Does Obama fit the Nobel mould, asks exhibit?
Some say U.S. President Barack Obama’s Nobel Peace prize was at best premature, others say it should go to his speech writers and a number believe it’s groundless?
But what would Alfred Nobel think? That’s the question the Nobel Peace Centre in Oslo seeks to answer in an exhibition due to open to the public on Saturday.
“The relation between Nobel’s testament and Barack Obama’s visions and actions has become a global debate and the theme for this exhibition,” the centre’s director Bente Erichsen told Reuters a day before Obama picks up his Nobel in Oslo.
The exhibit itself resembles a library, where Obama’s speeches and deeds are documented side-by-side the words and will of the Swedish dynamite inventor. It includes a number of pictures revealing “the person who is Barack Obama”.
So how does Obama fit the mould, according to the museum?
Nobel’s 1895 will (http://nobelpeaceprize.org/en_GB/alfred-nobel/testament/) says the peace prize should go “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 ongresses.”
Updated for a century of furious political and military changes, Erichsen says Nobel’s fraternity between nations means a push for dialogue, diplomacy and Obama’s “reaching out an open hand, for example to the Muslim countries.”
Nuclear disarmament has become the present-day equivalent to abolition or reduction of standing armies, while long-ceased peace congresses now translate into multi-literalism and strengthening of international organisations such as the United Nations.
“So when we ask who has done more or better work for peace last year than Barack Obama, the room usually falls silent,” said Erichsen.
Those who disagree also have a place in the exhibit – a growing collage of newspaper clippings showing the eactions to the Nobel decision, shock and dismay included.