December 11, 2010
- A d v e r t i s e m e n t
There was an extraordinary scene at the awarding of the Nobel Peace Prize in Oslo Friday morning. The prize went to imprisoned Chinese dissident Liu Xiaobo, who was barred by the Chinese government from attending the ceremony. It was the first time since 1935 — when the prize went to a winner imprisoned in one of Adolf Hitler’s concentration camps — that the Peace Prize winner or his representative did not appear personally to accept the award.* Liu’s absence was symbolized by an empty chair on stage.
So on this notable occasion, the White House released a statement from President Obama on the awarding of the prize to Liu in absentia. And this is how Obama’s statement began:
One year ago, I was humbled to receive the Nobel Peace Prize — an award that speaks to our highest aspirations, and that has been claimed by giants of history and courageous advocates who have sacrificed for freedom and justice.
Critics have often said of Obama that “it’s all about him,” that he has a tendency to reference himself no matter what subject he is discussing. Could he do any more to prove them right? But just to show that he is, in fact, humble, the president followed his opening sentence with this:
Mr. Liu Xiaobo is far more deserving of this award than I was.