“During the preceding year […] 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.”
Many years back, when Dr. Alfred Nobel stated these conditions in his will, stipulating that the Peace Prize shall be awarded to any person fulfilling these requirements, nowhere would he have imagined that so high would be the merit of his ‘invention’ that a superpower would deem it necessary to have it in its kitty; to boast about its dominance some more. The 2009 Noble Peace Prize was awarded to the President of the US, Barack Obama. We all know that whenever something related to the US crops up, every Tom, Dick and Harry has an opinion to give and views to express. Some are nonsensical, some insightful while some are just plain useless. Nevertheless, the debate which was aroused by this latest decision of the Peace Committee has been raging like a wildfire. And as a welcome change, we have a consensus here.
The dissection of Nobel’s will is imperative to understand his clear objectives. As a layman, my comprehension from his aforementioned statement is that he wanted the most able person, who strived for perfect harmony among countries and intended to work for the reduction of military strength (aimed at destroying other weaker nations), to be awarded suitably and be bestowed with global recognition for these very efforts of his. Notwithstanding Dr. Nobel’s seemingly noble intentions, there have been notable deviations from this line, if one carefully looks up the list of awardees over the years. Right from Yasser Arafat, Shimon Peres, Nelson Mandela, Henry Kissinger to Obama, all have headed or have played a prominent role in the politics of those countries who were not necessarily the best proponents of peace. Arafat was called a terrorist leader, heading a gang of bandits and hooligans as part of the PLO (Palestine Liberation Organization). The argument was not totally unfounded as evidence has showed that the Liberation was not really a holy cause in the sense of the measures and steps undertaken for its course of travel. The veracity with which the supporters of Arafat refuted this allegation was for all to see when they undermined Mandela’s cause for the African nation by calling it terrorist in nature too. So by logical determination, they said, that this son of the African soil too did not deserve the coveted citation as much as their own leader. And if he did, then the same rationale should be applied to their commander too. As regards with Peres, he has not been favourably viewed by the critics of Israel and his winning too was hugely scrutinised. In fact many believe that the ‘Oslo Accords’, document formulating a framework for the smooth resolution of Palestine-Israel conflict, with which Peres and Arafat cinched their prize in the same year, in itself is a repetitive text with no contingency provisions and no scope for future happenings. So the contention has been that if the base of the primary reason itself is flawed, how can the conclusion be justified? Henry Kissinger, recipient of the Peace prize in 1973, was not a man with clean hands either, if we talk about living up to the exact words enunciated in the will of Alfred Nobel. He played a passive yet prominent role in the invasion of Cyprus, inflicted by Turkey, which ultimately led to the division of the island state itself. All of such instances do nothing except to re-affirm the gaffes played out by the Norwegian Nobel Committee while short listing the recipients. Obviously the supporters of each of the aforementioned luminaries may have varied reasons to support their leader or head and justify their credentials. But the crux of the matter remains that none of them truly adhered to the principles on which the entire judging process of the Prize lies. Nevertheless, Obama is a different case altogether.
Barack Hossein Obama is a phenomenon. , in every sense of the word. Right from the time he made an impact by getting inducted into the Senate for Illinois way back in 1996, he’s been steadily climbing the popularity charts with his tacit methods. And the zenith of this popularity was there for all to see, when he clinched the presidential nomination from a much favoured and definitely more experienced Hillary Clinton, by proving all the poll pundits wrong. Once that happened, there was no looking back for this African-American man who went on to assume the toughest and most challenging job of the world. I am one of his innumerable fans and I am in awe of the journey traversed by the man till date. However this announcement that he’s the recipient of this year’s peace prize somehow left a bitter taste in my mouth. Not because he is any less deserving, but because it seems like was a sheer case of premature judgment and hasty acknowledgements. It’s just been ten months since he came to power and as of now, the policies which figured in his agenda are only at their nascent stage of implementation. Agreed, he has grandiose visions for the country and the world, considering the US of A plays a prominent part in anything happening in any part of the world. No questions asked about the able execution of his plans, either. But this entire exercise still remains to be seen. Of course he’s brought a wave of hope into the disgruntled and disillusioned heart of every American, (the Blacks to be precise), but doesn’t every assumption and vision need to be supplemented with adequate action? And for that, time is the best test. This hasn’t been given to the man.