Like every other country has its stereotypes about its neighbor country, so does Sweden has a particular one about Norway. They consider Norwegians a little bit stupid. So when the Norwegian committee announced that Barack Obama won the Nobel Peace Prize, Swedes found their opinion to be proved. Why shall a man who didn’t achieve peace yet, win such a prize? What reason was there, to select the US president for such an honor? Didn’t they have anybody else?
According to Alfred Nobel’s will, the Peace Prize should be awarded to the person who: ‘during the preceding year […] shall have done the most or the best work for fraternity between nations, for the abolition or reduction of standing armies and for the holding and promotion of peace congresses.”
When I interviewed Karl-Erik Norrman* he said: “At first glance, Barak Obama just had good intentions and is ambitious to transfer them into action. But if you look at the things he has done so far, like pulling back the missiles form the polish border, supporting a ceasefire between Israel and Palestinians, preparing Guantanamo to be closed, then you realize, that he has already tried and achieved more, than anybody else. Also if you look back to his predecessor, who was mostly disliked, this change from Bush to him and the hope he brought, is comparable to the fall of the Berlin Wall.”
So it’s true he possibly deserves this honor, because he ‘has done the most (…) for the holding and promotion of peace congresses.’
But isn’t it sad that nobody else has done more to make this world a better place? Or is it just Barak Obama’s popularity that brought him into the centre of attention and pushed any other candidate way behind?
So are the Swedes right or are the Norwegian just a step ahead and already realized, what wasn’t visible for the rest of the world?
*Karl-Erik Norman worked as ambassador for the Swedish government. Since he retired from his job, he works as author and founded the European Culture Parliament among other things.