The Norwegian Nobel Committee’s decision to award Barack Obama with the Nobel Peace Prize was met with mixed feelings. The Taliban, reports the BBC, weren’t too impressed:
“We have seen no change in his strategy for peace. He has done nothing for peace in Afghanistan. He has not taken a single step for peace in Afghanistan or to make this country stable.”
BBC’s recognition of the Taliban’s opinion allows readers to realise that this militant group’s views are aligned with the likes of Mrs Maguire – the Nobel Peace Prize winner of 1976. Maguire, a peace campaigner, commented that, “President Obama has yet to prove that he will move seriously on the Middle East, that he will end the war in Afghanistan and many other issues.”
Obama, too, was surprised when woken up on Friday morning and was informed about his win. In true diplomatic fashion, he said he doesn’t deserve the award “in company of so many of the transformative figures who’ve been honoured by this prize”. It’s appropriate that Obama’s surprise is reported – it’s hardly his fault he won, he doesn’t deserve to be demonised about it.
And so the question stands; why did he get the Nobel Peace Prize? The Noble Committee’s ‘Announcement’ waxed lyrical about Obama’s policies, saying, “Multilateral diplomacy has regained a central position” and “thanks to Obama's initiative, the USA is now playing a more constructive role in meeting the great climatic challenges the world is confronting”. The committee is obliged to defend their decision, but unfortunately, we’re not informed as to why other candidates, such as Morgan Tsvangirai, didn’t make the grade. It reeks of political suck up.
Alfred Nobel, the initiator of the Nobel Peace Prize Awards, was ironically the inventor of dynamite. So perhaps a bittersweet reception is in the nature of the prize.