Friday, 9 October 2009

Nobel Peace Prize

Give him the prize quick before we can think of a reason not to. Winning the election was great and he is doing fine as I am concerned. Just surprised he is doing this fine.


Mark Granier said...

Yeah, why not? A bit premature, but he was one of the very few who objected to the second Iraq war, when it could have harmed his career.

Desmond Swords said...
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Desmond Swords said...
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Desmond Swords said...
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Desmond Swords said...

The alternative to the prez, at this time last year, was disturbing. As I well remember cheering him on last summer, when a majority in the UK po-biz blogosphere, were oddly silent on the whole issue of who got in after B2: until the day BO got in, and then the cordial congrats began.

It was as if a paralysis had set in on the collective intelligence of the po-biz faithful this side of the puddle. We had all kinds of embaressingly banal and dangerously devisive rhetoric from the crash-car-politics two, pledging to go kick more ass and press the red button on the y'all who aint striped to the bone in the flag of stars and unbending bars that say - God bless the US who get our world-view from Fox news.

On the night of his election, I remember distinctly, it was a clear, still night, almost supernaturally so; which I noticed when I went outside at 4 am and became struck by an idea, on realising Kilmainham jail was barely one kilometer away: of using the denoument of what creative process had been chanelling itself via the intellect for the last few months, into the excercise of trying to write a poem.

The perfect occassion, I thought, to name every one of the 14 men executed up the road, for their roles in the 1916 Easter Rising.

Yeats names a few in his 1916 poem, from the 14 (of the 16 executed) who were shot in Kilmainham jail (two more in English jails) and I thought, name the lot, using the fizz of mental energy, or imbas (poetic bubbling of the mind) as the fuel with which to skate within the rink of one's intellect and imagination.

It turned out to be an exercise in metrical ordering of 14 names. A one sentence piece which took its cue from the brief outside moment, drinking in the denoument as i gazed skyward, relieved the double act of hawk and MILF didn't make it to the button-room

No jot of wind to stir the leaves
on a hush November night

only fourteen silent ghosts
from a gaol down the road

whispering of slavery
and subjugation

inequality and doubt -
that the freedom

of humanity’s inalienable
democratic right

to believe this love now
in Kilmainham

John MacBride and Pádraic
Pearse, Thomas Clarke

and Éamonn Ceantt,
is the poetry unfolding

on a cold November night -
Con Colbert, Joseph Plunkett,

Seán Heuston and Willie Pearse
who move within the canopy

dissolving tyranny and fear
James Connolly, Seán MacDermott,

Michael Mallin and Rosa Parkes
faced on a bus in Alabama

Little Rock - Arkansas
and on the day of execution

of the life but not idea
Thomas MacDonagh - Michael

O’Hanrahan and Edward
Daly forged, for a people

with their blood, into belief
the whole world loves

a creed of hope, for freedom
and peace to live.


It took several hours to hammer into shape and was one of the few poems I wrote last year.

I stopped writing poetry, because I have decided to become a woman, an actress who peopel want for my mind, not the new body I am going to buy when I sell this poem to Dermot Desmond for twenty million, when its importance becomes known, once the fair hacks of British Christendom discover it and agitate for me to be awrded some large stipend from our majestic all powerful head of states above the rim of earthly knowing

mo chara

Gwil W said...

I am absolutely delighted that Obama has been awarded the Nobel Peace Prize. Cynics and critics say that he hasn't done anything but talk.
A long journey begins with a first step. This is a beginning. Others will follow.
Talk up peace and talk down war. That's the way forward. Winston Churchill knew that: "Far better to jaw-jaw than to war-war."

George S said...

Yes, I am an Obama fan, on account of who he is, how he talks and what he intends to do. But talking peace is one thing and doing it - and doing it right, for the best of reasons, and, what is most difficult, with the best of results - is more difficult. Mrs Thatcher talked about bringing peace and harmony, quoting St Francis on the doors of No 10 when she was elected.

There is no comparison between Obama and Margaret Thatcher of course.

I am not sure the prize is going to do much good for Obama in the USA, the same way it did no good when The Guardian exhorted readers to write to people in America pleading with them not to vote Bush.

I have a feeling that the prize was awarded for some of the following reasons:

1. Sheer enthusiasm and relief;
2. As a way of trying to ensure that Obama would do what the prize-giving committee would have him do;
3. To signal (in my view wrong-headedly) to the USA that this is the kind of thing they should be voting for if they want to be liked by Europe;
4. A message to the World that they should treat the man with respect because we hold him in high regard;

Nos. 1 and 4 are good and understandable reasons. I am not so sure about 2 and 3.

