Last week United States President Barack Obama was honored with the Nobel Peace Prize, a prize having been given to a variety of familiar faces and names, the Dalai Lama, Martin Luther King Jr., and Mother Teresa amongst previous winners. According the will of Alfred Nobel, industrialist and creator of the award, the Peace Prize should be awarded to the person who “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”. With this recent award and announcement, people all over the world have become somewhat outraged that Obama’s premature presidency could garner such an honor. News sources, blogs, and social networking outlets such as Facebook and Twitter have become the playing field for the tug of war battle that tries to answer this question: Did Barack Obama really deserve the Nobel Peace Prize?
Recently, in defense of their decision, 4 of the 5 Nobel Prize judges spoke out on a decision that was both unanimous and based on merit. Stating that Obama received the award based on the work he’s already done. Most notably the committee singled out Obama’s efforts to bridge the gap between the West and the Muslims throughout the world. Taking the initiative in the drafting of a reconciliation project to promote understanding between these groups, while simultaneously pushing for coexistence and peace, are just one of the many reasons this group placed in Obama’s hands one of the most important awards in the world.
Jagland singled out Obama’s efforts to heal the divide between the West and the Muslim world and scale down a Bush-era proposal for an anti-missile shield in Europe. “All these things have contributed to — I wouldn’t say a safer world — but a world with less tension,” he said.
Obama has changed the tone America uses to speak to the world generally and the Muslim world specifically. His speech in Cairo, his first-week interview on al-Arabiya, and the extraordinarily conciliatory holiday video he sent to Iran are all substantial illustrations of that. His willingness to sit down and negotiate with Iran — rather than threaten and berate them — has already produced tangible results.
The Nobel Prize committee was only the tip of the iceberg of opinions that spanned the world. With the right wing bloggers and media outlets agreeing the award comes undeserved and suggesting that Obama should have politely turned it down, one writer even citing: “Just because the Nobel Committee wants to make fools of themselves, Obama should not have to play along. He should turn it down.” Even celebrities have been chiming into the madness. In a meeting with Anna Wintour M.I.A. tweeted her strong felt opinion on the matter, recalling the prize shouldn’t be given for future endeavors, while Wintour felt the award was a vote of confidence in the President.
“She said it was given to him as a vote of confidence!” M.I.A. tweeted. She added, “but the people are the vote of confidence ! they gave him that! you cant win a oscar for a film your gonna make in the future.”
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