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Wednesday, April 06, 2005

Kofi and the U.N.

Kenneth Cain, one of the authors of Emergency Sex and Other Desperate Measures writes a scathing indictment of Kofi Annan and U.N. corruption in The Guardian:

Our book is often criticised by fellow travellers on the left because we hold Annan and the UN accountable. As head of peacekeeping then, and as secretary-general now, Annan's power to effect any change on the ground, our critics remind us, is constrained by the interests of the Security Council (the US and France didn't want to intervene in Rwanda, the French again in Bosnia, and China and Russia now in Darfur). Therefore it's unrealistic to argue that Annan should risk his job by exhorting his Security Council bosses to do the right thing in the face of genocide. Our response? Annan asks - no, orders - unarmed civilians to risk their lives every day as election observers, human rights monitors, drivers and secretaries in the most dangerous conditions all over the world. They do it, heroically, every day. And, in the service of peace, some pay with their lives; others with their sanity. How can he then not ask of himself the courage to risk his job in the cause of preventing genocide? At the very least, he could go down trying to save lives, as opposed to going down trying to explain why he didn't. Annan is not personally corrupt or incompetent. But the UN cannot have failed more catastrophically when the stakes have been highest. If he does not lose his job for that, then for what? And if not now, when?"
I highly recommend the book, although it is not for the weak of stomach. The U.N. desperately needs to clean it's own house if it wants to be able to 'confer unique moral authority.' Certainly in all human endeavors their will be corrupt and evil individuals, it is when those individuals find protection from the organization, as was also the case in the Catholic Sex Scandals, that you have a real problem.


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