Friday, October 09, 2009

On Obama's Nobel Acceptance Speech: We must pursue a new beginning among people of different faiths and races and religions

In May of 2008 I finally got my US citizenship and voted for the first time in a historical presidential election. What a journey! From being a persecuted Baha'i, chanting anti–American slogans in the school yard while wearing my chador as a 7 year old to being an American citizen and living in a free country. I will never forget the start of this journey.
Negar is exercising her free speech with her blog post this morning. She doesn't think much of Obama getting the Nobel Prize for Peace, nor of the idea of exploding a rocket on them moon to find water, nor of milk being wasted on the streets of Brussels.
Those of us who live in the United States may be more cognizant of what has transpired in this country in the last nine months than those outside its borders. There has been plenty of evidence of nastiness after what is acknowledged as a brief period of euphoria that surrounded the inaugeration of a new president. The viciousness of opinions uttered in town hall meetings around health care is just one instance that comes to mind.
Baha'is are fully cognizant that the political process itself in this country and every other country in the world is flawed, in perhaps most cases, deeply flawed. Government that is based on adversarial relationship is a thing of the past and not the future. Yet the Great Plant of God proceeds mysteriously and we watch the unfolding events with awe and wonder, and also a radiant acquiescence, because we know that peace is inevitable, as the achievement of peace is God's will. But it will be messy getting there. And living in this world like everyone else, Baha'is watch their p's a q's, as we strive to represent to the fullest extent humanly possible the standards inherent in the Message of Baha'u'llah. We are well-wishers of humanity, not nay-sayers.
The text of the speech by Obama on getting the Nobel prize is below. What stood out for me was his reference to religion, noted in red. -gw
I am both surprised and deeply humbled by the decision of the Nobel Committee. Let me be clear: I do not view it as a recognition of my own accomplishments, but rather as an affirmation of American leadership on behalf of aspirations held by people in all nations.

To be honest, I do not feel that I deserve to be in the company of so many of the transformative figures who've been honored by this prize -- men and women who've inspired me and inspired the entire world through their courageous pursuit of peace.

But I also know that this prize reflects the kind of world that those men and women, and all Americans, want to build -- a world that gives life to the promise of our founding documents. And I know that throughout history, the Nobel Peace Prize has not just been used to honor specific achievement; it's also been used as a means to give momentum to a set of causes. And that is why I will accept this award as a call to action -- a call for all nations to confront the common challenges of the 21st century.

These challenges can't be met by any one leader or any one nation. And that's why my administration has worked to establish a new era of engagement in which all nations must take responsibility for the world we seek. We cannot tolerate a world in which nuclear weapons spread to more nations and in which the terror of a nuclear holocaust endangers more people. And that's why we've begun to take concrete steps to pursue a world without nuclear weapons, because all nations have the right to pursue peaceful nuclear power, but all nations have the responsibility to demonstrate their peaceful intentions.

We cannot accept the growing threat posed by climate change, which could forever damage the world that we pass on to our children -- sowing conflict and famine; destroying coastlines and emptying cities. And that's why all nations must now accept their share of responsibility for transforming the way that we use energy.

We can't allow the differences between peoples to define the way that we see one another, and that's why we must pursue a new beginning among people of different faiths and races and religions; one based upon mutual interest and mutual respect.

And we must all do our part to resolve those conflicts that have caused so much pain and hardship over so many years, and that effort must include an unwavering commitment that finally realizes that the rights of all Israelis and Palestinians to live in peace and security in nations of their own.

We can't accept a world in which more people are denied opportunity and dignity that all people yearn for -- the ability to get an education and make a decent living; the security that you won't have to live in fear of disease or violence without hope for the future.

And even as we strive to seek a world in which conflicts are resolved peacefully and prosperity is widely shared, we have to confront the world as we know it today. I am the commander-in-chief of a country that's responsible for ending a war and working in another theater to confront a ruthless adversary that directly threatens the American people and our allies. I'm also aware that we are dealing with the impact of a global economic crisis that has left millions of Americans looking for work. These are concerns that I confront every day on behalf of the American people.

Some of the work confronting us will not be completed during my presidency. Some, like the elimination of nuclear weapons, may not be completed in my lifetime. But I know these challenges can be met so long as it's recognized that they will not be met by one person or one nation alone. This award is not simply about the efforts of my administration -- it's about the courageous efforts of people around the world.

And that's why this award must be shared with everyone who strives for justice and dignity -- for the young woman who marches silently in the streets on behalf of her right to be heard even in the face of beatings and bullets; for the leader imprisoned in her own home because she refuses to abandon her commitment to democracy; for the soldier who sacrificed through tour after tour of duty on behalf of someone half a world away; and for all those men and women across the world who sacrifice their safety and their freedom and sometime their lives for the cause of peace.

That has always been the cause of America. That's why the world has always looked to America. And that's why I believe America will continue to lead.


Posted via email from Baha'i Views


Negar- said...
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Negar- said...

I am both pleasantly surprised and a bit disappointed that my blog post was used here. My point was a personal observation and it had and has nothing to do with faith or religion. If, for every post, I consider all aspects of my opinion, past and entire width of reality, BlogSpot would run out of room.
As a Baha’i myself I get your comment of "We are well-wishers of humanity, not nay-sayers". As a human being, however, I struggle day and night in today's society I tend to feel and breathe this life and some days it is hard to be a well wisher when I see us regress rather than move forward. The moon and milk spillers will not be further discussed here by me but as far as the Nobel Peace Prize I would, along with other Baha’i' followers actions rather than idle talk, have liked to see it go to someone like Greg Mortenson (Three Cups of Tea) or hundreds of others who give their absolute all. Then again, if the decision to choose Obama thought to inspire a bigger crowd and put pressure on him in his future choices and actions I certainly wish him and all of humanity well.