Friday, October 9, 2009

Obama's Not the First Surprising Nobel Peace Prize Winner

"President Barack Obama was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize today, only eight months into his term. It's a bold—and some might say strange—move to fete a president who's still in the beginning of his diplomatic career. After all, Arizona State University didn't even think he was ready for an honorary degree. Who knows what else he has in store for the United States? One thing we do know: Obama is likely to order thousands more troops into a warzone within weeks. 

"Although many past winners seem beyond dispute—Martin Luther King Jr. and Mother Teresa come to mind—some were controversial at the time, while others did things that undermined their reputation after being awarded the prize.  Here are a few candidates for the most dubitable awards in Nobel Peace Prize history..."

see the list via
I found this list of "Seven Surprising Nobel Peace Prize Winners" when I googled the name of "Henry Kissinger" this morning.

Sure, I wasn't expecting this Obama pick, but I became incapable of genuine award-shock after Kissinger won the same thing in 1973.

I lost my innocence when Kold-War Kissinger accepted this medal— with the blood of Indochina dripping from from every thread of his coat. It was an Orwellian moment in my 15-year-old mind at the time. 

Perhaps naively, I still hold the Nobel science awards in respect, but this "peace" prize seems to have nothing to do with pacifism or non-violence. 

If I were Obama, I'd be embarrassed; I would call a special press conference and give my "medal" to some unsung heroes who put their bodies in front of the bayonets every day and never waver: "Lay Down Your Arms." 

I'd nominate several of my local neighbors, actually-- activists you've never heard of, who are a great deal closer to the ground on "peace efforts" than ANYONE who's won this international prize.

(My neighbors do things like volunteer for Amnesty International, they work ceaselessly against the Cuban embargo, they volunteer at the local hellhole called the Juvenile Justice Center, they're organizing a bike ride of thousands of women across the Middle East... and some just have a pretty great record of "making love not war"— all of which beat any elected US congressman I can think of lately).

This year's award seems to be a "Thank God You're Not George Bush" Crackerjack Prize.

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