Reaction to Obama winning Nobel Peace Prize

10/09/09 Seán Kinane
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Today the Nobel Committee awarded this year’s Nobel Peace Prize to President Barack Obama. In a five minute speech at the White House, Obama said he was surprised and deeply humbled by the decision. He says the problems of the 21st Century can’t be confronted by any one leader or nation.

President Obama, "And that is why my administration has worked to establish a new era of engagement in which all must take responsibility for the world we seek. we cannot tolerate a world in which nuclear weapons spread to more nations, in which the terror of a nuclear holocaust endangers more people. That is why we have taken concrete steps to pursue a world without nuclear weapons because all nations have the right to pursue peaceful nuclear power, but all nations have the responsibility to demonstrate their peaceful intentions."

A major climate summit is scheduled for later this year in Copenhagen. Obama laid responsibility for curbing greenhouse gas emissions both onto developing countries and the developed economies that have caused most of the current pollution.

President Obama, "We cannot accept the growing threat posed by climate change, which could forever damage the world we pass on to our children, sowing conflict and famine, destroying coastlines, and emptying cities. And that is why all nations must now accept their share of responsibility for transforming the way we use energy."

Reaction around the world to the selection of Obama is mixed. In an interview with WLS, the Reverend Jesse Jackson said Obama's efforts to overcome barriers to peace have earned him the Nobel Peace Prize.

Jesse Jackson, "Let me first one to offer early congratulations to President Barack Obama for receiving the Nobel Peace Prize choosing diplomacy over a lot bellicose rhetoric and threats and attempts to breakdown these various religious and other barriers that have stood between us and peace for so long. As our home guy and our President he deserves our congratulations."

At a meeting of the Society of Environmental Journalists, Former Vice President Al Gore said the importance of Obama’s achievements will become clearer over time.

Al Gore, "I think it is extremely well deserved. I think much of what he has accomplished already is going to more far more appreciated in the eyes of history. I think it is thrilling that president Barack Obama has been awarded the Nobel Peace Prize. I think it is an honor for our country."

Speaking with reporters, Israeli President Shimon Peres said Obama deserves the Nobel Peace Prize.

Shimon Peres, "I am very encouraged by the recognition of this most unusual and (couraging) impact of the leadership of the President of the US Barack Obama. I congratulate you from the depth of my heart. You are proud and we are proud about you, God bless you."

On the WMNF program True Talk Friday morning, hosts Samar Jarrah and Ahmed Bedier got reaction from Ali Abunimah. He’s the editor and founder of the website Electronic Intifada.

Ali Abunimah, "My reaction is like a lot of other people, it is just to say for what? I think it is particularly sad that it came on the morning that we hear 50 people have been killed in a suicide bombing in Preshwahar in Pakistan and this is most certainly related to the escalation of the war in Afghanistan and Pakistan. Obama promised us during the election campaign and is now in the process of delivering, and I think it is really shocking that this comes after this complete cave in and surrender to the intransigent and extremist Israeli government over the issue of Israels illegal settlement which make peace impossible. The lack of change we have seen. We talk about Obama wanting to have a nuclear free world, I think they cited that, but the news came out in just the last few days that Obama agreed to continue the US policy of helping Israel to cover up its massive nuclear arsenal that threatens much of humanity. So I think it's very sad."

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