Saturday, October 10, 2009

Obama and Nobel

Obama and Nobel

Almost no one outside the Committee itself was linking the two names before Friday morning.

Universal surprise best expresses the world’s reaction to the news that the Nobel Peace Prize was awarded to President Barak Obama, eight months into his first term as president of the United States of America.

I am weary already of mean spirited people poking at Barak Obama, but…. As much as I applaud the good intentions and some values of this president, I too believe that the prize was not deserved, just yet. The truth is the award this time appears to have been bestowed as an encouragement for intentions rather than as a reward for achievement. This distinction according to Alfred Nobel himself should be conferred on "the person who shall have done the most or the best work for fraternity between nations, for the abolition or reduction of standing armies and for the holding and promotion of peace congresses." And get this. The deadline for nominations for the prize was February 1st 2009 and Obama had just been inaugurated two weeks earlier. What presumptive group of strategists thought this nomination would be more than a joke when it nominated him so long ago. Obama was compelled to produce something resembling an international peace initiative. So he has reached out to adversaries, particularly Iran and with mixed results. He also delivered a commendable speech in Cairo in which he called for "a new beginning between the United States and Muslims around the world." Further, he has called for a world without nuclear weapons. But all this is mere ambition and hope and aspiration yet the Nobel awards Committee maintains that Obama’s contribution this year is more worthy of its honour than 204 other nominations for this year's peace prize. Zimbabwean Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai and Chinese dissident Hu Jia were among the favourites. In fact the Nobel Committee’s choice of Obama was for "his extraordinary efforts to strengthen international diplomacy and co-operation between peoples." It also stated, "Only very rarely has a person to the same extent as Obama captured the world's attention and given its people hope for a better future." Further, "His diplomacy is founded in the concept that those who are to lead the world must do so on the basis of values and attitudes that are shared by the majority of the world's population." Nobel Committee head Thorbjoern Jagland said: "It was because we would like to support what he is trying to achieve."

Obama in his statement sees the prize to him for what it is by saying the he would accept the prize as a "call to action".

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