SUDAN WATCH: How did Obama win the peace prize?

Saturday, October 10, 2009

How did Obama win the peace prize?

Warmest congratulations to US President Barack Obama on being awarded a Nobel Peace Peace Prize.  Here's hoping that Save and other Sudan activists will feel greatly inspired by the award and all pull together to work for peace in Sudan and the rest of the world.  

My heroes the late great Mahatma Gandhi, Martin Luther King and John Lennon were all murdered but only King received a Nobel Peace Prize.  I would love President Obama to share his peace prize money equally between the estates of Gandhi and Lennon and ask the world to pull together to stage a global concert calling for world peace and safe drinking water for all.

Taking a break. Back soon. Love and peace.  Here are some must-reads:

The poor are not the problem but the solution

What's Missing in the Darfur Sudan Debate: Addressing Property Rights Could Help Bring Peace

Water Is The New Gold

[P.S. This posting has been updated with a link to show that Martin Luther King was the recipient of The Nobel Peace Prize 1964. At the age of thirty-five, he was the youngest man to have received the Nobel Peace Prize. When notified of his selection, he announced that he would turn over the prize money of $54,123 to the furtherance of the civil rights movement.]
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New UNAMID Force Commander, General Patrick Nyambumba 


Photo: US Special Envoy to Sudan Gration meets with UNAMID's Deputy Joint Special Representative (Center) and new UNAMID Force Commander, General Patrick Nyambumba (Right)  September 2009 UNAMID HQ

Here is a snippet from a Snowmail (Channel 4 News UK) authored by Krishnan on Friday, 9 October 2009:

It is one of those things that has everyone scratching their heads. Obama has just said he is surprised and deeply humbled. His supporters look a little embarrassed. His detractors are foaming at the mouth. Whatever way you look at it giving the Nobel Peace Prize to Barack Obama seems a tad premature. Is it an award for beating George Bush? An award for being black? The Nobel committee say he has given hope to the world and made great moves on nuclear disarmament. And there is no doubt Obama has changed the game in many ways. But substantive achievements are thin on the ground. He's likely to send more troops to Afghanistan, while his forces kill Afghan civilians by mistake month in month out. Even liberal America thinks it is strange - we'll be talking to Joe Klein of Time magazine and the head of Oslo's International Peace Institute.

Barack Obama wins Nobel Peace Prize:
How did Obama win the peace prize?:
Nobel Peace Prize

How did Obama win the peace prize?
09 October 2009
By Channel 4 News
Barack Obama was "humbled" - and others taken aback - by the award to the US president of the 2009 Nobel Peace Prize. So how is the winner chosen?

According to the will of Alfred Nobel, the prize should be given to "the person who shall 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".

The Norwegian Nobel committee said they had chosen Obama "for his extraordinary efforts to strengthen international diplomacy and co-operation between peoples".

But much of the selection process takes place in secret.

The Norwegian Nobel committee writes to various people around the world each year asking them to submit their nominations.

The names of the nominees are only revealed 50 years later, but the prize committee announces the number of nominees each year and Obama was one of 205 people put forward in 2009.

Past winners have included Al Gore, Jimmy Carter, Kofi Annan, John Hume, David Trimble, Nelson Mandela, FW de Klerk, Mikhail Gorbachev, Henry Kissinger, and Aung San Suu Kyi.

Mahatma Gandhi was nominated in 1937, 1938, 1939, 1947 and 1948. He was assassinated in January 1948 and the rules of the prize state that it cannot be awarded posthumously unless the winner's name has already been announced before their death.

But the prize was not awarded that year because the committee decided "there was no suitable living candidate".

Joseph Stalin was nominated for the peace prize in 1945 and 1948 for his efforts to end the second world war but he was not chosen as the winner.

Adolf Hitler was nominated in 1939 by EGC Brandt, a member of parliament in Sweden, but Brandt later withdrew the nomination.

Winston Churchill was nominated for the peace prize but never won. He did win the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1953.
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From BBC Friday, 9 October 2009 - Nobel prize win 'humbles' Obama

By Paul Reynolds
BBC News, London
The award is certainly unexpected and might be regarded as more of an encouragement for intentions than a reward for achievements.

After all, the president has been in office for a little over eight months and he might hope to serve eight years. His ambition for a world free of nuclear weapons is one that is easier to declare than to achieve and a climate control agreement has yet to be reached.

Indeed, the citation indicates that it is President Obama's world view that attracted the Nobel committee - that diplomacy should be founded "on the basis of values and attitudes that are shared by the majority of the world's population".
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By Mark Mardell
BBC North America editor
There was already a huge weight of responsibility on Obama's shoulders, and this medal hung round his neck has just made it a little heavier.
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Barack Obama says he is "humbled and deeply surprised" to win the Nobel Peace Prize just 10 months into his presidency.
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From Gulf Times, Saturday, 10 October 2009L
Nobel for Obama seen as premature honour
By Sarmad Qazi and Ramesh Mathew

Qatar residents yesterday expressed their surprise at the news of US President Barack Obama winning the 2009 Nobel Peace Prize, attributing his selection “more to his intentions rather than achievements.”

