What Happens When The Nobel Peace Prize Is Turned Into The VH1 Music Award?

by Pejman Yousefzadeh on October 10, 2009

Well, for one thing, more worthy candidates for the Peace Prize–and the causes they espouse–suffer a tremendous setback:

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.

Huang Ciping, an engineer turned activist who is executive director of Wei’s Washington-based foundation, said that China “has come to such a turning point that the prize might have helped.”

“The Nobel Peace Prize committee has the full right to decide to give coal to those who suffer and struggle or to present flowers to the powerful,” she said.

But she said of the decision: “It is both a pity for the Chinese people and a danger to world peace.”

In his statement yesterday, President Obama said the following:

To be honest, I do not feel that I deserve to be in the company of so many of the transformative figures who’ve been honored by this prize — men and women who’ve inspired me and inspired the entire world through their courageous pursuit of peace.

Which is why the President ought to have politely declined the prize, and pointed out in his comments that there were more worthy candidates who ought to have been awarded instead. Mind you, the bulk of scorn concerning this issue ought to be directed to the Nobel Committee for its fatuous decision, and the fatuous statement that went along with the decision. But in his acceptance of an award he was plainly unqualified for, the President did not exactly cover himself in glory either.

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