10 October 2009

Peace, Fuzziness and Love

Now isn't this just terribly ironic? The Nobel Peace Prize has actually started a fight. Peace? Fight? Get it? I'm sure you do. Now I know that it seems quite the odd thing to award this apparently highly prestigious prize to a man who has just about started his job and frankly hasn't had enough time to produce any real results yet. Other than showing us he's a nice bloke really, with a slightly scary wife with a fondness for granny cardis. And showing us his pelvic moves on the Ellen DeGeneres Show and his wit and repartee on the Dave Letterman (vomit) Show.

Apparently, initiating a conciliatory move towards the Muslim world sent the Nobel committee suits in Scandinavian regions into a complete tizzy and they couldn't wait to hail-all the man who explicitly said that Muslims must not be seen as the Axis of Evil. Oh my! Fancy that? Can you believe it? Muslims are not to be shot deader than ducks at a royal weekend hunt just because a few guys crashed a few planes into a few buildings! Dear me, whatever would we have done had Obama not told us this?

Now I'm not a big follower or fan or loyalist of any prize that doesn't directly aid the arts (well, for obvious reasons) but like the rest of the world I've been slightly predisposed towards the grandness of the Nobel Peace Prize and while I think it's a tad incredulous to award this to a man whose efforts have yet to produce any tangible and long-lasting effect, I do think it's silly to start a war of words over something that's got the exact opposite intent.

My question is, whose world is going to tumble down if Obama takes the prize away? Better him than Henry Kissinger. Better him than Gaddafi. Better him than Berlusconi. And definitely better him than any monarch in any part of the world.

You might argue that it's politicised. Well what isn't? The very concept of peace talks and peace initiatives arises out of the need to clean up the messy politics and let ordinary folk live.

You might argue that he's not completely deserving of the honour yet. Well who would be, who would also be in a real position to make that 'yes we can' change if not the most powerful man in the world ? (And let's face it; as much as we hate the idea of one omnipotent man, we all know it's true so roll with it)

Let me give you a list of the Nobel Peace Laureates since just the 80s. Tell me if you remember any major achievement that changed the world as you know it from this list and no, you can't Google. (I make exceptions for the UNHCR, Medecins sans Frontieres and Mandela.)

Esquivel, IPKF, Myrdal and Robles, Desmond Tutu, Dalai Lama, Lech Walesa, Elie Wiesel, Yasser Arafat, Shimon Peres, Yitzhak Rabin, Aung San Suu Kyi, Gorbachev, Menchu Tum, De Klerk, Mandela, Oscar Arias Sanchez, Joseph Rotblat, Ximenes Belo, Jose Ramos-Horta, Jody Williams, John Hume, David Trimble, Wangari Maathai, Jimmy Carter, Kofi Annan, Kim Dae-Jung, Shirin Ebadi, Mohammed El-Baradei, Mohammed Yunus, Al Gore, Martti Ahtisaari,
UN Peacekeeping Force

How many names do you recognise? How many concrete achievements do you see?