On Being Nobel

Why am I having a big sad today? Obama was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize! I think he deserves it too! And yet … and yet … the reactions … Oh, man, the reactions!

The majority of the reactions feel to me like this is all a big misunderstanding. And, given the context, a misunderstanding that is very telling of the state we are in – a state that most of us know is not a good one; a state most of us know is of our own doing; yet a state most of us think they have NO part in changing. That would be Obama’s job. And his alone.

By and large, the subtext of the vast majority of reactions today appears to be: you (Obama) deliver, while we (all of us) wait and see (and, if we are members of the GOP, or Iran, or North Korea, or the banks, or credit-card-users, or junk-food-adicts, we will in fact do everything so you get nowhere near achieving anything – while, of course, we continue to wonder aloud why it is you haven’t achieved anything fully).

Never mind that Obama is dragging and pushing everything and everyone in just that direction; he is sweet-talking Iran and North Korea, reassuring the Muslims of the World; hell, he is reaching out to anyone who has a part to play in solving the many problems ALL of us need solving.

The Nobel Peace Committee recognized what he is trying to do; we (or at least the majority of us), who will benefit greatly if he were to achieve it, appear not to.

As I see it – and as I understand the purpose of the Nobel Peace Prize – it is like the Nobel Committee said: here’s the ideal, this is what it’s about; and here is the guy (Obama) trying to get it done; if you (all of us) support him, then, if not World peace, at least a better life for many can be achieved.

And still, the majority of reactions were cynical, a lot of them mean-spirited, or, at minimum, doubting, based on anything but real information about what Obama has done since he came into office, how he actually has worked for a change of tone, how determined he is to get lasting solutions.

No, the majority of reactions were not what this prize really is all about: they weren’t inspirational.

As much as the Nobel Peace prize is a symbol – as it stands for an ideal, for a direction, for a state of mind – the reactions themselves are symbols as well. And what they stand for, the way I perceive it, is saddening, truly saddening.

Thank you at Joseph Lane for editing!

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4 Responses to “On Being Nobel”


  1. 1 Ben Hoffman Oktober 9, 2009 um 11:00 pm

    George W. Bush was also awarded a prise for his accomplishments

  2. 2 kellie Oktober 12, 2009 um 8:55 am

    I hear you Ndege! People expect him to ‚do‘ something to deserve the Nobel Peace Prize. Great men don’t do, they inspire others to get change going, and that, Obama has done and will continue to do.

    One man can only get so much, but an inspiration lasts for ages to come.

  3. 3 B. Freret Oktober 23, 2009 um 3:10 pm

    Great stuff. I had some thoughts on his Nobel, and what I (correctly) guessed the reaction would include, but am loath to post a link to my blog here, as a comment to quality writing.

    Regardless, if you get REALLY bored, it is at my blog.

    And did I say this was great stuff? It is.

  4. 4 Jonathan Danz Oktober 23, 2009 um 3:23 pm

    Great post. I’m only sorry I’ve just found it. I could have used your words on that day. Shouldn’t we be celebrating that our president received the award? Isn’t that patriotic? You’d think the Nobel Peace Committee was a branch of the Democratic National Party. If nothing else, Obama brings credibility and diplomacy back to the international stage. I don’t have to be embarrassed that my president doesn’t care and comes across as a schoolyard bully.


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