Conferring of Nobel Peace Prize on US president Barak Obama has opened the floodgates of comments and criticism. It is generally being applauded as a positive step in right direction, especially by those who consider him to be a strong ray of hope in the otherwise dark world drowned in despair and hopelessness.
While announcing the award the Norwegian Nobel Committee was conscious that it was basing its decision on future hope when it said that Mr. Obama has given the people of the world hope for a better future. This award has been given not on achievements but hope for future achievements.
A number of people have criticised the award as premature and undeserved. The bitterest criticism has come from the worst victims of American policies. Hamas has termed it as absurd unless real changes are made in US policies towards recognising the rights of Palestinian people who are suffering under the yoke of Israeli occupation. Afghan Taliban have mocked the conferring of the award on a person who is responsible for escalation of atrocities on them by ordering thousands of extra troops in the country this year. They acidly remarked that he should be given Nobel prize for violence not for peace.
It should be appreciated that Mr. Obama, with his customarily humility, has acknowledged that though he did not deserve the prize yet he agreed to accept as a call to action.
There is much weight in the argument that Nobel Prize is given on lifelong achievements and not mere expectations. Therefore this prize for Obama, who is in the ninth month of presidency, is immature and unrealistic.
Majority of the same voices are for greater care and circumspection and a positive evaluation in awarding the prize otherwise it would put to question the integrity of the award, which has been the fate of several previous peace awards which were given on political considerations.
Now it becomes imperative for Obama to sincerely address several pressing world problems. Only wishful thinking and high sounding rhetoric for world peace would not help at all. Positive changes in US policies based on justice and respect for all nations must be introduced. Spirit of dialogue not arms twisting should be resorted to. Capitalistic exploitation of weaker nations must be stopped. Mere passing of a pious resolution for a nuclear-arms-free world is meaningless when the US possesses the largest stockpile of nuclear warheads. The US administration has been solidly backing the aggressive policies of Zionist occupation in Palestine. One and a half lakh of Palestinians are dying in the open air concentration camp of Gaza under the patronage of the US. The US always opposed the demands of inspection of Israeli nuclear facilities. Further it has been looking the other way whenever the question of Israeli nuclear weapons is raised. Iraq has been pulverised under US occupation and there is no hope of the end of occupation in near future. There is no ray of hope of restoration of normalcy in Afghanistan.
Mr. Obama has kindled the light of hope in the hearts of countless millions all over the world, that they can achieve a better future. But he should act positively and resolutely.