Friday, October 9, 2009

Nobel peace prize awarded to Barack Obama


The US president, Barack Obama, was today awarded the 2009 Nobel peace prize "for his extraordinary efforts to strengthen international diplomacy and co-operation between peoples" in a decision which stunned international affairs experts.

To gasps from those assembled, the Nobel committee chairman, Thorbjoern Jagland, said "only rarely has a person such as Obama captured the world's attention and given his people hope for a better future".

"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," the citation said.

28 comments:

  1. Even if his presidency began shortly before the deadline, the Nobel committee has had months to evaluate the applicants and I think Obama is a good choice. It seems the Nobel committee saw in Obama the US returning to the international fold with a greater emphasis on the UN and other international bodies to work through the crises confronting the world today.

    Just recently he was in Denmark talking with Rasmussen about climate issues. Before he had sat down with Rasmussen in Washington to discuss NATO security issues, and unlike his predecessor, Obama is keenly aware of international concerns.

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  2. I agree with this simply because he has indeed changed the image of the US from being an aggressor to one that believes in peaceful resolution to conflict.

    But I will feel a lot better about Obama once he figures out a way to end the US occupation of the Middle East, which fuels much of the violence that people around the world have to deal with on a daily basis.

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  3. Talk about a bombshell (no pun intended).

    Diane, if Obama figures out a way to end the US occupation of the Middle East, he might also be canonized.

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  4. He's a smart man and I'm pretty confident that he understands what an occupation does in places like Afghanistan -- thus his reevaluation of the Bush wars.

    Whether or not he has the political will to pursue that kind of big picture agenda remains to be seen. Maybe this award will give him some political cover and impetus to live up to it.

    If so, I'd happily nominate him for sainthood.

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  5. And then there's Herta Meuller's Nobel in literature. While I found suggestions that Joyce Carol Oates was a frontrunner -- give me a break -- Meuller? And I thought Le Clezio was an odd pick.

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  6. Oates? You have to be kidding! But Müller's sounds a little too dark for me as well.

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  7. Joyce Carol Oates is always mentioned. Go figure. I've never understood it. Nobel Laureate material she is not, at least in my opinion. However, some of the recent selections have been marginal at best. Coetzee, for instance, did not deserve the award for any reason, although I do like a couple of his books. The fact that he received it before Doris Lessing, no matter what you might think of her as a writer, was dumfounding. In a way, her selection almost seemed like an, "Oops, we picked the wrong white African wrtier."

    Meuller, on the other hand, seems cut from the same cloth that produced the 2004 selection, Austria's Elfriede Jelinek.

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  8. Doesn't Oates basically write thrillers? I don't get the cachet she seems to have.

    Going back to TR for a moment, when he won the Nobel Peace Prize (ironic that one, eh?) he donated the money to establish a committee for industrial peace.

    http://query.nytimes.com/mem/archive-free/pdf?res=9B05E5DF143EE233A25751C2A9659C946997D6CF

    But for some reason, this never came to fruition and the funds were applied to a different cause. I'll have to go back and check Brinkley on that one.

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  9. Oates has written a little bit of everything. She writes mainly about the American family -- that's a generalization -- but it fits many of her novels and short stories. Her writing is sincere and might remind you of Theodore Dreiser at times, although she is seldom as clumsy as Dreiser was. There are quite a few writers working in this vein -- good writers telling good stories.

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  10. Yes, but isn't it all about rape and incest and murder and stuff? I come from a disfunctional American family but not _that_ disfunctional.

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  11. She does tend to mine that vein. A frequent criticism of her books is that they invariably drift into melodrama. But, her supporters are quick to counter, so do the books of the most sacred of sacred American literary cows, William Faulkner.

    In my opinion, however, it's the quality of her writing that prevents her from being anything more than a very prolific writer. And I felt the same way about John Updike, who was nominated for the Nobel Prize more than once. And I also feel pretty much the same way about Philip Roth.

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  12. And another thing. I think we have produced poets who have a much better claim on the Nobel Prize for literature than our novelists, short story writers, and playwrights.

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  13. I could never read Faulkner either.

