The Nobel Prize Committee should start serving Nobel’s idea of security, justice and prosperity in a demilitarized world — not Norway’s foreign policy goals.

Fredrik S. Heffermehl, Nobel Peace Prize Watch

Which is the better road to world peace? This is not for the Nobel committee to decide. It is legally bound by Alfred Nobel´s testament and his choice between two entirely opposite policies. If weapons had been the solution, we would have had peace long ago. The idea of Nobel´s testament, much more important today, was to liberate all nations from the yoke of weapons, warriors and war.

So, can this year´s Nobel Peace Prize, for “freedom of expression in the Philippines and Russia”, be the best effort for a disarmed world order in the world today? My research through 14 years leaves no doubt that the Norwegian awarders never liked Nobel´s vision of peace and have used the prize to serve their own ideas and interests. The committee has practiced a concept of peace without any meaningful limitation and, even worse, peace is not a word used by Nobel in his will. Another basic flaw is that they have glorified persons while the task was to promote a political idea, peace by disarmament.

portrait of nobel next to nobel peace prize

The unfortunate truth is that Nobel´s prize failed from the start in 1901. Rather than actively promoting peace by co-operation on global disarmament it has been firmly anchored in Norwegian politics and reflected a belief in military security and trust in an imperial and belligerent superpower. My research, including the committee´s files, reveals a systematic repression of the people and ideas Nobel had in mind. A total 114 “champions of peace” were cheated of their prizes. Presented with the evidence the Nobel committee recently, instead of ending its shabby management, chose to neglect my many exciting discoveries on what the Nobel prize could achieve in today´s world, go against the idea of disarmament, and deliver an intemperate attack on my honesty and competence.

The world simply cannot afford to continue war business as usual. The costs of arms races prevent us from addressing numerous very real threats, climate break-down, nuclear arms, poverty, a lasting pandemic, an increasingly fragile food supply. We have to realize that military power games only guarantee eternal insecurity and threat of annihilation.

To negate my criticism the award committee for years routinely has made brazen claims that each new prize is “firmly anchored” in Nobel´s will, invoking a random expression in the testament. But what does the 2021 prize for press freedom do for global disarmament? Similarly, were the UN food program (2020), Abiy Ahmed (2019), Mukwege/Murad (2018), engaged in global demilitarization? What makes the 2021 prize particularly lamentable is that the committee failed to defend the world against a most deadly threat against press freedom in the world today – in the military field – the cruel persecution of Australian journalist Julian Assange for revealing the war crimes of a belligerent superpower.

The Norwegian committee is averse to the most obvious and indispensable step to promoting Nobel´s vision of peace, announcing the world order he actually had in mind and how to achieve it. Without shame it insists on, in unfailing service to Norwegian foreign policy, continuing to ignore the express language on disarmament in the testament. Instead of defending its 120 years of betrayal of its mandate, today´s committee should start serving Nobel´s idea of security, justice and prosperity in a demilitarized world.

Fredrik S. Heffermehl, lawyer and author, latest book Medaljens bakside. Manager of Nobel Peace Prize Watch and