The Nobel Peace Prize has officially jumped the shark this morning as news comes out that it has been awarded to President Barack Obama. For what, I have no idea. I’ll venture to guess that even some Democrats are left scratching their heads as to what seminal accomplishment this man has yet made to recommend him for such a distinction. Part of the citation from the Nobel Committee is as follows:

“Obama has as President created a new climate in international politics. Multilateral diplomacy has regained a central position, with emphasis on the role that the United Nations and other international institutions can play. Dialogue and negotiations are preferred as instruments for resolving even the most difficult international conflicts. The vision of a world free from nuclear arms has powerfully stimulated disarmament and arms control negotiations. Thanks to Obama's initiative, the USA is now playing a more constructive role in meeting the great climatic challenges the world is confronting. Democracy and human rights are to be strengthened.”

You’ll note that the award seems to have been given despite the fact that none of the items cited have borne fruit. The fact that Obama was awarded the Peace Prize is even more shameful when viewed in light of the other contenders. Zimbabwe’s Prime Minister, Morgan Tsvangirai, whose opposition movement to President Robert Mugabe’s regime was brutally suppressed and who himself was arrested and beaten on his way to a prayer rally. His vocal and courageous opposition led to the creation of a coalition government under Mugabe, the first significant challenge to his autocratic hold on power since he assumed control in 1987. Dr. Sima Samar, another leading contender, fled Afghanistan with her son after the Communist regime arrested her husband in 1984. She began an organization to provide medical care for Afghan refugees while living in exile for almost a decade, returning to Afghanistan in 2002 to assume a cabinet post in the interim government. She eventually became Minister for Women’s Affairs, until being forced to resign following death threats from Islamic extremists for her challenges to Sharia. She has since fought tirelessly for human rights, in particular women’s rights, in Afghanistan.

And yet the award went to a president who is nine months into his first term with nothing to show for it. It is absolutely outrageous and shameful, and most of all it is insulting to the other potential laureates who suffered imprisonment, torture, and threats of death for years struggling to bring real change and basic human rights to their respective nations. It is a transparent political gesture that, I believe, will seriously backfire on President Obama as the public has the time to digest its implications. Seeing him accept such as award (just days after Saturday Night Live lampooned him for his indecision and lack of accomplishment) will be sure to elicit at least some measure of confusion not only from Americans but the world at large.
Shame on the Nobel Peace Prize Committee.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

The award came in nine months after election, but when did the selection happen? Therein is the larger laugh.