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Premature awardulation

by admin October 13, 2009

Barack Obama seemed slightly embarrassed when he accepted his Nobel Peace Prize last Friday.
He said he was surprised, and humbled, “I do not view it as a recognition of my own accomplishments, but rather as an affirmation of American leadership on behalf of aspirations held by people in all nations.” he said, “To be honest, I do not feel that I deserve to be in the company of so many of the transformative figures who have been honoured by this prize, men and women who have inspired me and inspired the entire world through their courageous pursuit of peace.”
Every year, the Nobel Peace Prize is given “to the person who shall have done the most or the best work for fraternity between the nations and the abolition or reduction of standing armies and the formation and spreading of peace congresses.” It’s the Super Bowl of awards; to be selected to join this elite circle is an enormous accolade.
Obama’s bewilderment at receiving this illustrious award has been echoed by many people around the world. It feels like the unanimous five-member Norwegian prize committee got swept up into Obamamania, the momentous fervour that swept across the world as America’s first African-American president was elected.
Obama has been lauded based on promises, not achievements. Imagine being given the best student award not at graduation, but at the beginning of the year because you made the most incredible promises to buckle down and get outstanding grades. This Nobel prize seems more like a scholarship &- given to someone who has shown promise &- in order to enable them to accomplish more.
As president, Obama has made overtures of openness to the Arab and Muslim world, is in favour of nuclear disarmament, has vowed shut down Guantanomo Bay, and supports efforts to confront climate change. But any tangible evidence of his work has yet to be emerge.
One more thing to consider, the deadline for nominations was Feb. 1, 2009, only a month into Obama’s presidency. He still has three, hopefully eight, years to make peace on earth. I’m not saying that Obama has not brought tremendous change to the United States, and to the world. But there’s still so much more for him to do, so many promises have yet to become reality.
There were three other people officially in the running for the 2009 Peace Prize, Piedad Cordoba, Dr. Denis Mukwege, and Dr. Simi Samar.
Cordoba is a Colombian lawyer and politician who backs anti-discrimination legislation. Being of African descent herself, she represents minority interests in congress. She has worked as a government mediator between the Colombian Government and the FARC, a leftist rebel group, though her supposed ties to the guerrilla group and Venezuelan president Hugo Chavez reportedly tainted her candidature for the Nobel.
Mukwege is a gynaecologist in the Congo who first wanted to help rural women through the pain and danger of childbirth. His work and expertise has grown to encompass aiding women battered by domestic violence, especially the effects of gang-rape, which is unfortunately common in war-torn Congo.
Samar is a doctor and women’s rights activist in her native Afghanistan who has held positions in Hamid Karzai’s interim government. The current head of the Afghanistan Independent Human Rights Commission, she has ignited controversy by challenging commonly-held beliefs that Muslim and Afghan women should be veiled and kept out of public life.
All four of these candidates were born six years apart of one another and began their work in the 1980s, but I had not heard of any of them except Obama. Obama emerged into public consciousness a mere five years ago, and he’s already an international superstar – the Oprah of the world. He’s got enough attention. The Nobel committee should have used their prize to shine light on a lesser known person with more impressive credentials, rather than one of the most well-known people on the planet.