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Obama’s Nobel Peace Prize acceptance speech.

December 10, 2009 2 comments

I am writing this post while watching a live stream of Obama’s Nobel Peace Prize acceptance speech.

Despite the controversy surrounding his award, Obama, known for his oratory skills, gave a virtuoso performance for his acceptance speech. Not once in his 35-minute speech did he appear lost for words, which I suspect is the credit of the teleprompter. Nevertheless, I wouldn’t take anything away from his speech. His enunciation: crystal clear, intonation: pitch perfect and pauses: timed accurately. His style is backed by substance as he cleverly drew examples from the Second World War and other major conflicts to juxtapose his recent order of a 30,000-troop surge in Afghanistan whilst treading the issue of a “just war” carefully.

Obama started his speech with the usual pleasantries and added “I would be remiss if I did not acknowledge the considerable controversy that your generous decision has generated” which drew some audible ‘laughter of acknowledgement’ from the crowd.

The occasion was sombre if not serious as he became the only person to receive the Peace Prize as a wartime president.  His only applause from his speech came midway when he spoke about the Geneva Convention:

Where force is necessary, we have a moral and strategic interest in binding ourselves to certain rules of conduct. And even as we confront a vicious adversary that abides by no rules, I believe that the United States of America must remain a standard bearer in the conduct of war. That is what makes us different from those whom we fight. That is a source of our strength. That is why I prohibited torture. That is why I ordered the prison at Guantanamo Bay closed. And that is why I have reaffirmed America’s commitment to abide by the Geneva Conventions. We lose ourselves when we compromise the very ideals that we fight to defend.

Obama then added, “And we honor those ideals by upholding them not just when it is easy, but when it is hard.” Which sounds like a touch of JFK magic.

Hollywood actor Will Smith and his family were among a couple of celebrities I noticed in the crowd.

The full transcript of his speech is available here at ABC news website

DWTC says: Regardless of what many may say (that Obama has yet to accomplish much), history will look back and place him alongside the greats such as Mandela, MLK and JFK as long as he does not ‘screw up’. The reason I say this is because he has already gained more recognition in much less time compared to his predecessors, irrespective of what he may or may not have actually accomplished.

Personally, I think he should have declined the award; not just out of respect to those honored before him or those who deserve it more, but as a strategy to raise his profile even higher, as it would make a good media story that would show his commitment and prove that he is not just a ‘talker’. After all, Obama already writes history with every step that he takes, so he does not need the Peace Prize to cement his legacy – the Peace Prize needs him. 

 

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Categories: Politics Tags: , , ,
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