Barack Obama is heading for Oslo, Norway to receive his Nobel Peace Prize. He shouldn't expect the red carpet to be rolled out by Norwegians, however, as they are instead seeing red. The U.S. president will be skipping many ceremonies and functions normally attended by prize winners, and this is seen as a snub by many.
It is true that the President of the United States is quite a busy person, but that sill has not calmed the ire of Norway. The White House has canceled many of the events laureates normally attend. In the case of Obama, he has canceled a dinner with the Norwegian Nobel committee, a press conference, a television interview, appearances at a children's event promoting peace, a music concert, and finally a visit to an exhibition in his honor at the Nobel peace center.
Ah, bad that isn't all. Barack Obama has also declined a lunch invitation from the King of Norway. Not all agree that it was rude, however. According to a poll published by the daily tabloid VG, 44 percent of Norwegians believe it was rude for the U.S. President to cancel his scheduled lunch with the King of Norway. However, 34 percent say they believe it was acceptable. While Obama will not lunch with King Harald, he will still visit with him at the royal palace.
Despite being snubbed themselves, the Norwegian Nobel committee is backing their Nobel laureate, dismissing the criticism. Geir Lundestad, secretary of the committee said, "We always knew that there were too many events in the program. Obama has to govern the U.S. and we were told early on that he could not commit to all of them."
White House officials have stated that Obama would attempt to reconcile the award of the Nobel peace prize with sending an extra 30,000 U.S. troops to Afghanistan. According to their statement, he will directly address the issue of the irony of being awarded the peace prize while escalating the war in his acceptance speech.
Criticism has abounded since Barack Obama was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize. Many said it was based on "promise," not deeds. Meanwhile, as the award ceremony approaches, White House press secretary Robert Gibbs said: "The president understands and recognizes that he doesn't belong in the same conversation as Nelson Mandela and Mother Teresa."
Written by Michael Santo
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