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Mahinda Rajapaksa not Barack Obama should be given Nobel Peace Prize

by Jonathan Kay

I am still trying to figure out why the Nobel Committee gave Barack Obama its annual peace prize. As far as it appears, the award was based on the fact that the U.S. President is a good-natured fellow who people seem to like — and who isn’t George W. Bush.

In fact, committee chairman Thorbjoen Jagland didn’t really try to pretend otherwise. Consider the committee’s stated reasons, along with Mr. Jagland’s comments when reporters pressed him to justify Mr. Obama’s selection:

“He has created a new international climate.”

“One of the first things he did was to go to Cairo to try to reach out to the Muslim world, then to restart the Mideast negotiations, and then he reached out to the rest of the world through international institutions.“

“Obama has as president created a new climate in international politics. Multilateral diplomacy has regained a central position, with emphasis on the role that the United Nations and other international institutions can play.”

“Obama [has] captured the world’s attention and given its people hope for a better future.”

What seems clear from all this bafflegab is that Mr. Obama is being given his award for mere words — for striking fashionable poses in favour of multilateralism, for making a nice speech in Cairo, for offering “hope.” Months after Americans learned to dismiss Mr. Obama’s 2008 presidential campaign slogans as the bromides they were, Scandinavians apparently are still drinking his Kool-aid.

So who should have gotten the Nobel peace prize?

Instead of droning on about “hope” and “a new international climate,” a group of people charged with awarding an annual peace prize might find it useful to focus on a more mundane and obvious inquiry. To wit: What part of the planet was beset by bloody war in 2008, but is now entirely at peace?

The only nation that fits the bill is Sri Lanka. And the reason for that is a ruthless military campaign waged by President Mahinda Rajapaksa against a militarized Tamil death cult known as the Tamil Tigers. This conflict has taken nearly 100,000 lives since it began three decades ago. But Rajapaksa ended it definitively at one stroke, killing or capturing virtually the entire Tiger leadership. It is one of the only times in the history of modern warfare that a guerrilla/terrorist movement has been utterly destroyed in such a fashion. Overnight, war became a stranger to Sri Lanka.

Sounds like a pretty good candidate for a “peace” prize, don’t you think?

But of course, actually making peace is not what this nominal peace prize is about. It’s about going through the motions of pursuing peace in a touchy-feely UN-approved way.
Mr. Rajapaksa has done some fairly nasty things en route to destroying the Tigers — including imprisoning and perhaps even killing pesky journalists and human-rights activists. More importantly (from a Scandinavian point of view), Mr. Rajapaksa committed an unpardonable foreign-policy sin en route to his victory: flouting “multilateralism.” Which is to say that he ignored the bien pensant voices from abroad urging him to let the Tigers go just as the Sri Lankan military was about to administer the coup de grace. Had he listened, the war would continue to this day.

It’s so much more fashionable to honour a man such as Mr. Obama, whose foreign-policy record hasn’t been sullied by the moral trade-offs that inevitably accompany actually doing something to create peace on the battlefield.

Since the entire body of work for which Mr. Obama is being honoured consists of idealistic pronouncements, the Nobel prize committee was able to pick him without worrying that the choice could stir up controversy among umbraged minority groups, Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch, or the UN’s various institutional cheerleaders.

With this pick, the Nobel committee has declared itself to be a debating society — and it has given its shiny prize to the nice man who gave the best speech. It’s like those beauty pageants wherein the MC asks contestants what they would do to promote world peace. The best answer earns applause, flowers and a trophy. But no one expects the winner to actually go out in her tiara and ballroom gown and stop people from fighting.

That task is left to head-knockers such as Mahinda Rajapaksa, Colombian President Alvaro Uribe, former Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon and Gen. Stanley McChrystal in Afghanistan. Their job is difficult and bloody. But every once in a while, as in Sri Lanka this year, they actually defeat the bad guys.

Then they go home, and turn on their televisions, and watch men such as Mr. Obama get showered with praise for their pretty words.

(This blog by Jonathan Kay appeared in the "National Post" newspaper's "full Comment" section under the heading 'Jonathan Kay: Giving Barack Obama the Nobel peace prize is ridiculous')


Mahinda doesn't need Nobel Peace prizes. He is permanently etched in the hearts of millions of Sri Lankans who can now move about in the country freely, plan their future a little bit more certainity and I believe that's what matters to him most.