Obama's American enemies are a loathsome idiotic bunch by and large, or at least what I read of them suggests they are. I have absolutely no sympathy for them.

But for moderate Republicans and even for incertain Democrats it might seem a little, well, patronising.

As many have pointed out Morgan Tsvangirai might have had a decent case.

I am not advocating Tsvangirai in particular (though there is a man who needs some international support, if ever there was one), and am generally delighted with anything good that comes Obama's way, but I am not fully convinced that this is such a good thing. There is still Afghanistan, and Iran, and the Middle East generally. There is a vast amount ahead. There are no results, not even in the sense we normally talk about results in politics, since, as we know, history has no results, except for the dead.

Paul H said...

Well said, George.

Kinga said...

Very well said. Thank you.

There is no doubt in my mind that Mr. Obama is among those who deserves a Nobel Peace Prize.

If I am bitter a bit about it, well... there are two reasons. (1) I feel it was rather a gesture than a recognition (but again: should it be either/or?) (2) scanning through the 200+ nominees I think there are a lot who might have been able to use the 15-minute-fame (and the money) to save either their or other people's life, literally and concretely. (But again, I have a marshmellow heart.)

Nevertheless critics tend to forget that Obama has a long record of advocating peace (and Co.) in a lot of areas (not just in foreign policy but at home as well), and it goes back to the time when hardly anybody knew his name...

(Forgive my English I am not a native speaker.)

Unknown said...

Interesting (and in one sense encouraging)to note how few people have assumed he received the reward for services to racial equality. Yet what his just running for POTUS stands for - compare Colin Powell's attitude here - let alone what his winning means - have done so much for attitudes that - now - loons aside - he really is just being judged on present and potential performance.

The very silence on the subject in relation to the Nobel Peace Prize is a tribute to his success. Here's to 3 more years of the same.

Anonymous said...

I have a feeling he is privately embarassed by receiving the award at this stage of his presidency.

Some auxilliary pleasure was to be had from watching the sour-faced John Bolton ooze affront at the world urinating on his and his collective travellers face. This is going to ramp the paranoia and lunacy on that wing up to even more shrill heights.


George S said...

Your English is excellent, Kinga. The points are well made.

And, yes of course, James. That is part of what I mean by 'who he is'. That 'who' has achieved an enormous amount simply by daring to enter the presidential race and winning. It was a transforming event (although we should not forget the voters of the USA for electing him, because he couldn't have done it without them). I wish him all the grace and luck in the world. Maybe that in itself is worth a Nobel Prize for Peace. Maybe. As Kinga says above, he needs neither the fame or the money, so who does?

In a way this is his second winning election, his European election. Interesting, of course, to look down the list of the past winners.

Nevertheless, part of me fears precisely the bien part of the bien pensant liberal intelligentsia of whom I myself am a very minor member. We do rather tend to congratulate ourselves on our intelligence, kindness, wisdom and forward thinking. It sometimes seems to me we have given ourselves the Nobel Prize for Peace, by giving it to Obama.

Billy C said...

I agree, George. It seem as though we Europeans are becoming the harbingers of peace and have tried to leave behind the old ways of creating world havoc. This award, I reckon, is because 'we' recognise a powerful ally to that end. The carrot and the stick. It's also, I believe, two fingers up to a large part of American society who no longer share our values. Obama is as much our man as he is those of liberal thought in America.

George S said...

But Billy, it is the Americans who elected him, not us. That means in principle more Americans were for him than against him, doesn't it? I don't think we can bad mouth the Americans generally. It wasn't just a few liberals who voted for Obama.

And creating world havoc was a function of military power. I doubt whether Europe is in any position to create havoc. Nor does it have empires any more to provide it with cheap labour and goods. We have to be careful not to pride ourselves on virtues we cannot help cultivating.

Gwil W said...

The "vitues we cannot help cultivating" are the most precious things we have and we must be careful that we don't fall into the various traps that will be laid before us. We have only just left the Balkans War behind. Or have we? Other potential sources of conflict simmer below the surface.
I'm delighted to see that Turkey and Armenia signed those 'way forward' protocols yesterday. These are the kind of things the world needs to see, and will do. These are the kinds of free gifts that will come along because of the new man in the White House and his far-sighted vision of the possibility of a peaceful world.
We may thank the Americans for electing him and in a curious way Bush, Rumsfeld & Co. for making Obama's election possible - for paving the way so to speak. We have him now for another 7 years. As Europe has changed in a short time so the world can change almost beyond our wildest hopes. But ironically it won't be Europe which brings it about. Ciao my friends!