Had Alfred Noble been alive today, he would indeed be a very sad man. The wise men who decide the winner of the peace prize named in his memory have done a great disservice to him by honouring Barack Obama. Strange as it may sound they have also done great injustice to Mr. Obama by bestowing upon him a prize that he does not truly deserve, certainly not as yet.
Like most people across the world, I have the greatest respect for the Nobles. They are the highest recognition for excellence, for real achievement untainted by parochial considerations of nationality, race, gender and politics. The Noble Peace Prize, is meant to promote peace amongst nations, communities and people and recognises efforts by individuals and organisations in that direction. Barack Obama without doubt is a great man. However, his achievements however lofty they may be today, still do not qualify him for the award of the Noble Peace Prize.
Mr. Obama is the president of the world’s most powerful nation. He is the supreme commander of the mightiest army on Earth, with a nuclear arsenal that can destroy the world several times over. He has also inherited an army, which is largely seen as an occupying force in Iraq and is in active combat in Afghanistan.
Mr. Obama has been in office less than a year. He is yet to resolve an international conflict, stop the proliferation of nuclear weapons in Iran and North Korea, ensure justice to the Palestinians, the Kurds and the Chechans. He is yet to engage with the world as a champion of peace, a harbinger of a different, more equitable world order. To be fair to him, what with the domestic economic turmoil and the healthcare reforms that he has been championing, he has had very little time to make a significant contribution to world peace. He is busy setting his own house in order, the world can wait for a while. One can hardly fault him for his priorities.
Mr. Obama has however spoken of peaceful co-existance amongst nations, about reducing and withdrawing American troops from the world’s trouble spots and of encouraging nations to resolve their differences amicably. He has talked about stopping human rights abuse and has ordered the shutting down of the Guantanamo Bay detention facility holding alleged Al Qaida terrorists without a fair trial.
I submit that Mr. Obama does not be deserve the Noble Peace Prize, for declaring his intent of promoting peace in the world. He has to do a lot more to reduce conflict in the world, promote harmony and peace amongst nations and peoples, before he can rightfully claim the prize.
Ironically, had the Noble committee waited a few years, Mr. Obama might have earned the prize on merit and he would have been saved the acute embarrassment of being the recipient of this great honour, which he knows he does not truly deserve.