BEIJING, Dec. 10 (Xinhuanet) -- Hege Ulstein, a commentator, wrote in a Norwegian newspaper on Dec. 4 that the Norwegian Nobel Committee has insulted the Noble Peace Prize. Excerpts, translated from the Norwegian, follow:
Alfred Bernhard Nobel invented dynamite and the Chinese invented gunpowder, but what did the Norwegian Nobel Committee invent?
This week, the Norwegian Broadcasting Corporation (NRK) disclosed that the 2006 Nobel Peace Prize winner Muhammad Yunus misappropriated foreign aid funds, and some of the people who got loans from Grameen Bank, which he set up, were forced to become indentured laborers and live in penury.
The Norwegian Agency for Development Cooperation and the Norwegian Foreign Ministry knew that as early as 1998 and informed the Norwegian Nobel Committee, which gives the Nobel Peace Prize, about the fact.
But Ole Danbolt Mjos, then chairman of the Norwegian Nobel Committee, and Geir Lundestad, then director of the Norwegian Nobel Institute, adamantly defended their decision of choosing Yunus. This is a worrying development.
Lundestad said that during the two decades he worked for the Nobel Institute no other nominee was as recognized as Yunus by experts in Norway and abroad. This indicates the Nobel Committee was reluctant to even glance at the information provided by the Norwegian Foreign Ministry, or that it had not been checking nominees' backgrounds thoroughly to determine whether they really deserved the peace prize. Both possibilities are scary.
Looking back at the past few winners, we can say that the Nobel Committee did not carry out thorough analyses, even disregarded facts, before awarding the prize. It is not important to find out the reasons for the committee's action or inaction, because the results were the same. The basis for awarding the prize has not been solid in recent years, including this year.
Mjos defended himself saying the committee felt it (not checking facts on and backgrounds of nominees) is a good thing. He used the word "feel", instead of "believe". While awarding the peace prize, does the Nobel committee always "do what it feels is right" rather than "what is right"? Considerable facts prove that it does what it feels is right.