter, remain indifferent to all that is going on.” This is despite the fact that, at 41, she had remained indifferent all her life.

Now, to be clear, this isn’t the first time evil people have been recipients of the Peace Prize. For example, Henry Kissinger, noted war criminal, accepted the award following the Vietnam War, where he committed those crimes. So did Mother Teresa, who was known to embezzle and misappropriate donations, as well as refusing to upgrade medical infrastructure for those in need in India while flying to the U.S. for better medical care for herself. This time really seems to be the straw that breaks the camel’s back.

In place of silence from the Nobel Prize committee, past Peace Prize winners Malala and Desmond Tutu have publicly condemned Suu Kyi, and penned an open letter about the issue alongside more than a dozen other laurerates. For the Nobel Prize as an organization to still full-heartedly support a person who, up until this month, was actively committing genocide is unacceptable. The committee’s refusal to even condemn her, let alone rescind her prize, is a delegitimizing moment. It is more than clear that they have no basis to judge the morals and work of any person. No sane person can take the title of ‘Nobel Laureate’ seriously now; their endorsement means nothing. If nothing else, I seriously doubt a group of Swedes and Norwegians have the diversity of thought and experience to accurately judge the credentials of an enormous, multicultural world.

Featured Image: Courtesy of Claude Truong-Ngoc / Wikimedia Commons

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