US president Barack Obama’s predicament (on hearing about Nobel Peace Prize) seems similar to that of a dashing man who comes face-to-face with a fawning socialite in public who gushes: “Darling I love you from the bottom of my heart.” The media is having a field day revelling in this hot/sexy topic that has landed in their lap.
This element of surprise (after the award’s announcement) has happened before…when the media/public was not sure whether to congratulate the winner, or had wondered how to react. Nobel Peace Prize was earlier awarded to Henry Kissinger and Yasser Arafat. Funnily, Mahatma Gandhi, described as the “real apostle of peace and non-violence”, never got this award.
Some recent Obama news excerpts: (Slate): “The award has essentially been given for the president’s speech-making ability, which means his political handlers made the right call by sending him to Berlin during last year’s election… To a wordsmith who came to office promising to embrace the globe…
“…Pundits win because the Nobel committee has validated the idea that speeches and atmospherics are really important…” See here…
” (Huffington Post) Obviously, the award is based on the hope that Obama will achieve real progress in advancing diplomacy rather than confrontation around the globe. To some degree, he already has. American relations with Europe are vastly improved. He is focusing on global warming. Negotiations are underway with Iran.
“So are nuclear arms reductions talks with Russia. Leading conservatives such as George Shultz are calling for immediately ending sanctions on Cuba and restoring relations with it, as was emphasized at a New American Foundation event on the presidential Sequoia yacht hosted by Steve Clemons in Washington, D.C. last night. In short, the moment is ripe for real change. So Obama needs to do more.” Read more here…
” (Times of India) Peace Nobel has a history of sparking controversies…The Nobel peace going to Barack Obama has got tongues wagging about whether a debutante leader should be put on par with global political heavyweights. But this isn’t the first time the prize has caused controversy. Here are a few:
“Theodore Roosevelt (1905): Became the first politician to win the prize for his mediation in the Russo-Japanese war. However, he was well known for his bellicose posture. In the 1898 Spanish American war he led a US regiment in Cuba
and in later years used military to establish US supremacy in the Caribbean.
“Woodrow Wilson (1919): The Peace Prize was awarded to the US president for his crucial role in establishing the League of Nations. The league however was part of the Treaty of Versailles which later laid the seeds of Nazism…
“…Henry Kissinger (1973): US national security adviser and secretary of state Kissinger was awarded the prize with North Vietnamese leader Le Duc Tho for a 1973 agreement to bring ceasefire and withdrawal of US forces. Two of the prize committee members quit, Tho declined the Nobel and Kissinger did not come to Oslo to receive it…”
” (India Syndicate) On Friday, US President Barack Obama was selected as the winner of the 2009 Nobel Peace Prize for striving to get the world rid of nuclear weapons and this has set public social networks, especially Twitter, on fire…” See here…
The Los Angeles Times article gives an interesting peep into the predicament of poor Barack Obama…
” (LA Times) The gold medallion given to recipients of the Nobel Prize doesn’t come with a ribbon, but the award could still end up being a weight around President Obama’s neck.
“Intended to honor Obama for altering the nation’s diplomatic direction, the award is likely to call attention to how much of the administration’s agenda — including closing Guantanamo Bay and winding down the war in Iraq — remains undone, and to the problematic nature of the American presence in Afghanistan…” More here…
” (AFP) China’s dissidents are voicing unease about President Barack Obama’s Nobel Peace Prize, saying that the award could have been effective in promoting human rights in their country.
“Some in China’s democracy movement are outraged at what they see as a weak stance on rights by Obama, who the same week as Friday’s announcement avoided a meeting with Tibet’s exiled Dalai Lama that would have upset Beijing.
“Chinese activists had been tipped as Nobel contenders on this year of anniversaries, when China marked 60 years of communist rule, 50 years since the Dalai Lama’s flight and 20 years since the crushing of the Tiananmen Square democracy uprising.
“Potential laureates included Hu Jia, locked up since December 2007 after exposing government abuses and the plight of China’s AIDS sufferers, and Wei Jingsheng, a onetime electrician who spent 18 years in prison after brazenly challenging former leader Deng Xiaoping to bring democracy…” See here…
Swaraaj Chauhan describes his two-decade-long stint as a full-time journalist as eventful, purposeful, and full of joy and excitement. In 1993 he could foresee a different work culture appearing on the horizon, and decided to devote full time to teaching journalism (also, partly, with a desire to give back to the community from where he had enriched himself so much.)
Alongside, he worked for about a year in 1993 for the US State Department’s SPAN magazine, a nearly five-decade-old art and culture monthly magazine promoting US-India relations. It gave him an excellent opportunity to learn about things American, plus the pleasure of playing tennis in the lavish American embassy compound in the heart of New Delhi.
In !995 he joined WWF-India as a full-time media and environment education consultant and worked there for five years travelling a great deal, including to Husum in Germany as a part of the international team to formulate WWF’s Eco-tourism policy.
He taught journalism to honors students in a college affiliated to the University of Delhi, as also at the prestigious Indian Institute of Mass Communication where he lectured on “Development Journalism” to mid-career journalists/Information officers from the SAARC, African, East European and Latin American countries, for eight years.
In 2004 the BBC World Service Trust (BBC WST) selected him as a Trainer/Mentor for India under a European Union project. In 2008/09 He completed another European Union-funded project for the BBC WST related to Disaster Management and media coverage in two eastern States in India — West Bengal and Orissa.
Last year, he spent a couple of months in Australia and enjoyed trekking, and also taught for a while at the University of South Australia.
Recently, he was appointed as a Member of the Board of Studies at Chitkara University in Chandigarh, a beautiful city in North India designed by the famous Swiss/French architect Le Corbusier. He also teaches undergraduate and postgraduate students there.
He loves trekking, especially in the hills, and never misses an opportunity to play a game of tennis. The Western and Indian classical music are always within his reach for instant relaxation.
And last, but not least, is his firm belief in the power of the positive thought to heal oneself and others.