Realizing that peace was probably nowhere near, the Norwegian Nobel Committee may have decided to award the Nobel Prize to Obama, for Hope. According to reports, the Committee voted unanimously and with ease for Obama, for his "extraordinary efforts to strengthen international diplomacy and cooperation between peoples." The Nobel committee recognized Obama's efforts to solve complex global problems including working toward a world free of nuclear weapons. Obama, who has been barely nine months President of the United States, was awakened to the news. In reaction, he said he was “humbled to be selected".
Elsewhere, the news was received with mixed feelings. On my Facebook page many responded with one word “Why” and a question mark. One person jokingly used an Arabic Language Metaphoric Style which when translated would mean, “Obama won for what will be”. He won for the peace that will be or the peace that could be. Someone else asked: "Now we are celebrating Christmas in June?" Perhaps what we are celebrating is a paradigm shift that may allow us to celebrate Christmas in December!
Obama’s visit to Cairo and his speech were warmly received by millions if not billions of people from every faith and nationality. His attempts to build bridges between civilizations were admired. His persistent efforts to solve complex conflicts gave hope and optimism to many. Finally, here is a world leader, who truly cares. Beyond calculations of votes and political gains, someone who has the courage to tackle issues which could politically backfire.
Two weeks ago, Obama’s efforts to bring about peace in the Middle East came to a difficult test. The Israeli Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, practically forced the American President to give up his demand for a freeze on building the Israeli Settlements on Occupied Palestinian Territory. A day after meeting U.S. President Barack Obama at the tripartite summit in New York, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told CNN that the U.S. demand for a complete settlement freeze in the West Bank was "costing us a great deal of time." The covert message to Obama seemed to be, don’t waste your time.
Uri Avneri, an Israeli writer and founder of the Gush Shalom peace movement, commented on the confrontation in Ramallah online with a piece titled “The Drama And The Farce: Netanyahu Humiliates Obama”. In Avneri’s eyes, Obama had come unprepared to exert pressure on Israel. Avneri asked ”Why did Obama insist on the settlement freeze – in itself a very reasonable demand – if he was unable to stand his ground?”
Netanyahu won that battle, showed his people and the world that he is “no sucker”. Obama may have lost his ground this one time, but he has hopefully learned a lesson. Perhaps Obama also showed the world Netanyahu’s true intentions towards peace.
It is not realistic to expect that a century-long conflict like the one in Palestine, or decades-long nuclear arms race will all be instantly resolved by one tap of some magic wand which Obama alone keeps. So, when the Nobel Prize Committee says that "Only very rarely has a person to the same extent as Obama captured the world's attention and given its people hope for a better future," the Committee is being realistic in its expectations. No one alone can achieve world peace. Obama has won for propagating Hope and for extending a hand for peace and understanding. Now it is the turn of others to capture that opportunity and embrace that hand before it is no longer there.
The Committee rejected the claim that awarding the Nobel Prize to Obama at such an early stage gives undue recognition to efforts which are yet to bear realized fruits. The Committee demonstrated that it intends to promote Obama just it had done for Mikhail Gorbachev in 1990 recognizing his efforts to open up the Soviet Union and the Eastern Bloc. The Committee further announced that Obama’s "diplomacy is founded in the concept that those who are to lead the world must do so on the basis of values and attitudes that are shared by the majority of the world's population,". Plainly put, as “Realism” ruled, force and military might alone decided the fate of conflicts. Thus the world rewarded aggression and consequently promoted further conflict and an endless race to acquire instruments of destruction, war and terror. In awarding the Nobel Prize to Obama, the Committee promotes a new era of Post-Realism, where justice and not might, should rule, not only in poet’s lyrics or beauty queen speeches, but in the behavior of world leaders and in the conduct of nations.
Obama indeed may have won the Nobel Prize, not for the Peace he helped realize, but for the Hope he has managed to inspire. The Hope that our world can truly be a better place. And like everything else, Peace may start with one shred of hope. Hope for Peace.
So many people are asking how Obama deserved the Prize. Now, if we assume that the Nobel Prize should be given to the Person who has made the strongest impact on world peace during the last year and in that way it is comparative in nature. Do you know of some other person who has made a more positive impact on world peace during the last year? Honestly, I do not know of any other person than Obama who is more deserving.