He is also aware that the road to more sustainable peace is still a long way off and of course the Scandinavians are a real road block to durable peace in Sri Lanka.

Posted by: Hela | October 9, 2009 07:58 PM

The national post truly embodies right-wing nonsense. Furthermore, this writer's classification of good and bad guys simply speaks for itself. If giving Obama the Nobel peace prize is ridiculous, I suppose to deserve the honor he would have to alienate an American minority group and launch a full-scale war without considerations for civilain life. I wonder if Jonathan Kay would be singing this tune if he was one of the thousands languishing in restricted camps.

Posted by: 01 | October 9, 2009 08:35 PM

Agreed.The Nobel Peace Prize should have been jointly awarded to Dr.Percy Rajapakse,Dr.Gothapaya Rajapakse and Dr.Mervin Silva.I think the Nobel Committee had made a huge mistake!

Posted by: Siva | October 9, 2009 09:42 PM

I do not know what to say. However if I start talking I must ensure that I get the Nobel Peace Prize. My actions do not count. Only what I say counts. Are we in a new world order?


Posted by: chinthaka | October 9, 2009 10:22 PM

My foot Mahinda. What is he doing post war, the poor guys are still in camps, screening LTTE sympathisers????

Posted by: Anonymous | October 10, 2009 12:16 AM

Nobel Prize for MR? Why? What has he done? Has he done anything which qualifies him for something like Nobel Peace Prize?

Posted by: Anonymous | October 10, 2009 12:21 AM

Mahinda could have got it.., he should have got it if had made a frank attempt to seek a reconciliatory solution.

Even then I dont think any one will get the prize while bashing the West. Only people praise the west are eligible for it.

Posted by: MSM | October 10, 2009 12:44 AM

I agree giving Obama the nobel prize is a bit off the mark and no doubt he himself was surprised. Johnny I also understand your sarcasm in suggesting Mahinda Rajapakse for the prize. Perhaps the powers-that-be should create a new category called 'The Nobel War Prize'.

Posted by: Yasiru | October 10, 2009 01:08 AM

Ido agree that the President of the USA HAS NOT DONE ANYTHING OF NOTE to be awarded the Nobel Peace Prize. He may be working towards achieving world peace,but is a long ,long way off.The President of Sri Lanka, on the other hand has destroyed a 30 year terrorist war in the country,which in fact adversely affected the International Community whilst it lasted,with abductions,drug peddling,gun running,criminal activity,smuggling,etc ,all of which affected various countries,like India,Thailand,Malaysia,Canada,USA,Europe,and others.Now that the scourge is over we Sri Lankans can travel around without fear and the International Community will benefit, in time to come.And the man who actively brought about this peace through his tough leadership qualities was the Sri Lankan President;the TERRORIST WAR IS OVER. For this alone he should have been awarded the NOBEL PEACE PRIZE if for nothing else.

Posted by: lucky | October 10, 2009 01:33 AM

Mr. Kay,

The Difference is Barack Obama is closing the Illegal Detention Camps in contrast to Mahinda who is opening and locking up ( quarter) million people.

Do we need glasses and ear phones to know this facts ?


Posted by: Anonymous | October 10, 2009 01:52 AM

Obama has been in office for just nine months of his four-year term. America is not at peace. Its troops are still fighting and dying in Iraq and Afghanistan. Indeed very shortly Obama may announce a ratcheting up of the US military effort in Afghanistan.

No one would award a gold medal to a highly promising athlete when he was less than a quarter of the way down the track. Therefore Obama’s political race has to be run right through to the line, so that his political achievement in terms of peace, can be judged properly and fairly. At the moment the only people who could conceivably deserve this award are the Obama speechwriters. They have delivered the golden words. Now the president has to deliver the golden deeds.

Posted by: AHM Iqbal | October 10, 2009 02:00 AM

Either Jonathan Kay is looking for a cheap laugh, or he extremely muddled.

Either way this article is tasteless and repulsive given the continued ill-treatment of the IDPs.

In the event that Jonathan Kay is actually not seeking attention through this article, is he then suggesting that Obama should drop a few nuclear bombs on Afghanistan and Iraq? There will surley be peace in an instant!

