Friday, October 09, 2009

Reaction (In Stages)

If you don't know what this is about, pick up a newspaper.*

1. Mystification (And a sudden urge to check the calendar to make sure it wasn't April 1.)
2. Amusement.
3. A little anger, when I began to reflect on the many other far more deserving individuals and organizations that could have been selected:

Nominees believed to be on the 2009 Nobel Prize list are US President Barack Obama and French President Nicholas Sarkozy. Other known contenders for this year's prize include former French-Colombian hostage Ingrid Betancourt and Chinese dissident Hu Jia, who was also a front-runner in 2008.

According to, The Cluster Munitions Coalition is also known to be on the list after it played a central role in getting nearly 100 countries to sign a treaty last year in Oslo banning cluster bombs.

Other nominees are believed to be:

* Macedonian humanitarian and artist Zivko Popovski-Cvetin, nominated by the Macedonian government
* Austrian children's charity SOS-Kinderdorf International, put forward by the Austrian government
* American Greg Mortenson, nominated by six members of the U.S. Congress for his Asian school building charity
* Vietnamese religious leader Thich Quang Do, put forward when a campaign recruited lawmakers to nominate him
* American musician Pete Seeger.


And those are just a few of the 205 submissions for this year. I've read that Dr. Sima Samar was on the short list, for example. A women's rights activist who's worked tirelessly in some of the most hostile territory on earth? Or a recently elected former first-term U. S. Senator with a spotty voting record and a few good speeches under his belt? Gosh, who would want to be on the Nobel committee with such decisions to make?

I had NPR on in the car this morning and even they seemed to be struggling to wrap their brains around the news. Don Gonyea had some real quotables, which I'll have to look up later so I get the wording exact. In the meantime, here's the story currently on their site.

Quip from Hon. Daughter #2 on hearing the news:
"Why didn't they just give it to Miss America? She makes speeches about promoting world peace, too."

I can think of nothing more to say. Re-sabbaticalizing.

Update 10/10: A couple of quotes from Don Gonyea, as mentioned above. He stammered heavily throughout the dialogue, as if he were completely unprepared for the discussion and grasping for something to say:

*Well, it really does seem to be an award that honors what he stands for and what he hopes to do, than what he has actually accomplished...
He has initiated and worked hard to get the peace process going in the middle east, but nothing has really taken fruit there yet; you can look, Guantanamo is still open, still troubles with Iran and North Korea, but the committee sees this president as giving the world hope for a better future, and that seems to be what this is, an award to encourage him to keep doing what he has been doing.

*It seeems like this is a reward for the President for changing direction in US foreign policy...while the Bush administration is mentioned nowhere here, certainly Europe, much of the world was so critical of Pres. Bush...again, Pres. Obama's entire campaign...was based on changng that direction. This is the Nobel committee embracing that change, even if we haven't seen real fruits from that change yet.

*Update 10/20: In retrospect that first line doesn't make a whole lot of sense. I wrote this around 7:30 a.m. so the news hadn't been out very long. Come to think of it, it actually wouldn't have been in the papers that morning (except, of course, for the online editions.)

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