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Nobel Peace has history of sparking controversies
Washington, Oct 10 (Agencies):
Published on 10 Oct. 2009 11:51 PM IST
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The Nobel peace going to Barack Obama has got tongues wagging about whether a debutante leader should be put on par with global political heavyweights. But this isn’t the first time the prize has caused controversy. Here are a few: Theodore Roosevelt (1905): Became the first politician to win the prize for his mediation in the Russo-Japanese war. However, he was well known for his bellicose posture. In the 1898 Spanish American war he led a US regiment in Cuba and in later years used military to establish US supremacy in the Caribbean. Woodrow Wilson (1919): The Peace Prize was awarded to the US president for his crucial role in establishing the League of Nations. The league however was part of the Treaty of Versailles which later laid the seeds of Nazism. Cordell Hull (1945): The secretary of state was awarded for his efforts to establish peace in the Western Hemisphere. He however was responsible for the return of SS St Louis back to Germany. The ship carrying about 1000 Jewish refugees had to return and they died in Nazi camps. Henry Kissinger (1973): US national security adviser and secretary of state Kissinger was awarded the prize with North Vietnamese leader Le Duc Tho for a 1973 agreement to bring ceasefire and withdrawal of US forces. Two of the prize committee members quit, Tho declined the Nobel and Kissinger did not come to Oslo to receive it. Menachem Begin (1978): The Israeli PM was awarded the prize along with Egyptian president Mohamed Anwar al-Sadat for the controversial Camp David Agreement. Begin had previously been the head of Zionist militant group Irgun, which is often held responsible for the 1946 bombing of the UK headquarters in Jerusalem which killed 91. Rigoberta Menchu (1992): Although her work to publicize the plight of Guatemala’s indigenous peoples during and after the Guatemalan Civil War is well-known, she was accused in 1999 for fabricating facts in her autobiography to propagandize her leftist leanings. Yasser Arafat, Yitzhak Rabin & Shimon Peres (1994): Although the three brought out mutual reorganization after the Oslo Agreement, final peace was not established. The trio also shared controversial pasts. The award sparked the third resignation in the Nobel Committee’s history. Wangari Maathai (2004): A Kenyan newspaper reported that the activist called AIDS a disease developed by western scientists to depopulate. She later denied these claims. Al Gore (2007): Awarded for his work on raising awareness of global warming. There is dispute whether his work was related to the stated purpose and also no consensus among climate experts.

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