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Nobel Peace Prize Mistake

Of course Barack Obama is a jolly good fellow and has already done some good in the world. He makes good speeches about peace, and he's already pulled out of Iraq and started closing down the Guantanamo Bay Concentration Camp and the Bagram Torture Facility which his predecessor set up. So WELL DONE to President Obama! And good luck to him! The world sees the United States in a much better light since Barack Obama came to power. However, it mystifies us that he should win a Nobel Peace Prize so soon, and this is being described as "absurd" and "ridiculous" by notable pundits writing for The BBC and The Times. There's no doubt that Barack Obama is very much better than the evil incumbent previously on the throne on which he sits. However, a Nobel Peace Prize, surely it is a joke? Or a mistake?

What can the judges in Oslo do now? Surely they realise they've made a huge faux-pas, now that the world looks in dismay at the news. The following is an entirely fictional hypothetical letter, imagined to be what it might be like if the Nobel Peace Prize Committee decided to revoke their decision upon realising their mistake. (The Olympic Committee sometimes revoke someone's Olympic medal if it turns out later they were disqualified). Please remember the following message is not real. It's just a bit of fun:

Nobel Peace Prize.org
The Norwegian Nobel Institute
Henrik Ibsens gate 51
N-0255 Oslo

Dear Mr Obama,

We the members of the Norwegian Nobel Peace Prize Committee are sorry to have to inform you that we made an unfortunate mistake, and for that we apologise. Regrettably, we must ask you to return the Nobel Peace Prize that you were accidentally awarded.

Please find enclosed some Norwegian stamps and a padded bag, and please send us the Nobel Prize back in the post as soon as is convenient. We have no plans to award the prize to anyone else this year.

Here in Oslo we try to take a holistic view of life, but we sometimes get a bit out-of-touch with the ongoing history of the world, as a lot has happened since our distinguished founder Alfred Nobel (the inventor of dynamite) decided to start awarding prizes to people for great achievements.

When we mistakenly decided to award you with the 2009 Nobel Peace Prize, we had good intentions, and as you replaced that arch-enemy of peace George Warmonger Bush, this already put you on the nominations list. Your appointment marked a turning point in world politics. Prior to that, the United States had become a much hated nation and was regarded with disgust by most of the people of the world. However, you have put an end to that. We were also impressed with your major contribution to world peace in the strengthening of international diplomacy and cooperation between peoples. It is of course far better to enter into multilateral diplomacy than simply to threaten everyone with invasion and destruction. We are particularly impressed with your moves towards ridding the world of nuclear weapons. Plus, as you are abolishing the Guantanamo Bay Concentration Camp and the Bagram Torture Facility, this suggests reforms of a level similar to those in Germany after the Second World War. We're also looking forward to your abolition of your country's 25% contribution to the world's pollution, as we would prefer our fjords not to be flooded any deeper than they are, and we'd like our great forests of christmas trees to continue to have plenty of nice snow on them.

However, although we congratulate you on these major contributions to world peace, we must ask you for the Nobel Peace Prize to be returned as you have been disqualified on what may seem a technicality. The thing is, it says in the rules of the Nobel Peace Prize, that no winner of the Nobel Peace Prize shall be waging a futile or belligerent war during the year that they won the prize. Sadly, as you have sent a further thirty-five thousand troops into Afghanistan (a place which you had no business to wage war), this is against the rules of the Peace Prize, and this of itself disqualifies you from winning the Nobel Peace Prize. However, as a consolation, we will be sending you some dynamite, which we trust you will put to peaceful purposes.

We are sorry about the embarrassment that winning the Nobel Peace Prize initially caused you, as it must have been awkward trying to concoct a speech in which you were attempting to accept a Peace Prize while waging war at the same time, an obviously unjustifiable position to be in.

It is a shame that you missed having dinner with our glorious King Harald. He was in jovial spirits that you might attend, and he was quite chuffed that you gave him a nod.

Yours Sincerely,

The Norwegian Nobel Peace Prize Committee

(Message made up as a work of fiction for illustrative purposes)

In truth, Alfred Nobel was Swedish, and the Nobel Prizes are awarded in Physics, Chemistry, Medicine, Literature, and Economics, by the Nobel Prize Committee in Stockholm, Sweden. The Nobel Peace Prize is awarded by the Nobel Prize Committee in Oslo, Norway. This was all started by Alfred Nobel in 1895. He invented dynamite. Now let's not make the mistake that some people make about dynamite. Although it is an explosive, it has peaceful applications and it's not the best explosive for blowing people up. Dynamite explodes in a powerful slow way which is ideal for shifting quantities of heavy material in mining, and for other industrial purposes. In contrast, TNT explodes in fast detonations which produce plenty of blast, making it preferable for military purposes.

Legend has it that Alfred Nobel read his own obituary which said scandalous things about him (and had been published prematurely). He then wrote his Will, setting up the Nobel Foundation, to promote progress, peace, and the doing of good in the world. This is a commendable thing for sure.

For the official site of the Nobel Foundation, see http://nobelprize.org/

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