Friday, October 09, 2009

Peace In Our Time?

So I woke up to hear that Barack Obama has won the Nobel Peace Prize for 2012. Then I realized that FlashForward was on last night, that it was in fact 2009, and a certain Norwegian Nobel Committee has some 'splainin' to do.

I scurried on over to the Dan Simmons forum, knowing ahead of time what I was going to find. I've left this place in a huff more than once, vowing never to return, but its pull is not to be denied. There's something oddly compelling to reading so many exquisitely crafted rantings by self-certified Lords of All Creation. Once in a while, I might actually agree with them in spite of myself. And when they disagree with something, they're entertainingly vicious about it.
Like this. This post took about half an hour to show up after someone else announced Obama's award (at 3:00 local time this morning).


Press hails Chamberlain

Suggestions to honour Mr Chamberlain in some tangible form for his great services to peace continue to be made in many parts of Europe. The French nation is now concentrating on how it can repay "the first artisan of peace".

Numerous proposals for renaming streets, starting funds and erecting statues are contained in the French press, and Le Figaro states that the British prime minister should be immediately invited to Paris so that all can acclaim him. One paper suggests starting a fund so that monuments and statues might be erected to the "saviour of modern Europe" in every capital in the world. Strasbourg has overnight renamed streets: the Avenue de la Paix is now the Avenue Neville Chamberlain.

The assertion that Mr Chamberlain should receive the Nobel peace prize, says the Stockholm Tidningen [newspaper], is warmly supported in all quarters in Sweden and Norway, and England. Mahmond Pasha, the prime minister of Egypt, has telegraphed Mr Chamberlain the thanks of the Egyptian government and people for averting war. The telegram concludes: "Your name will go down in history as a statesman who saved civilisation from destruction."

The Observer, 2 October 1938

For those of you scratching your heads, Obama's being equated with Chamberlain because he hasn't threatened to bomb anyone back to the Stone Age. Because he talks to people instead of belittling them and mocking them. Also because if you listen to these folks long enough, you'll see Iranian jihadist boogeymen lurking behind every American flagpole.

I guess you had to be there.

All idiocies aside, this happens to be one of the few times I find myself agreeing--sort of--with the forum consensus. I agree, for instance, that Barack Obama has done nothing to merit such a prestigious award. My opinion differs from theirs: I hold out hope he'll prove worthy of a Nobel Peace prize by the end of his term.

But not thirteen days into it. (Nominations for the Nobel closed February 1.)

It was bad enough that the world put superhuman expectations on Mr. Obama. Now that he's proven to be a mere human, throwing this at him is more curse than blessing. While I appreciate the symbolism--outside the Dan Simmons forum, pretty much all of us are just as ecstatic as the Nobel Committee to see the ass end of Dubya--it would be nice to see the Peace Prize awarded concrete actions, not lofty rhetoric.

Indeed, there are folks further left than I questioning how the Nobel Peace Prize can possibly be awarded to the President of a country currently engaged in not one but two wars. (And those are just the publicly acknowledged ones...)

If I was Obama, I would have refused this honour. Mark my words, no good can come of it.

1 comment:

Rocketstar said...

I agree, I just don't get it.