The Ethiopian premier can’t win this year’s Nobel Peace Prize for technical reasons, but he nevertheless deserves global recognition for his peacemaking successes.
The Nobel Committee will award its eponymous Peace Prize on 5 October, and while Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy certainly deserves this more than anyone else, it’s impossible for him to receive it for technical reasons having to do with the end of the nomination process on 31 January, almost two full months before he assumed leadership of his Horn of Africa nation and became known to the international community. To be sure, the Nobel Peace Prize has been turned into a mockery of itself in recent years especially after Obama won it in spite of not having actually done anything to advance peace anywhere on the planet, let alone even having the chance to do so just two weeks after his historic inauguration by the time he was nominated. Nevertheless, most of the world has yet to shake off their idealistic views of what the Nobel Peace Prize represents, which is why it’s still important to billions of people.
There was a lot of talk a few months ago about Trump receiving it because of his peacemaking moves with Kim Jong-Un, but their agreement to eventually denuclearize the Korean Peninsula has yet to achieve anything of significance no matter how historically symbolic their first-ever summit together was. Although it hasn’t been discussed too much, there’s always a chance that Ahed Tamimi could win the award because of how famous she became after the Mainstream and Alternative Medias elevated her to the position of a Palestinian icon for freedom even though she’s since taken to de-facto accepting the existence of “Israel” by promising to work within the apartheid system as a lawyer in order to support her people’s rights. For reasons of “political correctness”, she’d probably be much more palatable to the Nobel Committee than Trump, especially because of the interest that this Liberal-Globalist body might have in the simple optics of a Muslim woman triumphing over him.
Neither Tamimi nor Trump have contributed anything tangible to the cause of peace, unlike Prime Minister Abiy, whose most important accomplishment in his less than six months in office so far has been to end his country’s tense two-decade-long unresolved frozen war with neighboring Eritrea. This went beyond mere words and photo-ops and has seen the two countries resume flights to one another, reopen phone lines, and plan commercial and pipeline cooperation after Addis Ababa unilaterally agreed to adhere to an international legal ruling and withdraw its troops from the disputed border town of Badme that was at the center of its mutually disastrous war with Asmara from 1998-2000. The chain reaction that this catalyzed in the Horn of Africa region has been profound because the two countries’ proxy war inside one another’s territories and the neighboring failed state of Somalia has stopped, finally giving over 100 million people the chance to experience a sustainable peace.
Even before clinching his historic agreement with Eritrea, Prime Minister Abiy already had two very impressive accomplishments under his belt, though they probably wouldn’t make him a legitimate contender for the Nobel Peace Prize on their own. The first thing that he did upon assuming office was initiate fast-moving and across-the-board reforms designed to correct the many mistakes of his predecessors and deliver real change to his country’s population, proving that he was cut from the ruling coalition’s reformist cloth and determined to show in in a substantial way. Accordingly, he wasted no time calming the rising tensions between Ethiopia’s largest ethnic minority group of the Oromo (from which he hails) and the central authorities which had risked throwing the country back into the throes of civil war if they weren’t promptly dealt with, after which he extended an olive branch to a variety of opposition groups that the government previously designated as terrorists.
This was importantly carried out in parallel with what has now been revealed to have been the then-clandestine UAE-facilitated talks with Eritrea and the unfolding rapprochement with Egypt, the latter of which had previously threatened war with Ethiopia over the Grand Renaissance Dam that Cairo feared would give Addis Ababa control over the Arab country’s water resources upon full completion in the near future. The effect that these two international reconciliations had was that they eliminated the greatest sources of foreign support for Ethiopia’s previously terrorist-designated opposition groups and therefore compelled them to enter into meaningful talks with the government that averted an impending civil war. Altogether, it’s clear to see that Prime Minister Abiy spent a lot of time seriously contemplating his peacemaking vision for Ethiopia and the rest of the Horn of Africa that he would later execute with lightning speed upon assuming office less than half a year ago.
It’s a pity that the administrative-technical rules related to nominating candidates for the Nobel Peace Prize prevent Prime Minister Abiy from being a legitimate contender, but he still deserves worldwide recognition in one way or another for the magnitude of what he’s accomplished in such little time. Although it can never be quantified how many lives he may have saved by offsetting the civil war trajectory that his country was dangerously careening along and taking proactive measures to prevent the onset of an international war with Egypt and its powerful GCC allies, the impact that these dark scenarios could have had on regional peace shouldn’t be overlooked. Even so, what ultimately counts the most in the public eye and especially in terms of the Nobel Peace Prize is the visibly existing conflict that a candidate contributed to resolving, which is why Prime Minister Abiy’s peace deal with Eritrea alone would theoretically make him the winner if he was eligible.
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