A majority of those surveyed by Gulf Times said that while the first-ever African-American president of the United States may be strongly committed to bridging differences in the world, it was too early to confer the prestigious award on him.

The Nobel Committee said Obama won the prize for “his extraordinary efforts to strengthen international diplomacy and co-operation between peoples” while highlighting his efforts to support international bodies and promote nuclear disarmament.
Following are the comments of some of the respondents.

Garry Friend (Australia)
I was surprised to hear that President Obama won the award. Somebody of his stature winning the Nobel Peace Prize in such a short time… it’s a good cause.
I must point out that a lot of his “efforts” appears to be talk, but it’s good that somebody in his position can in future have some input in really making a difference to this region in particular and all over the world.
The award to him is also a good thing if it pushes him to achieve global harmony.

Ibrahim Saleh al-Naimi (Qatari)
I wish him the best of luck. I am not qualified to judge him but if he has won it I think it was to support his good efforts.
He has not done anything concrete yet in the Middle East, although we all appreciated his landmark speech in Cairo.
The Nobel Peace Prize is too early for Obama and I hope this gives him a real incentive to push for peace. People are fed up with wars and there lies a real opportunity for Obama in the White House.

Abbas Moussa (Lebanon)
I think it is a compliment to Obama because he has got such a coveted prize in such a short period, but the selection has opened doubts that Nobel Prizes are politicised.
It would have been better for the Nobel committee to have waited for a couple of years and then see if he really deserved it. But coming this early, the award might tend to lose its prestige.
We know Obama is trying, especially to bring peace to the Middle East but there’s nothing on the ground. Some of the other world leaders have actually done so much more for global peace. Without exaggeration, take the example of HH the Emir Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa al-Thani’s contributions in Lebanon, in Sudan, in relief efforts for Katrina victims and in quake-hit Kashmir.

Ashraf Siddiqui (Pakistan)
The deadline for nomination of the Nobel Peace Prize was February 1 when President Obama had been in office for only two weeks. According to the Nobel Committee, Obama’s outreach to the Muslim world and attempts to curb nuclear proliferation became the basis of his selection. It is a great surprise for me and I’m sure for most others as well.
I would say Pakistani President Asif Ali Zardari has played a much bigger role in the fight against terrorism by providing unconditional support, amidst strong opposition from the people of his own country. I, therefore, hope the Nobel Committee reconsiders its decision or President Obama comes up with a suggestion to share the award with President Zardari for supporting him.

Anthony Tallant (UK)
I am really surprised at the news. How could a person sending armies to volatile territories one after another be chosen for the award? Be it in Afghanistan or in Pakistan, results are still a far cry.

Lennie Crammer (Sri Lanka)
It is too early to comment on Obama’s performance and the situation in most war-hit countries like Iraq, Afghanistan and Pakistan has not changed much after Obama assumed office. Even while appreciating the efforts that the US president has been making for long-lasting peace in such countries, I very much feel it was too early to confer on him a top honour as the Nobel Peace Prize.

Ali Mostafa (Indonesia)
How could a president’s performance be evaluated in such a short a period as nine months? Being an Indonesian I should have been proud of this achievement as the US president had done his elementary schooling in Menteng on the outskirts of Jakarta. However, I feel it was too early to honour Obama with the Nobel Peace Prize without understanding his real achievements. Like many others, I’m also a little bit surprised at the Nobel committee’s choice.

Simon D’Silva (India)
It is too premature to talk about Obama’s achievements in just about nine months that he has been in office. Needless to say, the Nobel honour to him at this juncture has surprised me. Before the committee reached such a decision, they should have waited a little more and evaluated the results of his peace missions to such countries as Afghanistan, Pakistan and Iraq. He still has major challenges to overcome as Al Qaeda and many other such elements are active. For achieving real global peace, the US president has miles to go.

Habib (Afghanistan)
When I first heard that Obama won the prestigious award, I thought that it was a joke and it took me a few minutes to realise it was true.
Most of my compatriots also could not comprehend this choice of Obama for the prize because he has hardly completed one year in the White House. All we got from Obama were promises and nothing else and he should be the winner of “promises award” and not peace.
The Middle East peace process is at a standstill, thanks to his failure to pressurise Israel to stop building settlements. We heard in the media about his intentions to increase the number of US troops in Afghanistan and this is not the behaviour of a peacemaker.
My only explanation is that the Nobel Prize committee had no real candidates to choose from. It was better if they announced that there was no winner for this year, instead of denigrating themselves by selecting Obama.

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Anonymous Sam Kaufman said...

it would be silly to criticize Obama for getting the Nobel Peace Prize... they can give it to whomever they like, and besides it's nice to have a president who is admired and respected internationally

Sunday, October 11, 2009  
Anonymous Toronto realtor said...

I have to agree with Sam - it's not Obama's fault, he was chosen, but he is the only one, who is seen now, because the committee is somehow anonymous to most of the world and if people disagree with its decision, they will turn their anger towards the winner of such a prize. I think, this vote really didn't serve its purpose at all, because there are more people now, who are annoyed with Obama being chosen, and also the committee a little bit discredited the prize itself, because objectively taken, there are no visible accomplishments, he achieved so far, so the award doesn't seem to meet its value. Julie

Monday, October 12, 2009  

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