Posted by: N2 | October 10, 2009 02:11 AM

Yes Your absolutely right ,I feel the Noble prize commity should invent another prize to be awarded to the most efficent Human rights abusing Ruling Family in the wolld and award it to Mahinda Rajapaksha family of Srilanka.

Posted by: smahen | October 10, 2009 04:00 AM

Yes Your absolutely right ,I feel the Noble prize commity should invent another prize to be awarded to the most efficent Human rights abusing Ruling Family in the wolld and award it to Mahinda Rajapaksha family of Srilanka.

Posted by: smahen | October 10, 2009 04:01 AM

Some people are shouting about the IDP's in Sri Lanka. The scores of Tamil, Sinhalese, Muslim and other people who have been liberated from a ruthless killing machine and are now living peacefully have not been mentioned by so the called International Community. No other country has worked day and night to make life comfortable than the Sri Lankan President. He should have been the one who should have got the Noble Peace Prize.


Posted by: Leela | October 10, 2009 04:33 AM

thats true,president rajapakse should get the nobel peace prize not puppet obama.i am totaly agreed with you sir.
anil from london

Posted by: anil cleen | October 10, 2009 05:18 AM

Mahinda Rajepakse and his siblings need be awarded with Nobel Prize for WAR CRIMES not for peace. The are very brilliant criminals who can mass murder civilians, aid workers and journalist and successfully. They can run concentration camps with the help of international community and execute prisoners at will. They have great talents to cover up their sordid acts. They are great at even winning UN resolutions to praise them for their crimes against humanity. Surely they deserve a “Nobel Prize”!

Posted by: Jay Jayasingam | October 10, 2009 05:20 AM

Obama now joins the “greats” like the terrorist Menachem Begin. The Nobel peace prize has been made into a farce, like the death-fast of the London Tamil, who sustained himself on BigMacs. The Norwegians are a funny bunch of people, and we in Sri Lanka have known that for a considerable while.

The minority community in Sri Lanka were liberated from the grasp of the Tamil terrorists by the president. He does not need a peace prize for that fact to register. The agit-prop terrorist proxies who still howl foul from abroad, should be better employed trying to help their alleged kith and kin achieve a better life by constructive means.

Posted by: Ram2009 | October 10, 2009 05:32 AM

Wow,... The world just can't stop queuing up to blow Barack Obama. What has this man done? He has neither solved a single conflict nor reversed a Single Tyranical Bush Policy...

Guantanamo Bay is Still open and running.
CIA & NSA Rendition Protocols are Still valid.
Iraq and Afghanistan have been ESCALATED.
Saber Rattling with Iran continues as usual.
Israel still has Carte blanche to do anything.
The Missile Defense Shield in Poland is still being pushed ahead.

LOL! Its laughable to see the world look to Obama as some sort of "Jesus Christ" who will usher the next era of WORLD PEACE... I can guarantee you that if he does not get this Healthcare Bill passed in the Senate by End of November he will be a ONE TERM LOSER like Jimmy Carter.

and I agree with Hela, ... Mahinda does not need Nobel Prizes... his reward is the admiration and gratitude of his own people. Let the rest of the world worry about their own problems. We just fixed our Biggest one...

Posted by: Devinda Fernando | October 10, 2009 08:15 AM

I am confused whether the Nobel prize is given to the good guys or evil bad guys after reading Jonathan Kay?

Posted by: Dominic | October 10, 2009 10:26 AM

True Obama has not earned the Nobel Peace price, as thus far 9 months into his precidency has not anything tangible to deserve it. Perhaps with the way things are in the world they were not able to find a suitable person.

Rajapaksa or his brothers have eliminated the LTTE that plagued Sri Lanka and they are to be thanked for it.

The Nobel Peace Prize is for doing something towards world peace, and that other than attacking the western world he has not done anything. Nothing even to better the life its poor citizens . The only people benefited are his family and freinds and the Government of Sri Lanka should create their own Rajapaksa Peace Prize.

Posted by: fdesilva | October 10, 2009 10:28 AM

Whether MR receives the Nobel PP or not is up to the Nobel governing body to decide. But by far it is an impossibility given the popularity that he holds with the Scandinavian Community. However if anyone should judge, his actions it should be us Sri Lankan's, and not Europeans who have not tasted the bitterness of war for a near 3 decades.

