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Friday, October 09, 2009

Commentary on Obama's Nobel Peace Prize: DPNM Chairman Javier Gonzales, IAEA's ElBaradei

Democratic Party of New Mexico Chairman Javier Gonzales released the following statement today in response to President Barack Obama being awarded the Nobel Peace Prize. I think he gets it right:

"I would like to commend the Nobel Committee for their selection today of President Obama as the 2009 Nobel Peace Prize recipient. I agree with the President that this award gives momentum to a set of causes that he is championing around the globe. In recognizing the President, the Nobel Committee has not awarded his accomplishments, but rather his vision to bring nations together and reestablish America as a leader in the quest for peace. Anyone who tries to attack the President for receiving this award, as RNC Chairman Michael Steele did today, will only continue the cavalier attitude towards other nations that we hoped had left Washington with the Bush Administration."

I didn't know what to think when I first heard about Obama receiving the Prize. I joined in the talk about whether he deserved it after he had only been in office about nine months. Then I watched this video of an interview with IAEA Director General Mohamed ElBaradei, who lays out -- especially in answer to the third question -- the thinking behind Peace Prize awards:

The IAEA and Dr. ElBaradei received the Nobel Peace Prize in 2005.

Here are President Obama's remarks today on learning of the award. Excerpt:

I am both surprised and deeply humbled by the decision of the Nobel Committee. Let me be clear: I do not view it as a recognition of my own accomplishments, but rather as an affirmation of American leadership on behalf of aspirations held by people in all nations.

To be honest, I do not feel that I deserve to be in the company of so many of the transformative figures who've been honored by this prize -- men and women who've inspired me and inspired the entire world through their courageous pursuit of peace.

But I also know that this prize reflects the kind of world that those men and women, and all Americans, want to build -- a world that gives life to the promise of our founding documents. And I know that throughout history, the Nobel Peace Prize has not just been used to honor specific achievement; it's also been used as a means to give momentum to a set of causes. And that is why I will accept this award as a call to action -- a call for all nations to confront the common challenges of the 21st century.

... this award must be shared with everyone who strives for justice and dignity -- for the young woman who marches silently in the streets on behalf of her right to be heard even in the face of beatings and bullets; for the leader imprisoned in her own home because she refuses to abandon her commitment to democracy; for the soldier who sacrificed through tour after tour of duty on behalf of someone half a world away; and for all those men and women across the world who sacrifice their safety and their freedom and sometime their lives for the cause of peace.

October 9, 2009 at 05:48 PM in Democratic Party, Environment, International Relations, Peace | Permalink

Comments

The prizes are only awarded every four years. Al Gore in 2005, now Barack Obama in 2009.

As the committee chair, Thorbjoern Jagland , said, "Some people say, and I understand it, isn't it premature? Too early? Well, I'd say then that it could be too late to respond three years from now. It is now that we have the opportunity to respond — all of us."

TOO LATE. Europeans really have a rather low opinion of the American culture. They view it as violent and brutish. What I think Jagland is saying is that President Obama may well have been assassinated by the time the next round of nominations starts.

And the Nobel Prize is not awarded to a person who has already died (that is, it is not awarded posthumously).

The nasty and brutish comments from the right wing of the Republican party seem to confirm the committee's perception and validate their decision.

Posted by: Ellen Wedum | Oct 10, 2009 2:09:29 AM

No, it is awarded almost every year. Here is a list of all 89 of the laureates between 1901 and 2008: http://nobelprize.org/nobel_prizes/peace/laureates/

Posted by: Michelle Meaders | Oct 10, 2009 12:14:40 PM

I think the Nobel Prize is an honor for the President, he was very gracious about accepting it.

Posted by: chris | Oct 10, 2009 6:33:06 PM

I suspect that the Nobel Peace prize was given to Obama to send a message... to whom and for what purpose, who knows

Posted by: Sam Kaufman | Oct 10, 2009 8:58:56 PM

The President was awarded the Nobel for: "extraordinary efforts to strengthen international diplomacy and cooperation between peoples", there were other reasons I am sure, but NO denying that President Obama has changed the face of America..

Posted by: VP | Oct 11, 2009 8:26:39 AM

I think the Nobel Prize is an honor for the President, he was very gracious about accepting it.

Posted by: chris | Oct 11, 2009 1:44:52 PM

I think the Nobel Prize is an honor for the President, he was very gracious about accepting it.

Posted by: Lisa | Oct 11, 2009 5:59:35 PM