Friday, October 12, 2012

Nobel Peace Prize 2012 - The European Union

The Nobel Peace Prize 2012 is awarded to the European Union! Since I read a lot of (sorry to say that) "bullshit" comments on a very popular social networking site about the sense and nonsense of this decision, notably the ones talking about how this decision is perfectly in line with all the previous "stupid" decisions about Nobel Peace Prize laureates (especially the prize to Barack Obama is very often quoted here), I feel I have to write something about it.

Let me begin with an observation: I read from a lot of people from countries within the EU that this is the most hilarious and ridiculous decision ever (without any reasons). Well, the strange thing here is: it is de facto the recipients complaining about receiving the prize. What does this tell us? That a) they honestly and truly do not consider the EU a good endeavor, that has brought peace to Europe and is fostering inter-cultural exchange or b) they don't see that they are the European Union. Since I find it hard to imagine that there is anyone who really thinks in terms of a), it must be b). Now the question is: what is worse? a) implies a very hard-lined world view, which is even objectively wrong, but hey - at least it is a clear stand point. b) instead implies "unknowingness" or even ignorance and a very confined world view. Especially for a lot of Germans "the EU" is merely a huge bureaucratic apparatus that gets generously founded by their taxes but does not produce any visible and immediate output or personal benefit. Well, this is completely wrong: the immediate output is visible for every one, every day, in every European country (and especially the more wealthy ones like Germany): we live in peace - for over sixty years. One has to keep in mind: when we are talking about Europe, we are talking about 27 states, with 27 different national interests, 27 very different histories and 0.5 Billion people living on a rather confined space (as e.g. compared to North America). It is a tremendous political and societal achievement to somewhat coordinate these interests and to build a web of international contracts, agreements, treaties, etc. that secures this stable, peaceful state. For most European citizens, especially the younger ones, this state is the state we have always known. We cannot imagine Europe being full of hate and national conflicts. Not thinking about "the alternative" however creates in most of those people's heads the illusion that the status quo is something "normal", "natural" and not worth reflecting on. Also they do not see that they personally contribute to the European Union by living in a country that, as being part of the EU, accepts and complies to European law. And this is exactly the problem with those comments: people take peace as granted and do not consider themselves as part of the machinery that created this European state of peace.

However, here is an interesting point: In some sense, these comments which let me to write this text, are in a very strange way the perfect, living evidence that the European Union (i.e. we all) is a role model for peaceful co-existence and deserves this prize. Because: if you reach a state where people take their peaceful lives as granted, not being in doubt about it or fearing any severe international conflict, you really did your job 100% right.