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article imageOp-Ed: Nobel nod to Snowden won't repair 'Peace Prize'

By Craig Boehman     Jul 17, 2013 in World
Swedish professor Stefan Svallfors nominated NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden for the Nobel Peace Prize. Apart from criticism of recent Laureates like Obama in 2009 and the EU in 2012, is a nomination really appropriate in Snowden's case?
RT reported that the sociology professor wrote to the Norwegian Nobel Committee to express his praise for Snowden's “heroic effort at great personal cost.” Svallfors also commended Snowden for revealing the existence of the expansive NSA surveillance program and for standing up “for fundamental rights and freedoms.”
But are Nobel nominators losing sight of the original intent of the Peace Prize? Alfred Nobel conveyed his vision for the prize in his will.
"The said interest shall be divided into five equal parts, which shall be apportioned as follows: /- - -/ one part to the person who shall have done the most or the best work for fraternity between nations, the abolition or reduction of standing armies and for the holding and promotion of peace congresses."
To his credit, Snowden has not fulfilled this straightforward edict in Nobel's will – nor would we want him to. What Snowden has accomplished is demonstrably to the contrary. By revealing the NSA's surveillance program, Snowden has incited provocative and hostile strains in relations between the United States and its neighbors in Latin America. China and Russia are also at odds with the US over the Snowden affair while many more governments have expressed their concerns and outrage at what has been perceived as a breach of trust among friends and allies.
There's a distinction to be made here too between the relations of governments and that of their citizens. If Snowden's Nobel nomination is to hold any meaning whatsoever it would be to serve as an unifying opposition between the peoples of the world against the US government and nations which will inevitably pardon the spy scandal in favor of economic and security considerations. Without such opposition by the people against tyrannical regimes, Snowden's revelations will have stood for nothing.
What we don't want are Nobel apologists, many of whom are defenders of state violence, offering one-off awards to make up for stupid decisions of the past. Many critics consider Obama and the European Union as undeserving of Nobel recognition, and I couldn't agree more. Digital Journal covered the controversy last year.
Although Snowden's nomination comes after the deadline for this year's award, it would be a shame if an official nomination for Snowden in 2014 would be tainted with the kind of bureaucratic guilt expressed in Professor Svallfors' letter to the Nobel committee. Svallfors states that Edward Snowden could help “save the prize from the disrepute incurred by the hasty and ill-conceived decision” to award Obama the Nobel Peace Prize in 2009.
No offense to the professor or to the Nobel committee, but I'd rather see Edward Snowden help save us from the NSA.
This opinion article was written by an independent writer. The opinions and views expressed herein are those of the author and are not necessarily intended to reflect those of
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