MR was instrumental in bringing peace to our country by eliminating the devilish LTTE from our soil. What I find amusing is that, those of you who talk about the state of the IDP's did not speak a word against the LTTE when they were holding these same IDP's as a Human Shield to ward off the advancing troops.I'm sure though you find the state of these IDP's appalling, most of them consider their present state to be Heaven, compared to their state prior to May 2009. These people will be reinstated in their rightful homes as soon as possible as will the many Muslim and Sinhala families who were ruthlessly driven away from their own homes by the LTTE many years ago. And this time it will be a relief to them that they need not have additional Bunkers built underground for them to flee.
I don't know whether Mr. Kay meant to be sarcastic, when he stated that Mr should have been awarded the NPP instead of Obama, but what I do know is that many Sri Lankan's are today able to breathe in Peace thanks to MR.

Posted by: Udeni | October 10, 2009 10:39 AM

If Mr.Obama had done something to poor people who were getting kill by LTTE terrorists for the past 30 years, i can accept NB prize to him. And Mr.Mahinda should not get this prize because the Nobel prize is from Norway and those western prizes and countries (like norway) alway gives worst solutions for Asian countries.

Posted by: Indika | October 10, 2009 11:54 AM

Er...Jonathan, did you mean Nobel Hate Prize?

Posted by: Veda R | October 10, 2009 02:23 PM

In that case, I nominate Prabakaran for Nobel Peace prize atleast posthumously. After all he fought a bloody war to keep the war mongering sinhala army away from Jaffna for 25 years. Without Prabakaran, the state terrorists of Sri Lanka would have wiped out all Tamils long ago. The very proof of that is in the way sinhellas treat Tamils , before and after Prabakaran. Mass riots and pogroms on Tamils before Prabakaran. Indiscriminate Firing, banned weapons, mass graves, forced starvation, torture , and indefinite confinement in IDP camps after Prabakaran. If the joker Jonathan suggests Mahinda deserves an award for these atrocities, then definitely Prabakaran deserves better for trying to prevent these.

Posted by: Veda R | October 10, 2009 02:38 PM

Did anyone check following video before nominating Obama for Nobel Peace Prize?

US President Obama plays double standards on terrorism

Is Nobel Prize for [Yes we can] or [Yes we done]?

Posted by: Lakshan Bandara | October 10, 2009 02:40 PM

Jonathan Kay,
As you said,, in quote "Mr. Rajapaksa has done some fairly nasty things en route to destroying the Tigers — including imprisoning and perhaps even killing pesky journalists and human-rights activists. More importantly (from a Scandinavian point of view), Mr. Rajapaksa committed an unpardonable foreign-policy sin en route to his victory: flouting “multilateralism.”

Further to ddd details, 13 journalists, few elected parliamentarians, 5 students at point blank, 17 Aid workers, several NGO employees, the list goes on and on.

All these people with many more tamil civilians were killed during Rajapakse rule. None of the perpetriators were brought and punished under the law.

In the name of war against terror under Bush doctraine, Mahinda & Bros conducted war gainst LTTE by eliminating almost everyone against the regime.

You are very well serving your boss/es. With ultra conservative mindset, are you under the payroll of Bush or Mahinda?

Is this what you expect from Canadian or US goverment? Eliminate anyone opposing the regime?

Pls be an ethical journalist by promoting human rights and democracy.

Posted by: thaya | October 10, 2009 03:31 PM

I want to award Nobel prize to mr. Jonathan Kay !

Posted by: Take it | October 10, 2009 04:24 PM

I'm wondering why those "norway" govt.(spclly Mr.eric solhime) not try to get in Sri Lanka again by using such mimic prizes. They all want is to take indian ocean. Otherwise what is the back pain of Iceland govt. to solve the Sri Lankan problems. All Scandinavian Community has "NOrWAY" without better sea. ::: Please read Udeni's comment as well. It's the whole truth. (Thanks Udeni).

