Thursday, December 10, 2009

Obama Accepts Peace Prize

How many Noble Peace Prize winners can you remember? Can you name the last ten? How about the last two? How about the current winner? Wither or not you agree with the Norwegian Committee’s choice for the Peace Prize, without doubt many Americans will remember at least one person who won it.

President Obama said that he was "surprised and deeply humbled" by the decision of the Norwegian Nobel Committee to award him the 2009 Nobel Peace Prize. Yet he was realistic when it came to having his own troops abroad. Obama told his audience in Oslo's City Hall, "I face the world as it is, and cannot stand idle in the face of threats to the American people" He lauded Gandhi and Martin Luther King Jr., preachers of nonviolent action, but he added, "A nonviolent movement could not have halted Hitler's armies. Negotiations cannot convince al-Qaida's leaders to lay down their arms."

His boldly proclaimed, "To say that force is sometimes necessary is not a call to cynicism, it is a recognition of history."

The decision that the Nobel Peace Prize for 2009 be awarded to President Barack Obama was based on his efforts to strengthen international diplomacy and cooperation between peoples. The Committee has attached special importance to Obama's vision of and work for a world without nuclear weapons.

The Nobel Peace Prize is funded by the massive wealth of Alfred B. Nobel (21 October 1833 - 10 December 1896). He was a chemist, engineer, innovator, armaments manufacturer and the inventor of dynamite. He owned Bofors, a major armaments manufacturer, which he had redirected from its previous role as an iron and steel mill. Nobel held 355 different patents, dynamite being the most famous.

In 1888 a French News paper published a premature obituary. The obituary condemned Nobel for the inventions of dynamite saying that the “mercant of death is dead,“ and that "Dr. Alfred Nobel, who became rich by finding ways to kill more people faster than ever before, died yesterday." Not wanting to be remembered that way he used his enormous fortune to institute the Nobel Peace Prize.

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