From one Nobel laureate to another

President Martti Ahtisaari, the Nobel Peace Prize laureate from two years ago, appeared today morning in a Finnish television interview, which ended a few minutes ago. The President was asked if he wished to send special Christmas greetings to anyone. His response was: “To the President of the United States, I would send the greetings that it’s high time you started earning your Nobel Peace Prize”.

I confess that I didn’t particularly like Ahtisaari when he was serving as the President of the Republic. However, afterwards, I have noticed to my surprise that I actually do feel respect towards him and his opinions quite often. This was one of those moments again.

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2 Responses to From one Nobel laureate to another

  1. Noel Maurer says:

    “However, afterwards, I have noticed to my surprise that I actually do feel respect towards him and his opinions quite often. This was one of those moments again.”

    Uh, why? Given that (a) President Obama neither asked for nor wanted the prize, and (b) Mr. Ahtisaari does not seem to have stated what exactly it is that he wants the POTUS to do in order to earn his prize, it strikes me as nothing but a cheap shot. My first guess is pure misdirected spite — he feels that his Nobel has been devalued by President Obama’s, but instead of taking it out on Oslo, he makes a snide remark to the President. My second guess is that … well, I don’t have a second guess.

    But it isn’t like you to admire spite or snideness, which means that I must be missing something. Context? Translation? Something else? An inquiring mind wants to know.

  2. Jussi Jalonen says:

    I’m smiling here, because I knew that I would get you hooked with this, Noel.

    First, let’s drop the argument a), because in such cases, the recipient can decline to accept the prize, as testified by the examples of Lê Ðức Thọ and Jean-Paul Sartre.

    As for b), of course the interview contained a rather long speech on Afghanistan and, even more importantly, on the Mid-East situation. Let’s keep in mind that Ahtisaari is a member of The Elders, who are focusing on the Mid-East crisis, and who will most likely meet also Obama as the negotiations commence in the spring.

    Somehow, I don’t quite think that placing expectations on President Barack Obama in this respect, especially since he actually decided to accept the Nobel prize, qualifies as a “cheap shot”. Your mileage may vary.

    Best,

    J. J.

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