Posted by: Indika | October 10, 2009 08:18 PM

Mr Obama may not be the deserving one but to suggest MR is to give the medal to devil himself. Mr. Kay who is fond of quoting the book of Genesis would surely understand false peace.
Mr. Kay you are ironically in line with Mr. Ahmadinejad ( who I bet is not your friend ) who calls for the destruction of people of Israel as a means of bringing peace to the Palestinians. 200,000 Tamils in death camps should remind you of holocaust that Ahmadinejad vehemently denies.
As someone noted Mr. Menachem Begin ( was a winner of the Noble prize ) who was confined to a concentration camp in Siberia upon his release took up ( for some ) terrorist activities ( for others it was freedom struggle ) against the British.
" What part of the planet was beset by bloody war in 2008, but is now entirely at peace? "
Will you include North Korea and the some tyrannical regions of the Middle east ? where no opposing voice is heard.
The absence of war of does not mean peace.
Which part of the planet where 200,000 ordinary kept inside barbed wire fences with little food, non existent sanitation and health facilities with constant fear of death, rape and abduction.

Posted by: Vaira | October 10, 2009 09:38 PM

Devinda, Sinhalese have fixed their 28-year headache. Tamils have yet to fix their 61-year skin cancer.

Posted by: Anonymous | October 10, 2009 11:31 PM

Sinhalese are rid of 28-year discomfort. Tamils are yet to be rid of 61-year agony.

Posted by: Anonymous | October 10, 2009 11:35 PM

The man who was responsible for the deaths of some 20 thousand Tamil civillians during the closing stage of the war, the man who has illegally detained some 280 innocent Tamils should be given the Peace Prize? is this a cruel joke on the victims of this brutal President?

When Kay talks about peace in SL, he is obviouslly talking only about the Sinhalese. For the Tamils, the terror continues.

Posted by: Kaz | October 11, 2009 02:50 AM

Jonathan Kay, why do not we give that to Hitlar? But, again, you are right. Rajapakses have made Hiltlar look too small.

Posted by: Anonymous | October 11, 2009 07:14 AM

I agree with the writer. Thanks for a post like this.

By walking through some of the comments I understood that most of the guys who have talked against
President Rajapaksa, are not living in SL. I m not gonna blame them either.

Me as a sri lankan living in sri lanka would like to ask them to have visit to our motherland and experience the freedom that we have at present.

Note:some guys have talked about IDPs, stating that IDP s are highly restricted to a piece of land and locked.....for those who made that comment i have one question??

Who saved their lives at least for them to come to an IDP camp.??


Posted by: Ishan | October 11, 2009 07:22 AM

Jonathan Kay is right. Obama is just smooth on TV and nothing else. The real heroes are the Sri Lankan troops and the current SL military brass. The LTTE is happy with this prize since they lobbied Obama hard to save them. Obama administration continues to work for the Tamil Tiger terrorists in the US.

Posted by: Robert Brown | October 11, 2009 02:08 PM

To the tamils who made -ve comments: wake up from ur dream! we are sorry for the IDPs too but u reap what u sow. it'll take few years to stabilize the situation. diaspora: you did this to ur countrymen!

To Obama: u know what u've done. accept or reject the award based on ur conscience!

To Jonathan Kay: i won't say you wrote all the correct things (except stuff about Obama), but thanks for the article!

Posted by: Helayek | October 12, 2009 04:31 AM

Ishan writes: "Me as a sri lankan living in sri lanka would like to ask them to have visit to our motherland and experience the freedom that we have at present." Me as a normal human being living anywhere, would like to ask Jonathan and Ishan to spend a day in IDP camps and experience what SATAN has done before writing humorous articles or comments.

"Who saved their lives at least for them to come to an IDP camp.??" Exactly!! Who brought them to IDP camps to face starvation deaths, rape and murder? SLA, not LTTE. SLA did not save them, it simply bombarded them and herded them into a camp. Everywhere else, it is called GENOCIDE. Only in SL, that is called LIFE SAVING ACTIVITY.

Posted by: Veda R | October 12, 2009 06:15 PM

to ishan and leela

i understand you stand by your country's president's side

fine with it (i have a different opinion though)

what about the "white van" abductions????

innocent people got killed too, in both ways, a president should not seek peace from war. this won't end that way.

he doesnt deserve it.

Posted by: sharma | October 13, 2009 07:14 AM

Funniest news recently I heard........ Barack Obama wins the Nobel peace prize. he he he.... in that case maybe I might selected next year........

