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Ki-moon, you failed Ki-moon, you failed
by Thanos Kalamidas
2007-11-20 11:03:08
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For nearly a year I have been writing and screaming that when the UN finally arrives in Darfur it will be just too late. Unfortunately a top UN official, using the old 'lack of logistics' excuse, announced that the joint UN-African Union peacekeeping mission to Darfur …may fail! At the same time, the fear that nothing improves between the two sides in Sudan keeps the countries involved away.

Still, the General Secretary of the United Nations, the man responsible and obliged to make things like that work, Mr. Ban Ki-moon, proudly became the first UN General Secretary to visit Antarctica, having champagne on the bottom of the world while looking at this white desert. None of the former general secretaries managed to do what he did in such a short time, he failed and if he has any dignity left he should resign and go home to leave somebody with more dignity and awareness to take over. Under the circumstances even Tony Blair would have been the right person for the position.

In the last few years I have often pointed to the failures of former UN general secretaries and Kurt Waldheim’s era was definitely the darkest; Kofi Anan failed in many ways but he had some good moments, most of all he tried, at least he tried to establish the UN as a major organization and the very few times he had the chance to oppose the superpowers he did so. When George W. Bush’s administration decided to invade Iraq he opposed by triggering a dirty political war full of petty politics and financial blackmails that cost him the end of his career the way it came.

Republican American governments, conservative Europeans and stubborn Russians always wanted a General Secretary more …neutral, if that is possible, and figures coming from the Third World like De Cuellar and Boutros Boutros-Ghali didn’t help much, Kofi Anan should be the last, at least according the plans of the Bush administration, after all Iraq was just the beginning of the new order. Ki-moon proved in less than a year to be the perfect man.

An instrument balancing in the petty politics and the vetoes of the Security Council, a man who would never rock the boat and allow others to decide for him, a man that embarrasses his title as General Secretary of the United Nations. Has the man ever bothered to read the ethics and the job description of his job? Has the man realized that not moving is an actual move, has the man realized that the dead bodies are piling in front of his office? Or doesn’t he care? As long as his already high salary goes to his bank account, champagne is served in the receptions he too often gives and travels to places no general secretary has been before, he is happy and his masters are happy.

Is this what the post-war founders of the United Nations dreamed? Is this what Bill Clinton was talking about when he was emphasizing the role of the UN in front of the challenging 21st century for international peace and stop hunger? A year ago when Lebanon was suffering and under attack, and hundreds of innocent people were dying, the Security Council was still trying to escape all the vetoes, Mr. Annan hit his fist on the table and, in a very dramatic speech, mobilized the international community and that was just days after the beginning of the fights. For years now in Darfur every minute counts because every minute means another dead body and if Mr. Ban Ki-moon has any dignity left he must just go home and I’m going to be the first to support even Tony Blair to become the next General Secretary.


    
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Emanuel Paparella2007-11-19 11:32:42
This from an article by Paul Reynold of the BBC News a year ago (October 9, 2006) on the occasion of the inauguration of the new UN Secretary General:
"Ban Ki-moon is low-key and consensual. These are not bad qualities and one cannot judge a secretary general in advance," said Lord (David) Hannay, formerly Britain's UN ambassador and a member of a high-level panel that called for UN reform...The reform on which Lord Hannay sat recommended that the UN adopt the principle of the "responsibility to protect". This was agreed in a statement from the UN as a whole but its implementation has yet to be tested. "If the people of Darfur cannot be protected," said Lord Hannay, "then the responsibility to protect will look pretty sick”

More than a year later, it is perhaps about time to remind Lord Hannya of those lofty pronouncements and ask: how have the people of Darfur been protected and how does it look? I think he may be the first one to answer: pretty sick.


Sand2007-11-19 16:06:58
It should be kept in mind that the UN is responsible to its members and when China and Russia, two very powerful members, are not in support of strong action in Darfur, the Secretary General is prevented from effective action.


Emanuel Paparella2007-11-19 17:12:59
The poster on today's cover is quite appropriate. An Afgan journalist had dubbed Ki-moon's style of diplomacy "tourist diplomacy." Indeed, he is touring the world and when he is finished with it, he'll have to tour it again since by then it will be a wholly different world. Nietzsche called it "the eternal return," and if that be the case his tourist diplomacy is futile and you, Mr. Kalamidas, are right on target in advising him to go home and stay put there.


Thanos2007-11-19 22:40:36
I would never expected to say that, by Kofi Annan was much much better to this man!


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