Thursday, December 10, 2009
Johan Galtung faults Nobel Peace Committee for Obama’s situation
by Larry Geller
[Johan Galtung founded the Peace Research Institute in Oslo, was visiting professor at UH Manoa, and is director of the international Transcend network. He is considered to be the father of peace research.]
In a possible attempt to avoid questions about the Afghan war, the White House has canceled the traditional press conference held by Nobel Peace Prize winners. In addition, the White House has canceled other events held every year, including a dinner with the Norwegian Nobel Committee, a television interview, appearances at a children’s event promoting peace, as well as a visit to an exhibition in his honor at the Nobel Peace Center. [Democracy Now, 12/10/2009]
In an article in the Norwegian paper Dagbladet, peace researcher Johan Galtung was among the first to comment on Obama’s refusal to participate in the traditional meetings and ceremonies, blaming it on the Nobel Prize Committee for setting up the situation (Google translation):
…The real shame "applies primarily to the Nobel Prize Committee and the blåøyde naive to the chairman and the secretary who put Obama in an unbearable squeeze he now trying to wriggle out of by minimizing the whole thing."
Galtung describes Obama as an ordinary American war president, but outlines what he thinks Obama could have done, [if] he was a peace president. And which in time could have done Barack Obama a deserved Nobel Peace Prize winner.
The hypothetical peace President Obama could, according to Galtung, have pulled troops out of both Iraq and Afghanistan, traveled to Saudi Arabia's capital Riyadh for an in-depth dialogue with the two sides of the royal house, and started an open dialogue between the U.S. and Islam.