Posted by: Anonymous | October 13, 2009 12:42 PM

***Devinda, Sinhalese have fixed their 28-year headache. Tamils have yet to fix their 61-year skin cancer. ***

Well the answer to that is easy... Tamils should move to climates with less Sun... Like Toronto, or London, or Oslo... Less chance of Skin Cancer there...

Posted by: Devinda Fernando | October 13, 2009 09:22 PM

Mahinda Rajapakse should win the Nobel WAR Prize!!!!! As for those of you who think there is peace in Sri Lanka, you probably don't live here or don't know what peace means!

Posted by: abc | October 14, 2009 01:29 AM

Well said Devinda and Ishan! The Tamils' 61 years skin cancer will only be cured if and when they are ready to accept their past mistakes, think positively on how to integrate into the Srilankan society with honest intentions. Most of the people who write in this website, are shedding crocodile tears for IDPs from cooler climes after reading reports from still surviving LTTE proxies such as HRW, AI etc. I am surprised to note that none of these people accuse Jonathan Kay being bribed by Rajapaksha family to write this article!!! But then, Jonathan lives in Canada and the poor asylum seekers still creating mayhem there probably knows who he is!

Posted by: Dutugemunu | October 14, 2009 07:13 AM

I think Mr.Mahinda Rajapaksha is the one who should win the Nobel peace prize..

Posted by: Dishmal94 | October 14, 2009 07:44 PM

Even he gets nobel prize or not we Sri Lankans love him a lot! Do u know how scary it is to live by the feeling of fear? We were not sure of our life till we get home. Till our love onces come home. Bomb became a known word. When we get into public transport we look at everyone very suspeciesly. Now we breath normally we travel without any fear. Not only tamil people who suffered from war but everyone equally did. Long life Prasident Mahinda! Ayobowewa!!

Posted by: Su | October 15, 2009 02:34 AM

Its premature to talk peace in Sri Lanka until the root cause of the problem is eliminated. In such a scenario giving Nobel Peace prize will only be a dream. Or may be a dream for ever for all the supporters of ??????

Posted by: Anna | October 16, 2009 01:07 PM

MR the Peace Prize? Good suggestion, and then next peace prize to Hitler... MR just killed 20,000+ civilians in cold blood, for God's sake, and confines 200,000 in concentration camps.

Peace in SL now? Yes, like the deathly peace of Auschwitz.

Posted by: Frederick | October 16, 2009 02:51 PM

Nobel Peace Prize is given for exceptional visible performance to benefit a large portion of mankind the previous year. President Rajapakse got rid of the dreaded LTTE and their terrible ways - and in process is accused of serious HR violations against civilian Tamil. Arguably, though he eventually bought peace to his country the fact his work does not benefit those other than Lankans within the island negates his chances of being even an outside candidate for the Nobel Prize. President Obama created global consciousness on the need to reduce nuclear weapons, brought great focus and attention on universal environmental issues, removed global tension and helped remove the “we” and “they” syndrome between the Muslims, Arabs and the rest of the world. There is a world of difference in the man in the street having good intentions and the President of the most powerful land in the world having the same. The latter can influence the movement of issues from his position as head of the State of the most important economic-political power in the world. Obama is amazingly black, white, African,Asian (Indonesian) and, in a way, Polynesian as well. He was Muslim and then Christian. You can’t get any more international than that. Personally, I think the award should have gone to a group of men in the IT industry like Bill Gates, U-Tube and those behind Google for transforming the world and breaching closed societies bringing their people to the open.


Posted by: Ilaya Seran Senguttuvan | October 16, 2009 10:06 PM

Boru karayo Boruwenma nasethi

Posted by: BU | October 18, 2009 06:49 AM

there was a war with terrorists and srilankan government. this man finished the war and the biggest terrorists in the world and gave peace to srilankans(sinhala people and tamil people)

lankawe minissune ape ekkakta hambena eka nathi karanna epa.

Posted by: Anuruddha | January 22, 2010 09:20 PM

I am looking forward towards the 2012 election when Obamas policies shall be fully known as failures and you can use it to whip the dems up.

Posted by: David Rahm | November 2, 2010 10:00 PM

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