Friday, October 9, 2009

Colour Me Stunned

When the alarm goes off in the morning, I stumble out of bed and turn the radio on. Then I stumble back into bed, ostensibly to listen to the news before I got up but, in reality, to get a few more winks of sleep.

This morning, my half-asleep brain jarred itself awake when I heard that President Obama had been awarded the Nobel Peace Price. Actually, in all honesty, for a split second I questioned whether I had been or still was dreaming as I lay there listening intently to the rest of the story.

So, yeah, colour me shocked, if you will. Did you know there were a record 205 nominations for this year's peace prize?

Now, look, I am not anti-Obama. Trust me, enough are. It's not like they need any more help in promoting their cause. Like I said at the time, I appreciate the historical significance in the US electing its first black President. In fact, I think it's rather cool. But I'm not so much into personality cults.

And my standards for Obama are pretty much the same as they are for any politician. Namely, show me your stuff. Impress me with your good judgment and acute sense of right and wrong. Show me that you are, indeed, worthy of people's vote.

To date, I haven't felt much for Obama, the politician, one way or another. Good or bad. Other than he does give good speeches. He has a good voice. And his kids are cute.

In all honesty, I have nothing too much either for or against the man at the moment. Because he hasn't accomplished a whole hell of a lot yet. In all fairness, hasn't had a whole lot of time to accomplish a whole hell of a lot. I don't hold it against the man. It's just the way it is. Time will tell.

Which would explain my shock at not his not just being nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize (that, in and of itself would have surprised me), but at him being actually awarded it.

I mean, what the hell has he done to further world peace?

Like I said, this isn't really so much about a criticism of him. He's only been in office for less than a year. So if he had managed to accomplish something to further world peace in that time, I would be very suitably impressed. But other than his speeches apologizing to the world for America's past actions and inactions and his promises to lead us into the dawn of a new age of international relations ... I ain't seen too much.

And, forgive me please, but just because Iran has supposedly agreed in principle to ship most of its current stockpile of enriched uranium to Russia, where it would be refined for exclusively peaceful uses and pledged that within weeks it would allow the inspection of a previously covert uranium enrichment facility, I'm not quite ready to cry "peace in the Middle East" just yet. As in seeing really is believing.

First of all, it appears that no ground has been given on demands that Tehran halt the enrichment of uranium, meaning that the overall problem of Iran's nuclear program remains. And I seem to remember a neighbouring country that failed to follow through on its promise to allow full weapons inspections by the international community. So, yeah, Seeing Is Believing.

Then again, there's also the fact that this "agreement in principle" was just reached yesterday. So somehow I doubt it was what swayed the Committee to make the award it did.

But hey, apparently they had their reasons. And for them, it's not so much about seeing. Just about believing.
"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 Norwegian committee said in a statement.

"His 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."

Asked why the prize had been awarded to Mr Obama less than a year after he took office, Nobel Committee head Thorbjoern Jagland said: "It was because we would like to support what he is trying to achieve".

"It is a clear signal that we want to advocate the same as he has done," he said.
Silly me, I had no idea it had been renamed the Nobel We Would Like To Have Peace Prize. I mean, I'm sure more than a few people qualify for that one.

Well, at least I know I'm not the only one to feel this way. Apparently, I'm in good company.
The award to Mr. Obama so early in his presidency stunned much of official Washington, and drew a wide range of reactions from around the world. "So soon? Too early," said former Polish President Lech Walesa, who won the peace prize in 1983. "He has no contribution so far. He is only beginning to act."
Ah, well, I really cannot say it any better than Lex did earlier today.
And congratulations, Mr. President. Please accept my fondest wishes that your accomplishments may some day match your accolades.
And I mean that with the utmost sincerity. Because if the man actually can manage to live up to his press advance billing, the world truly will be a better place.

No comments: