My first reaction when I heard the news was disbelief and spontaneous laughter – the absurdity of it all is too much and can perhaps best be expressed with paraphrasing Eric Margolis (he was referring to the Afghan elections) : ..”a fraud wrapped up in a farce”.
The PR-industry who invented the brand “Obama” (“Hope & Change” Trademark) has more reason to celebrate….
That any US president should get a “Peace Prize” is utterly ridiculous but in the case of Obama it is plainly absurd because he has done NOTHING for a peaceful world except delivering eloquent speeches.
As many other commentators have pointed out already, Obama is basically continuing the foreign policy of GWB – the only difference is style: he is intelligent, polite, articulate and conciliatory (in his rhetoric) and “offers a hand” to those states whose learders are willing to concede that defying the interests of the United States of Arrogance (by executing policies in the interest of the population) in the long run is a bad idea and must stop ASAP.
The recent “intervention” of the Obama administration at the UN – to postpone / avert an urgent UNSC discussion of the devastating Goldstone Report on Israeli war crimes in Gaza is just one absurd example of …”a [a new US-] policy [of] exporting peace and stability to the world…”
But this incredible farce (even the “naked emperor” tale pales in comparison) can also be seen in another, more realistic light which suddenly makes Obama (as US president) a suitable candidate for the prize:
All these awe-inspiring talks about the “Nobel-Prize” are very deceptive because nobody talks anymore about the basis for all this money:
The Nobel family made a fortune with (possibly the first) “weapons of mass destruction”: a new class of explosives that killed thousands of people. Alfred Nobel’s father “made a killing” (excuse the pun) in the Crimean War and the American Civil War – he was perhaps the first mass manufacturer of mines . Alfred Nobel believed in the idea of “deterrence”- not “education for peace” through values like solidarity and working for economic & social justice.
His life-long (but unfulfilled) love was Baroness Bertha von Suttner, the first international female peace activist who probably inspired the Nobel Peace Prize. She worked for a short time as his private secretary and became famous with the publication of her novel “Lay Down your Arms” in 1889 which sold hundreds of thousands of copies and was translated in many languages. The book was sensational not only because of its female aristocratic author but because it depicted in graphic detail the horrors of war in an era of nationalism, where “the military and patriotic duties to the fatherland” were considered sacrosanct.
She called war “commanded mass murder”, denounced the deceptive language of “patriotism” and was also aware of the connection between (systemic) economic / social injustice and war; she also correspondend with the famous Russian novelist Leo Tolstoi, who supported her work. For Tolstoi “the people lead a slave-like existence to serve the interests of a rich minority who lived at their expense” (that was long ago, one might argue but isn’t the “bank bailout” in the trillions yet another symptom for the refeudalisation of society, for serving the interests of a financial aristocracy?)
Bertha von Suttner also travelled to the United States and one of her comments about America is still highly relevant today: (.. here the circle to Wall Street supporting Obama and Obama supporting Wall Street …. is closed…)
„While talking about doomed monarchies and the constitution of republics, we build in the “ideal Republic America” a monetary monarchy , which is more absolute than the power of the Russian tsar…”
Bertha von Suttner received the Nobel Peace Prize in 1905. She died shortly before the outbreak of World War I.
Before Alfred Nobel actually died, a premature obituary appeared in a French newspaper titled “Le marchand de la mort est mort” (“The Merchant of Death is Dead”) referring to Nobel as the man “who became rich by finding ways to kill more people faster than ever before”.
From this perspective, awarding the Nobel Peace Prize to the (current) President of the United States makes a lot of sense. To give this award to the “Commander in Chief” of the mightiest military machine in the world and to the president of a “superpower” whose economic, financial and military elite sees no problem in demanding global “full spectrum dominance” – no matter what the moral, social and human cost – seems quite logical to me.
The profits of one “Merchant of Death” are being used to reward another MoD, the leader of a country that spends more money on weapons (designed for mass murder) than all other states combined (but always kills for a “good cause” of course)… and at the same time, we have a government unwilling to provide affordable health insurance to all its citizens (another way to increase suffering and death) because this would means lesser profits for the private health insurers who basically run their business as a racket.
(On “Full Spectrum Dominance” and America’s “role in the world”, how it sees itself” – see also (the second part of) the Nobel Prize speech by Harold Pinter with the theme “What is true and what is false?” and the conclusion: “We are surrounded by a vast tapestry of lies…and if we let this situation of organized deception prevail, humanity and human dignity are doomed… )
This also resonates with Ghandi’s concept of “Satyagraha” : the power of truth, to fight for truth, hold on to truth, etc. (…. not to be confused with non-violence…)
Coming back to the Goldstone Report and its instant “burial” by the media, followed by the US-supported demise from the UNSC agenda – Ghandi must be turning in his grave… What did he say about Zionism during his lifetime (in 1938)?
“The cry for the national home for the Jews does not make much appeal to me. The sanction for it is sought in the Bible and the tenacity with which the Jews have hankered after return to Palestine.
Why should they not, like other peoples of the earth, make that country their home where they are born and where they earn their livelihood?
Palestine belongs to the Arabs in the same sense that England belongs to the English or France to the French. It is wrong and inhuman to impose the Jews on the Arabs. What is going on in Palestine today cannot be justified by any moral code of conduct. The mandates have no sanction but that of the last war.
Surely it would be a crime against humanity to reduce the proud Arabs so that Palestine can be restored to the Jews partly or wholly as their national home. The nobler course would be to insist on a just treatment of the Jews wherever they are born and bred. The Jews born in France are French in precisely the same sense that Christians born in France are French.
[…] If I were a Jew and were born in Germany and earned my livelihood there, I would claim Germany as my home even as the tallest gentile German might, and challenge him to shoot me or cast me in the dungeon; I would refuse to be expelled or to submit to discriminating treatment. And for doing this I
should not wait for! the fellow Jews to join me in civil resistance, but would have confidence that in the end the rest were bound to follow my example…
[…] And now a word to the Jews in Palestine. I have no doubt that they are going about it in the wrong way. The Palestine of the Biblical conception is not a geographical tract. It is in their hearts. But if they must look to the Palestine of geography as their national home, it is wrong to enter it under the hadow of the British gun. A religious act cannot be performed with the aid of the bayonet or the bomb. They can settle in Palestine only by the goodwill of the Arabs. They should seek to convert the Arab heart.
The same God rules the Arab heart who rules the Jewish heart… They will find the world opinion in their favor in their religious aspiration. There are hundreds of ways of reasoning with the Arabs, if they will only discard the help of the British bayonet. As it is, they are co-sharers with the British in despoiling a people who have done no wrong to them. I am not defending the Arab excesses. I wish they had chosen the way of non-violence in resisting what they rightly regarded as an unwarrantable encroachment upon their country. But according to the accepted canons of right and wrong, nothing can be said against the Arab resistance in the face of overwhelming odds.” […]
So much for “non-violence” under all circumstances…
But the astounding “act of hypnosis” (which Pinter referred to in his speech) ist still working: no matter how many “reports” about war crimes or crimes against humanity committed by the Israeli government are being published: they are followed by – silence.
How is that possible? The two involved “Merchants of Death”, the US and Israeli government have eternal impunity, no human law can apparently touch them… they seem to be a (immoral) class of their own… as the following dialogue between a professor of international law and a former legal counsel to the IDF, which really took place) shows:
“You have inflicted Nuremberg crimes on the Palestinians”. How can you justify that?
“That argument was rejected at Nuremberg”.
“We have PR-people in the United States who handle these matters for us.”