Daily Israel Report

Nobel Committee May Award Peace Prize Incentive to Arab Spring

As the Nobel Peace Prize tries to provide encouragement (witness the award to Obama in 2009) the Arab Spring is an odds on favorite.
By Aryeh ben Hayim
First Publish: 10/4/2011, 5:52 PM

Nobel Peace Prizes have lately been awarded with a view to providing encouragement rather than necessarily recognizing something accomplished. Although the Arab Spring is a work in the making it is a favorite topic in Norway that awards the prize.

Social Democratic Party politician and Nobel Committee chairman, Thorbjoern Jagland, said last week that ''it has not been particularly difficult this year [to decide on a winner].'"

Jagland made waves when he pushed through the award to Barack Obama in 2009 despite the skimpy resume of the new president. The Arab Spring is the favourite topic this year," Kristian Berg Harpviken, the head of the Peace Research Institute of Oslo, said.

"The current committee has been very clear that it wants the prize to be in tune with the times and, even more than that, it wants the prize to have an impact on political developments," he said.

On the eve of the award Some 200 Arab bloggers involved in cyberactivism will gather in Tunis Monday to discuss the role of the Internet and social networking in political change following the "Arab Spring". This should serve as a timely reminder to the committee.

If the prize goes to the "Arab Spring", the committee will have to agonize over which person or persons epitomize it. Will it be Tunisian blogger Lina Ben Mhenni who began blogging back in 2008.  Another Arab Spring blogger in the running is Google executive Wael Ghonim, who was an inspirational figure in the Tahrir Square protests in Cairo.

Another frontrunner is thought to be Esraa Abdel Fattah of Egypt a cofounder of the April 6th youth movement together with Ahmed Maher. The movement used Gaza to focus discontent against Hosni. Abdel Fattah and Ben Mhenni bring the added advantage of being women, a group that the committee would like encourage in the Arab World.