He's done it again and this time he has won the Nobel Peace Prize, much to everyone's surprise – including his own. US President Barack Obama's prize has sparked a serious debate in the Middle East and here's a round up of some of the reactions.
Mo-ha-med, who describes himself as a “perpetual expat” at The Traveller Within sees the award as a publicity stunt:
I'm ashamed for the Nobel Peace prize committee.
The small, 5-member committee of Norwegians has been obsessed with publicity, and since few around the world know of the leading figures in the medical or economic realms, and few care about breakthroughs in physics and chemistry – the Peace prize is where they can make headlines.
As for Obama's peace efforts, the blogger, who is currently in Egypt, writes:
Obama's record in “world peace” is not shallow – it's abysmal.
Guantanamo is not closed. Iraq is still a mess. More troops are being sent to Afghanistan, not less. US soldiers involved in torture are not being tried.
And don't get me started on his ridiculous, ridiculous attempt at half-a**edly addressing the Middle East quagmire, which ended in the Israelis absolutely riding his a**.
On Twitter, gr33ndata [ar], from Egypt, writes:
And Amr Ezzat adds:
From Morocco, blogger Eatbees describes the situation as Obama's Paradox, and argues:
Barack Obama is a man of peace—according to the Nobel Prize committee, the preeminent man of peace of our time—yet he sits astride an army that is waging two simultaneous wars; a network of client states, foreign military bases and secret prisons; a spy agency that consorts with gangsters and terrorists; and so on. The logic of his position requires him, first of all, to defend the interests of the American empire (as defined by whom? the voters? Congress? his military chiefs? a cabal of bankers and industrialists?) and only then, as a purely secondary matter, to pursue the humanistic goal of peace.
So we have the paradox of a man of peace who sends robot planes into the mountains of Pakistan to bomb civilians, who shakes hands with extremists like Netanyahu and puppets like Abbas while avoiding true democrats like Zelaya of Honduras; but we are so entranced by what he could be and might do, that we give him the Nobel Prize after nine months of being there. Now I’m an admirer of this paradoxical man myself, but are we really so starved for humanistic leadership in the world that we are ready to reward intentions as if they were accomplished facts?
In Israel, Yael admits feeling sorry for Obama, saying:
[i]t does make you feel embarrassed for the honoree. This has put Obama, through no fault of his own, in a terribly embarrassing position.
Yesterday, one of the most-searched phrases in google was “Obama Nobel Prize is this a joke?” and today if you put the keywords Obama and Nobel in, one of the top search suggestions includes “for what.”
Her reasons why the prize isn't doing Obama any favours include:
First, people tend to feel a bit of resentment toward someone who gets something they haven’t earned, right? […] Second, this is totally setting Obama up for criticism in the future: not only if he doesn’t live up to–earn– the award (and perceptions of what is required to earn that reward is a pretty tall order), but anytime he does anything that could potentially be seen, even by small groups of opponents, as running counter to what a “peace prize winner” should be doing, we’ll be seeing sarcastic reflections on “Mr. Nobel Winner” and that is certainly bound to seep into the public consciousness over time.
She concludes her post writing:
It is really like the Nobel committee has set him up for failure, ridicule, and pity. They did him no favour at all.