Nobel Prize for Obama? For Peace?

Nobel Peace Medal
Nobel Peace Medal

There is a second-hand book store, open only on Sundays and is run by a social worker named Steve, at the flea market in Lewisburg, Pennsylvania. Whenever I visit my friend who lives not too far from the market, I go to Steve for some good titles. His girl friend, Trish, was an ardent Obama supporter before and even a few months after his ascension to presidency.

On my last visit in August, I casually asked Steve whether Trish still supported Obama to which he answered she had lost faith in him. I knew the reason for her sudden estrangement with that popular leader.

During the pre-poll days, Trish used to spin off a few hours from her busy work to volunteer for Obama’s presidential campaign. She was not alone to pin hope on a young, energetic, highly oratorical, Afro-American messenger of hope and change. Millions of young Americans followed her suit, devoting their time and money to get him elected.

Unprecedentedly, a large chunk of population of European origin extended support to this man of colour. Also, hundreds of thousands of people, who had earlier lost faith in the US election process especially after the controversial victory of George Bush in 2000 in Florida, cast their votes for a promising presidential candidate. Now, ignored and their needs taken for granted, Trish is not alone to feel dejected and betrayed.
Obama’s main planks to contest the election on were troops withdrawal from Iraq, peace in Afghanistan, universal health care, cleaning up Washington of its hundreds of corrupting lobbying groups, bring peace back to the world, more jobs, climate change, and what not? He had all promises in his kitty only to break them after becoming president.

Months have passed since he assumed power. Troops still remain in Iraq and they are most unlikely to be withdrawn completely. Situation in Afghanistan is at its worst and is likely to deteriorate further as he is shifting his focus from the Taliban to Al-Qaeda. So-called 9/11 culprits including its mastermind Bin Laden are still at large. Despite majority in both houses, universal health-care is still an idea up for grabs. Lobbying groups in Washington are more powerful than ever before. When Israel pounded Gaza early this year, killing hundreds of innocent women and children, Obama kept mum. Peace has never been reinstated in the world as he avowed to do. Unemployment rate in the country is on the rise contrary to his expectations.

That is the Obama I have seen so far – a failed president. He has become just another president. May be he is more disappointing than Bush as the people expected him to walk his talks. He is either not capable of doing it or being hindered. In both, he has failed the people. As the American stand-up comedian and political commentator, Bill Maher, said, Bush at least had the ‘audacity’ to do what he wanted to do – even to go to a war that most Americans never wanted, the UN never consented to and the world community protested against.

The only ‘peace’ Obama has initiated so far is the peace he brokered between Republicans and Democrats by preserving Bush-era remnants including retention of Defense Secretary Robert Gates in his post and extending the out-gone president’s policies. Even in doing so, he has failed miserably. Republicans are not still convinced of Obama’s nationality and are not sure whether Obama is eligible to become the president. Another peace he initiated was the undemocratic induction of Hillary Clinton into his cabinet, a candidate the people repudiated to elect Obama.

Of course, he has captured the attention of the world with his message of change and hope. But, he is far from having materialized them. He is popular and seems to be the only link Christian West can depend on to connect with Islamic world. But, does that qualify him for this prestigious award?

Then, why is this peace prize for a man who has failed his own people? Obama himself is not convinced of what the Nobel committee praised him for. That is why he said, he viewed the decision to honour him less as a recognition of his own accomplishments and more as “a call to action.” If that is what he feels about the award, he may walk back on his presidential road to pick those promises he abandoned during his course. And, do at least something for Americans, if not for the world.



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