Blog post

"The Nobel War Prize"

Clara Heyworth12 December 2010

Following the awarding of the Nobel Peace Prize to Liu Xiaobo, Tariq Ali has written a piece for the London Review of Books Blog in which he reminds us of the hypocrisy of what he call's "The Nobel War Prize" and points to Liu Xiaobo's own neo-conservative leanings ...

For the record, Liu Xiaobo has stated publicly that in his view:

(a) China's tragedy is that it wasn't colonised for at least 300 years by a Western power or Japan. This would apparently have civilised it for ever;

(b) The Korean and Vietnam wars fought by the US were wars against totalitarianism and enhanced Washington's ‘moral credibility';

(c) Bush was right to go to war in Iraq and Senator Kerry's criticisms were ‘slander-mongering';

(d) Afghanistan? No surprises here: Full support for Nato's war.

He has a right to these opinions, but should they get a peace prize?

Visit the London Review of Books Blog to read the article in full.

As many readers are already aware, Liu Xiaobo is included in The Verso Book of Dissent and Ali, as others have done on this website, highlights the difficulties of compiling such a book. It should be noted that The Verso Book of Dissent is very much an anthology of dissent through the ages and across cultures—were Verso to have left out all figures whose politics did not match ours to a tee, the book would serve a very different purpose. Indeed, it was to the book's "spirit of inclusion" that Nicholas Lezard pointed in his Guardian review:

I suppose it is a measure of the book's spirit of inclusion that we have a quotation from Valerie Solanas's "Scum Manifesto", the only entry in the book I've found that really shouldn't be there, unless as an object lesson in how not to write a manifesto or as an indication of how bonkers people were in those days.

I suppose it also helps to prevent the book from being too pleased with itself. This has been published to mark Verso's 40th anniversary—happy birthday to Verso—and this is a very good way of celebrating it. This isn't history as triumphal march: it's (largely) a history of all the people who have tried to impede the progress of injustice.