I like President Obama. Not just because he’s a Democrat (although given how barkingly insane most Republicans are, this is obviously a good thing) but because he seems to be a man of principle.
He has to do his job in one of the most politically conservative countries in the world but, despite this, he has taken principled stands on healthcare and on the need to close the Guantanamo Bay concentration camp and distance the US from this appalling example of America’s abuse of human rights (although he still hasn’t done this yet, of course). Very commendable.
However, how Mr Obama can be awarded the Nobel Peace Prize (which he will receive in Oslo today) for his “extraordinary efforts to strengthen international diplomacy and co-operation between peoples” when just last week he escalated the unnecessary war in Afghanistan (which has already seen the deaths of up to 30,000 civilians), is totally incomprehensible.
The announcement of the award was made in October and, at the time, it was seen as a reward for the president’s promising start in promoting diplomacy and global co-operation and to encourage him to carry on with this approach. But even the president himself said that he “did not feel he deserved to be in the company of some of the ‘transformative figures’ who had previously received the award.”
And then, barely two months later, as if to support this statement, he announced a huge increase in troop numbers in Afghanistan which will obviously result in more deaths and injuries, to both military personnel and civilians.
The decision to award Obama the prize in the first place was clearly a politically motivated one and it would appear that it actually means very little to the recipient. The Nobel Committee should be embarrassed and ashamed… or perhaps they have a different definition of peace to the one I have.
The World March for Peace and Non-violence reached New York City earlier this week. Ironic that it should do so in a week that saw President Obama escalate the war in Afghanistan with the announcement of the deployment of an extra 30,000 US troops.
For more images of the World march in New York go here.
The World March for Peace and Non-violence is continuing its route around the world. It has recently arrived in the USA and this is the view of Red Bluff co-ordinator Mary Shaver Hobi .
Currently we are living in a world at war. We see it happening live on the nightly news ever more frequently these days. Perhaps we know of someone fighting in Iraq or Afghanistan, a son or daughter, brother or sister, father, mother, husband, wife or someone very close to the suffering of war. It is definitely not a peaceful feeling! Most of us feel helpless to make it go away. There is also a looming threat of a nuclear war happening somewhere in the world. This is not a peaceful thought, and it perturbs our minds and hearts even to imagine that this type of disaster could happen here or anywhere in the world.
Violence in our personal lives, whether we’re young or old, also creates a feeling of the absence of the peace we aspire to. This personal violence causes mental and physical suffering in ourselves and in those close to us.
Think for a moment of the violence that is produced when we discriminate against others because of their race, their sex, their religious beliefs, for economic or moral reasons, or when we mentally or physically do another harm. Treating others as we would like to be treated is a helpful attitude to diminish personal and social violence. It is a great tool for creating peace in your life.
War and other forms of violence are of great concern for people everywhere; but, you may ask, what can be done?
Currently a World March for Peace and Nonviolence is moving across the globe, participating in rallies, conferences, marches and meetings with dignitaries, including presidents of countries, the Pope, and Nobel Peace Prize laureates in Berlin, all to raise the awareness of the nuclear threat and a call for peace and nonviolence globally.
Red Bluff is one of a few cities in the United States the march will visit on its long journey that concludes on Jan. 2, 2010, in Punta de Vacas, Argentina, high in the Andes mountains. What an opportunity we have here!
At noon on December 2, at Red Bluff’s Park of Study and Reflection, there will be an event in which participants from Redding who joined at the start of the march in New Zealand, in October, will talk about their travels and experiences. Chico and Red Bluff peace groups, students from Chico State University and Red Bluff High School, artists, veterans of war, and others will speak.
This is only the beginning of what each of us can do to bring peace and nonviolence to our lives, our communities, our world.