A better prize


The European Union is an easy target. Look around here a bit and all you'll see is economic catastrophe, social meltdown, promiscuous cozying up between lobbyists and bureaucrats, a despairing lack of leadership, patriotic reactionaries, mass exodus, a real mess. In this austere environment, awarding the Nobel Peace Prize to the Union seemed to millions of its citizens either like a tasteless provocation or a really bad joke, or maybe like a preemptive strike against the growing resentment brewing up within these borders: a soothing yet misguided reminder of how grateful we should all be for decades of peace and the ignorance of war. Except that argument is fatally flawed, ask any Bosnian, Serb, or Croatian.

In the midst of all this controversy, of this strange and alarming coincidental enmity felt by both the European left and right against the Brussels establishment, one should however maintain a certain sense of perspective and cool analytical skill: the last few years have indeed been unique in their tragedy, unforgivable in their injustice, and exactly because of that, unforgettable in their historical significance. When this is over, for it will be, and the old order is finally replaced by the new century, we will look back at all this drama and recognize our lives, our struggles, our identity. We will look at each other and know what it means to be together. It's not that the Union doesn't deserve a prize, it's just that it got the wrong one.

For all the trouble it has seen in the recent past and all the legends it has created, the European Union deserves the 2012 Nobel Prize in Literature.