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  14. They had given the Nobel to Gordimer before Coetzee, which I thought also overlooked Lessing, who is actually from Zimbabwe -- Grass is Singing. I suppose that is why Lessing didn't give the award much thought when she finally did receive it.

    Anyway, I think the Nobel prize committee was probably most impressed he was even elected president and that if he could achieve that, he could achieve just about anything.

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  15. It is quite amusing reading all the Republican backlash to Obama's award. After making so much fun over his failed Olympic bid, this must be a very bitter pill for them to swallow. But, I'm glad some Republicans have tactfully found ways to congratulate Obama, like Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty,

    the "appropriate response is to say congratulations."

    http://www.twincities.com/news/ci_13523555?source=rss

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  16. "Read him.I detest him."

    I wondered if you were here or not John!

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  17. Can you imagine cheering for the loss of the Olympics for the country and then booing for the Nobel Prize for the head of the country?

    It does seem a bit -- what did they always say? -- unpatriotic?

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  18. It sounds extremely petty and mean-spirited and just plain dumb, but what can you expect from Republicans these days.

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  19. I take this award as a nod to the country as much as to Obama since it appears to be symbolism as much as anything.

    The world is a more peaceful place (in theory) now that the US has rid itself of GW.

    I guess one person's compliment is another's critique.

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  20. Gintaras -- I think Gordimer was an excellent choice at the time. She does things with language that are quite impressive, and she was certainly on the right side of history. But it is also true that because many of her novels and short stories were written before the end of Apartheid they can now seem somewhat dated.

    And yet, novels like A Guest of Honor, The Late Bourgeois World, July's People, and The Conservationist -- even though they predate the end of Apartheid -- are still worth reading. Her sincerity and seriousness come through on every page. This is both a strength and sometimes a liability -- I've at times found myself wishing that she would lighten up for a moment, but she seldom if ever does. She respects the craft of fiction, but perhaps more importantly, she also respects her characters. And even if her character portraits are often quite unsparing, they usually ring true. Some of her more recent books, like My Son's Story and The Pickup, are also very good.

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  21. I like Gordimer's short stories, but haven't really gotten into her books, but I agree with you that her sense of language is very impressive. I guess I've always been such a fan of Lessing that I was a little disappointed to see her passed over in favor of other southern African writers. However, all three transcended their region in their own ways.

    Speaking of Nobel Laureates, I see Orhan Pamuk has a new book due out soon, Museum of Innocence. I hope it covers the same ground as Instanbul, which I really enjoyed.

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  22. I'll speak up for Oates. I think few have done adolescence as well, and as for the violence in her work, it's certainly not gratuitous or even graphic (at least in what I've read), but she can show how a single violent act can resonate throughout a family and community and over time.

    As for the Peace Prize, I say a big loud WOOT whether it is intended as descriptive or prescriptive.

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  23. Avrds,I'm still here.I'm leaving wed morning for three weeks back east starting with the Wellfleet Oyster Festival next weekend.Can't wait for some nice fall weather though the weather has turned fall like in So.Cal.Trying to figure out what books to take.I did get the copy of Grey Owl's"Tales of an Empty Cabin" It turned out to be a copy from the Winnipeg public library.I'll take"Fatal Journey" about Henry Hudson's last voyage but fiction is either Snow or By the Lake.

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  24. Obama's inauguration marked the end of the Bush/Cheney 8-yr. Reign of Terror. Yes, I agree that he deserves the Nobel.

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  25. No doubt there was a political edge to this choice, and Maureen Dowd had a pretty funny op-ed in the NYTimes about it,

    Gandhi wuz robbed,

    http://www.nytimes.com/2009/10/11/opinion/11dowd.html?_r=1&scp=1&sq=ghandi%20wuz%20robbed&st=cse

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  27. The unpatriotic elements in society have now reached the end of their quest to have President Obama declared unqualified for the office of the presidency. Orly Taitz, the nutcase who has been making those idiotic allegations has been hit with a $20K fine for her stupid lawsuits:


    http://washingtonindependent.com/63558/orly-taitz-sanctioned-for-20000


    As they say in courts: CASE CLOSED.



    (Re-posted for spelling error)

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