The Desperate Symbolism of the Nobel Peace Prize

Today a committee of five Norwegians announced that the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (ICAN) is the 2017 recipient of the prestigious, and basically meaningless, Nobel Peace Prize. According to the Nobel website, the group was awarded the peace prize “for its work to draw attention to the catastrophic humanitarian consequences of any use of nuclear weapons and for its ground-breaking efforts to achieve a treaty-based prohibition of such weapons.” ICAN was founded a decade ago by another Nobel Peace Prize-winning group, the International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War (IPPNW). It has since become an international grassroots anti-nuclear movement focused on raising popular awareness of the threat posed by nuclear weapons. ICAN’s main claim to the Nobel, however, was its instrumental role in brokering the UN nuke prohibition treaty signed this summer, which represented the culmination of a decade’s worth of tireless effort to rid the world of the most destructive weapons ever created

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