Thursday, December 10, 2009

Nobel Peace Prize, bah humbug

So, Barack Obama's in town right now, picking up his sadly undeserved Peace Prize. One hundred million crowns down the drain, if you ask me. It makes me sad to see all this tremendous security that apparently the Americans think is necessary for their president. I mean, it probably is. But that's what's so sad. Our king can walk from the Palace to go to the movies with a regular audience if he wants, and there's no barriers erected and no manhole covers needing to be welded shut ... just a couple of cops out of uniform and, from what I hear, usually the queen. :-) I like Norway. :-)

Anyway. To mark the occasion, such as it is, I'd like to share a couple of videos I've made from a recent video to the Nobel Peace Center here in Oslo. The first shows one of the permanent exhibits, the Nobel Field. It's both interesting and beautiful, so take a look. :-) The second shows the temporary exhibition From King to Obama, which is dedicated to the great Martin Luther King Jr and to Barack Obama. The exhibiton shows a lot of information about both men's careers and background, and about the times in which they lived and live. (Please don't get shot here, Mr President. ;-) It was quite interesting, I'm glad I saw it. I especially liked all the black and white photos from Dr King's career and significant events around the US in his lifetime.

I was actually downtown when he greeted the crowds from the balcony at Grand Hotel (encased in bulletproof glass, of course o_O) but there were so many people there that I didn't see a thing. :-D I normally wouldn't have been there - I'd have had a much better view watching TV at home ;-) - but I had to be there anyway ... Anne Ida and I had tickets to Rune Andersen's show at Latter, so we had to be around. :-) The show was great, see it if you get the chance. Andersen is such a funny guy ... his Lars Monsen impression was priceless. And Espen Beranek Holm doing Erling Lægreid was just too funny, I mean, wow. Spot on. :-D My face still hurts from laughing so hard. :-)

In closing, a quote that seems appropriate today.

Never think that war, no matter how necessary, nor how justified, is not a crime.
Ernest Hemingway

I hope that Obama will keep that in mind. :-(


Anonymous said...

I'm with you all the way regarding Obama's undeserved Peace Prize. I just want to quibble a bit with Hemingway.

Hemingway's quote is contradictory. If something, anything, is both necessary and justified then in what sense can we call it a crime?

A crime is the pursuit of a less moral action when a nobler course could have been chosen. Because war is horrible doesn't make it a crime. Sometimes the only moral option available is horrible.


Leisha Camden said...

I see what you're saying, but I'm not sure I can agree with you.

Let's say I had a child. I don't, but just for the sake of argument. :-) Obviously then I would be likely to do whatever I could to protect that child. If a situation should arise where some other person were to threaten the life of the child, and I could save the latter by killing the former ... ?

Certainly I would be justified in doing all I could to save my child's life. And I think most people would consider it necessary for me as a mother to do so. I might well escape any punishment for my action. But regardless of that, to take the life of another human being is always a crime. The proof of which is that I would in all likelihood be brought to trial - I'd be acquitted, hopefully, but I would have to be tried for what was indubitably a crime.

I think I would rephrase your last sentence: Sometimes the most moral option available is a crime. Ie, a lesser crime may prevent a greater, but still remain a crime, even so.

Thank you for your well articulated and thought out comment. :-)

Paz said...

agree that its great that the king can go to cinema etc, our President can be seen cycling in the Park in the morning and she takes the time to wave and talk to people.
too tired to comment on the quote

Anonymous said...

Hei! Thanks for your response to my comment. Just a little follow up... Perhaps we disagree a bit on the definition of a "crime".

To me a crime is not defined by a bad outcome. A crime is defined by a poor moral choice.

Boxed into a corner and faced between a bad outcome and a worse outcome, choosing the bad outcome is not a crime. It's not a lesser crime, it's not any kind of crime.

It may be bad, but it was the best choice you had. A crime is an immoral act which is altogether different.

On a lighter note, I love your blog and I'm delighted that you're a Helena Bergström fan!


Leisha Camden said...

Hello again - thanks for coming back, and thanks for the compliment, I'm so glad you're enjoying the blog. :-) And Helena Bergström is of course divine, who can think otherwise ... !! ;-)

About the topic of the thread, though, yes, I think that the problem here, if there is a problem, is that we define 'crime' differently. To me, certain acts are always wrong. To kill a fellow human being, that's a crime regardless of circumstances - it's just always wrong. Morally, ethically wrong. But sometimes the only other option - eg, fail to protect one's child - is more wrong. So then you're justified in doing something that is morally wrong.

I think, actually, that people who have actually been in that situation would tend to agree with me. You may not be sorry that you did it, because the alternative outcome would have been worse, but you still can never get over what you had to do.

A very interesting discussion, I have to say. :-)