A place for reflection and introspection, communication and thoughtful conversation.
Friday, 9 October 2009
THE NOBEL PEACE PRIZE
“Peace cannot be achieved through violence, it can only be attained through understanding.” - Ralph Waldo Emerson
The award of the Nobel Prize for Peace to US president Barack Obama has given rise to controversy throughout the world. The Nobel Committee as a justification for its choices, cited “his extraordinary efforts to strengthen international diplomacy and cooperation between peoples”. However, even his staunchest supporters know that none of these dreams have yet come true. A prize for a dream and for a politician’s visionary and nebulous promises may be seen by many as hasty and ill-advised.
On the one hand it is reassuring to see the Nobel Committee choosing to reward an idea, an intention, a pipe dream, if you like. On the other one wonders if this is a much more canny decision. Is this award a means of keeping a politician honest and a good way to ensure that he delivers on his promises? There has been an enormous responsibility placed on the US president now to make his dreams a reality. If he does not deliver, then the outcry will be worldwide and the clamour much louder than that of the controversy surrounding his award.
Many opponents of the Nobel Committee’s choice are the usual war-mongering, pro-war fraternity who wish to see a US president reign by inciting fear and waging war as a means of preserving peace. They wish their president to be powerful and feared, rather than be seen as weak and pro-peace. They see the award of the prize to Obama as an affirmation of his socialist leanings and weakness in matters of international policy.
This view is diametrically opposed by another group of dissenters, who agree only on one point with the former group, and that is they concur with the error of the prize award to Obama. These latter objectors remark that “actions speak louder than words”. The prize should be better given to a peacemaker of action, someone who has worked actively and with the proven results of making the world a better place to live in. Who, for example, would object to the 1999 Nobel Peace Prize winners, the group Médecins sans Frontières (Doctors without Borders)? Was a Nobel Peace Prize better awarded than to this group of doctors who travel the world in order to help bring medical care to sick people irrespective of race, creed or political convictions?
I have mixed feelings about this year’s choice for the Nobel Peace Prize. I would rather have had a similar group like the Doctors without Borders be awarded. On the other hand, I sincerely hope that the US president will now feel the weight of responsibility heavy on his shoulders and realise his grandiloquent promises. I can only hope that the number the Nobel Committee has put its chips on to win, will do so – much is riding on it…
For Music Saturday, an apt choice perhaps, Gustav Holst’s “Venus – The Bringer of Peace” from his “Planets” suite, played by the Berlin Philharmonic and conducted by Sir Colin Davis.
I have been blogging daily on this platform for several years now. It is surprising that I have persisted as the world is changing and "microblogging" is now the norm. I blog to amuse myself, make comment on current affairs, externalise some of my creativity, keep notes on things that interest me, learn something new and to surprise myself with things that I discover about this wonderful, and sometimes crazy, world we live in.
I sometimes get the impression that I am on a soapbox delivering a monologue, so your comments are welcome.