Does Obama fit the Nobel mould, asks exhibit?

December 9, 2009
Obama dolls

Obama dolls

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.

5 comments

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[...] president understands and again will also recognize that he doesn’t belong in the same discussion as Mandela and Mother Teresa,” White House spokesman Robert Gibbs said while discussing the [...]

What would Alfred Nobel think?

I think the question is more “What was the Nobel Committee thinking?”.

The fact that they gave the award to Obama for nothing was bad enough. The fact that they now have to scramble for trivial matters and put them on a podium to justify their actions is even worse.

If merely saying “peace is good” or “we need less nuclear weapons” is grounds for a peace prize, then most people on the planet deserve it. The only real issue here is that most people were not Obama.

The Committee has openly admitted that the prize was given to Obama to help him create peace, and due to his high popularity in Europe and America.

Yet the same Committee then wonders why anyone who valued the peace prize slapped their foreheads in disbelief when the prize was given for deeds not yet done. Is it because they feel that because Obama is so popular, people should welcome the giving of a prize without cause? How little they must think of people.

The Committee were fools for giving the award to Obama.

And because Obama decided that it was better to receive a farce peace award rather then offend the sensibilities of Europe’s youth, he becomes a bigger fool for accepting the award.

When an award is given for mere rhetoric, the award is empty. And people might just start wondering whether Obama is anything but empty rhetoric. And perhaps wonder why the Nobel Committee values empty rhetoric so highly?

Posted by defcon86 | Report as abusive

The Committee have a strong tradition of giving the prize to figureheads who inspire, rather than people who actually achieve. The BBC’s morning news, for example, compared President Obama unfavourably to Mother Theresa and Aung San Suu Kyi. But while one might admire Mother Theresa, she achieved very little in terms of reducing poverty or disease. While one might be moved to sympathy for Aung San Suu Kyi, what has she achieved beyond providing fodder for various ineffectual activist organisations?

The trick is to remember that this prize is merely “pour encourager les autres.”

Posted by IanKemmish | Report as abusive

So then, in your view the award of a Nobel prize is down to a form of trickery. defcon, I,m onside.

Posted by Libra | Report as abusive

Ok so Obama won the Nobel, well that’s very Nobel of him. Look I don’t think we could expect Him to go around in Norway like he’s on show at a carnival, He is the President after all, but hey not respecting an invite from a King that is serious… I found this informative though…
http://ketiva.com/Politics_and_Governmen t/obama_accepts_the_nobel_prize_and_spoi ls_the_peace_with_norway.html

Posted by tom147 | Report as abusive

A “pre-emptive” Peace Prize sounds like Bush Doctrine, no?

Posted by DaveBurke | Report as abusive