Questioning EU as the Winner of 2012 Nobel Peace Prize

Winning a Nobel Prize is somewhat amazing. But, not every single people deserve to be bestowed; it only deserves for those who has really done and achieved something great hence contributing in developing world.

But 2012 Nobel Peace Prize is indeed different. It was awarded to European Union. When it was announced, it seems like something strange was happening: why should the EU who received the award?

Usually, the award is bestowed to people who gives their best effort in contribute in shaping a peaceful world. Su Kyi was the one example who shows the whole world how her tirelessness effort to make a democratic Myanmar. Thus, she really deserved to get the award. How about the EU?

Based upon the justification made when the award was announced, there are several reasons used to justify the decision. First of all, in the past six decades, EU has been contributing in making a peaceful world by preventing further conflicts within its territory. Second, in regard of building a democratic society, EU has been considered significantly contributing either by the fall of the Berlin wall or when Eastern European countries were received to join the Union.

It is true that within its own territory, EU has contributed significantly to improve the condition hence EU can be used as a hallmark of a peaceful society. But, how about the condition right now when EU has to face its internal turmoil within its own territory?

Greece, Spain, Italy are three countries who are facing economic downturn nowadays. Countries which have good prospect in economic condition may say that they are now living peacefully. But, how is the condition for people living in Greece and Spain?

It is less than one week when German Chancellor visited Greece. As can be easily predicted, her visit to Greece sparked protests among the citizens.

German has been long accused for giving a bad recipe to Greece in regard of economic crisis. Austerity package, which should be bore by the Greece citizens, is considered as too heavy. They then blame German as the source of such nightmare since it is German who does seem lead the Europe right now and then chooses the right path that should be taken by Greece –and any other EU members- in order to get a bailout from the European financial system in economic crisis.

In Spain, Catalonia demands for independence from Spain. With Spain that is still facing economic down turn nowadays, such demand is also getting stronger and attracts more sympathizers. In this case, Spain is now facing two mode of instability: economic and politic. In regard of these two examples, is it true that the Peace Prize should be made uncontested?

Objection towards this explanation may arise. First of all, in regard of Greece, the objection is about dissimilarity about the sphere. Greece crisis is about economic down turn and not having any business with Peace Prize. Second objection can be raised in regard of time. The objector may say that it is about timing which does not suit perfectly because of economic crisis faced by EU.

But, in order to make stability and peace, people should consider economic, aside from political perspective. A country cannot build a peaceful society without having any good policies about economic. Should a government let its citizens go to sleep with starvation? If it is the case, it is the turmoil that will arise and not the peaceful one. People are going to conduct demonstration since they regard the government has failed to protect their basic rights, namely providing them with sufficient means to be able to live properly.

In EU case, it may be said that it is the failure of Greece government in managing its financial system. But, does the rest of EU members give their solidarity upon Greece and help it to get out from the crisis? What does seem from the Greek people is actually the opposite: the condition is getting worse for them.

Furthermore, in regard of timing, should the award be taken back once Greece decides to leave Europe or Catalonia takes its independence? Nobel Peace Prize committee should learn that there is no certainty about what will be happening next days. Once EU fails to strengthen its bind among its members and eventually shows that the members leave it because they do no longer feel any comfort within the organizations, Nobel Peace Prize committee should feel sorry in regard of the case.

Giving an award to EU is indeed controversial but once announced, it cannot be taken back. But in the future, Nobel Peace Prize committee should consider more carefully regarding those who really deserves to be bestowed by the prize. If it still makes the same mistakes, Nobel Peace Prize can be considered as merely a joke. 

When Education Lacks of Civic Goodness

The role of education is actually to develop people’s personality and thus enabling them to also in developing their nation. It is on their shoulder that the future if a nation is placed on.

But, talking about developing a good nation, people should know about what is good to society in a country itself. And I would declare that the concept about this goodness is civic goodness since it has something to do with how to be a good citizen and in what circumstance that will best support the society living within. The question is: has this civic goodness been rooted when educating Indonesians?

It is not that far to observe how well the goodness is rooted in educating Indonesians. In my campus, using a private vehicle rather than public transportation is a common thing for student. It is not a strange view then to see how the parking lots are overwhelmed by private vehicle and even using roadside to park the vehicles, if the parking lots have been very crowded. This is the first case.

The second case can be seen in buildings in my campus. There are four building at the center of the campus with close similarities, if cannot be said as twins. What is interesting about the buildings are they have private names from the alumni who contribute about 25 billion rupiah for each building. Thus, the four buildings are now having the name of them rather than laboratory of technology as formerly known.

Furthermore, the issue about civic goodness can also be observed elsewhere and not just constrained in my campus. From the news reported on television, it can be clearly seen when students are prone to get involve in a brawling activity against either other students from different schools or people within their school. Thus, what is the truly objections of such cases?

The most important thing to note here is civic goodness is not well implemented in education daily life. Take the first example when students are more likely to use private vehicle. The objection of the case is about disparity.

Using private vehicle in campus is not a good choice, at least from my point of view. Such case will only generate disparity and build a boundary between the rich and the poor. The rich one can afford glamorous lifestyle when the poor cannot. The condition will undoubtedly give the negative effect in building relationship since it will be very hard to them to come together because of financial background.   

Should society live in a disparity circumstance where the rich and the poor are separated? It is true that there are spheres in which private interest should be preserved but education is about public sphere and it should not be contaminated by such disparity.

The problem about civic goodness also happens in regard of inequality and it can be clearly seen in the second case. In Michael Sandel’s book, What Money Can’t Buy, the second case is about the naming rights. What is the true objection of the case?

First of all has been clearly stated: inequality. It means that the name of the building can only be granted to those who can pay appropriate payment for the campus. Even though there are alumni who have actively contributed to educate student or have achieved something in their specialized program, their name will not be pictured as long as they cannot pay the price. This is truly an unequal condition since those who can picture their name in the building are only those who are abundance in money.

The second objection has something to do with corruption. Is naming rights a proper scheme to be implemented in education sphere? Should education sphere tell people that you should pay more to be commemorated? Thus, what is the essence of education then? I will only collect as much money as I can and I will pay campuses and my name will be pictured, no matter what I have done when collecting the money.

Education has actually something greater than such action. Its duty often has business with honesty, equality, and achievements throughout hard work and not money. Naming rights will only corrupt the essence of education and thus contributing to develop an unequal condition. In this sense, education has been devalued.

The last civic goodness that does not appear, at least in my observation, in education sphere is about to respect other. The presence of sectarianism is absolutely strong in Indonesia and it is not weird to see how clashes often happen just because each of group cannot resist their ego. And such nasty condition can be produced because tolerance and respect to others have not been successfully rooted in early ages. Hence the result is the pride of having sectarian identity and regards other as enemy.

Civic goodness is actually important in people daily lives. It will provide a building block for a society in order to shape them to involve in creating a good society. But, how can be the goal achieved if it has not been well rooted?

The best time to root civic goodness is undoubtedly when people are having their education. In the light of civic goodness implemented, it is hoped that people will realize that such goodness is important in society and they will become more aware with the goodness when they grow up and become more active in their society. Thus, in the future, I hope that those who are responsible in education policy can be more aware in regard of the issue and can make policies that support the process of building civic goodness in education sphere.