This year 205 Peace Prize nominations were made – the highest number of nominations ever. Among the nominees were Zimbabwean Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai and Chinese dissident Hu Jia. It was, however, Barack Obama, the esteemed President of the United States of America who has been awarded the Nobel Peace Prize. "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."
Thorbjørn Jagland, chairman of the Norwegian Nobel Committee , firmly defended the decision when questioned about the political nature of such a decision, he underlined that this award is for what Obama has managed to do thus far; encouraging dialogue in the worlds, working towards resolving conflicts, strengthening international institutions, working towards a world free of nuclear arms, strengthening International diplomacy - "It is a clear signal that we want to advocate the same as he has done," he said.
The News has been praised and condemned. Facing a plethora of issues, both on the Domestic and International front, there are those who feel Obama’s award to be premature, even unfounded, and controversial. Despite Obama’s important action taken during his eight months, I cannot help but wonder whether the Nobel peace prize will truly galvanize International relations, in the way Jagland and the Nobel Committee states.
Nevertheless, I believe that instead of our attention turning towards the bickering about whether Obama deserves the prize or not, I think we should dedicate attention to those people and organizations who are working daily, without recognition, towards peace, promoting and attempting to secure human rights. These people fight battles that many of us sitting comfortably on our sofas watching the news, arguing, discussing, haven’t even thought possible or would never dream of fighting. Why? Why do we so easily shout, comment, at the television, one another, the papers, online, and yet we still do nothing? Because we are selfish? Because we are far away from those problems? Because when we see them on television, we can’t switch it off, and watch the X;factor, or some new reality show being aired? Are we such an apathetic generation? Have re resigned to this? I don’t think so, I know we haven’t but let’s work towards positive commentary, and not follow in the paradigm of negative commentary we are surrounded by on a daily basis.
Obama’s prize is an honor. It is no more, and no less. He is no Messiah. He represents hope, and incites inspiration. His nomination is no benchmark, he has lots to do, and he is the first to admit this. It is, therefore, perfectly beautiful that the president, who was awakened to be told he had won, said he was “deeply humbled”. Obama speaking in the Rose Garden today said he accepted the award, as a call to action to confront the common challenges of the 21st century. Importantly, he recognizes that these cannot be met by any one leader or any one nation.
Obama has underlined that the Nobel Peace Prize, is a shared prize. It is indeed a shared prize, and the only way that this prize overshadows the work of thousands of others, is if we let that happen.