Editor's note: This contribution by the late journalist I.F. Stone first appeared in our January 1975 magazine.
Alfred Nobel was a visionary who believed in a demilitarized peaceful world. In his will he left his Nobel peace prize to those who would work for “fraternity among nations,” “abolition or reduction of standing armies,” and “holding and promotion of peace congresses.”
In Nobel’s will the award for peace was to go to champions of peace, those working to replace militarism with international order based on law, and the abolition of national military forces. Nobel’s vision was to replace the power of militarism and war, with the power of law.
I believe the awarding of the Nobel Peace Prize to the European Union does not meet the criteria that Alfred Nobel laid out.
In many ways the European Union has done much in the past sixty years for peace and reconciliation amongst nations, but it has sadly done little for the demilitarization of Europe.
Whilst the EU imposes severe austerity measures upon many EU countries, it simultaneously supports the growing militarization of Europe by its support for the US military and for NATO ( which are guilty of war crimes against Iraq and Afghanistan). The EU continues to support the nuclear weapons policies of the United States. It supports arms sales from European states (UK, Germany, etc.,) to countries all around the world. T Instead of upholding human rights for countries such as Palestine, the EU has rewarded Israel with special trading status and huge grants (EU taxpayer money) for its military research and weapons, thus enabling it to continue its illegal policies of occupation and apartheid.
I cannot support this decision to give the peace prize to the EU.
I appeal to the Swedish Foundation Authority to hold the Nobel Committee accountable for giving, yet again, a political award instead of supporting people taking courageous, and often dangerous, stands to help move the human family away from military relations to ones based on peaceful resolution of conflict.
I believe that the reform of the Nobel Peace Committee is now necessary. As is the case of all other Nobel Prize committees that are made up of experts in their particular field, perhaps it is time too for the Nobel Peace Committee to be comprised of people experienced in the field of Peacemaking and International Law.
Mairead Corrigan Maguire won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1976.