Monday, April 20, 2009

Poland joins UN conference boycott

The United Nations in Switzerland descended into farce today as Poland, the US, Germany and many more boycotted a UNESCO conference on fighting racism in fear that the Iranian president would turn up and accuse Israel of “racism.”

Well, President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad duly obliged. In his speech to the depleted hall - he was the only head of state that bothered to turn up to the event - he said:

"In compensation for the dire consequences of racism [during WW II] in Europe, they helped bring to power the most cruel and repressive racist regime in Palestine."

Oh, dear. Poor old Ban ki-Moon, head of the UN. This was meant to be the usual touchy-feely conference where everyone joins hands and makes cooing noises about how they are gonna fight racism and all the other nasty things in the world. And then the Bad Man turns up and spoils it all by saying something’ stupid like accusing another country of racism.

In fact, Ban ki-Moon had wagged his finger at Poland and the other nations which boycotted the whole shindig.

“Some nations who by rights should be helping us to forge a path to a better future are not here,” said the Secretary General of the UN, expecting everyone to put up with being lectured by the President of Iran on human rights and all that stuff, in a desperate attempt to look good to an electorate back home which looks like will give him a bit of a kicking in presidential elections scheduled for this summer.

While President Ahmadinejad was droning on about Zionist conspiracies many of the delegates who were there - from France, from the UK - walked out.

The conference was hilarious on many fronts:

- Quite apart from whether you think the Israeli state’s policy to the Palestinians is racist - and it probably is - what is the point of having a conference about tackling racism if you don’t want anyone to mention the “racism” word?

- The Iranian President has said many racist things about Jews in the past. So why did Mr Moon expect Israel to turn up? And if they did there would have been a BIG ROW and the United Nation’s fantasy about spreading peace and love throughout the world via dumb conferences like this one would have looked even more silly than it does, right now.

- Did Poland only cancel going to the conference “at the last minute” this weekend, as they claim, after the US’s last minute decision not to go, either? Hmm…

- Why bother with these ridiculous UN talking shops in the first place? The UN is really just about nations which won WW II consolidating their power. So this is an organisation that justifies global inequalities and accompanied militarism and always has done. And then it stages conferences on equality and expects people to take it seriously!

The result of the latest comedy sponsored by UNESCO is that many of us are scratching our heads and wondering just what is the purpose of the United Nations? It is neither united nor does it represent, much of the time, all the nations of Planet Earth.

Time for a rethink, Mr Moon.



jannowak57 said...

Yes we certainly walked out, in keeping with the policy of gaining favour in the corridors of Washington. By adopting the American prospective it was a cheap way of getting favourable notice without any serious costs being associated with the action. Following a more balanced foreign policy i.e. the European prospective provides a no gain alternative. As we have no currency such as oil then grovelling subservience will have to do for now.

The UN is a joke and can never be made to work for the general good of people of this planet. Countries which have a position of power due to economic strength or military strength are not prepare to share it, this was the expressed purpose of the Security council which enshrines the power of the victorious states of WW2. With each power having a veto it ensures nothing can ever be done if even one influential member disapproves.

"In compensation for the dire consequences of racism [during WW II] in Europe, they helped bring to power the most cruel and repressive racist regime in Palestine."

The Iranian President was sort of wrong on all his assertions. The western world did not exactly give Zionist organizations a free ride to statehood but rather accepted it once it came into being by the efforts of Zionists. Also by Iranian standards Israel is an oasis of human rights, democracy and rule of law.

What’s left of the UN is a propaganda platform for the less powerful and marginalized.

varus said...

Am I to understand you two that you want to get rid of the UN? If so would you replace it with anything?

Granted it has its problems, and the security council is amongst them. However, this was just a realisation of the principles of power. If the permanent five did not have a veto and a permanent seat, do you really think the UN could operate? At the moment there are many proposals to expand the council and increase the permanent members. Most likely, India, Brazil and another will get a seat to make 8 permanent members. However, the UN does a lot of good in terms of charity and post-war reconstruction. It will not fix all the world’s ills, but then it was never meant to.

Anonymous said...

Varus said “Am I to understand you two that you want to get rid of the UN? If so would you replace it with anything?

Yes it does provide some useful functions in the areas of disaster relief and aiding refugees. But this work is undertaken with a great deal of inefficiency, corruption and waste. Comparatively NGO’s seem to do a lot better in dispensing aid.
If the UN can’t be substantively reformed then something else needs to found as a replacement. One thing for sure we will never have a structure where decisions are based on one nation one vote principle therefore replacing the UN is unlikely to result in any changes to the status quo.

Unknown said...

"Comparatively NGO’s seem to do a lot better in dispensing aid" - is there any legitimate data to support that claim? It seems to me that most NGOs are affiliated with religious and political organizations and work to advance their agendas through visibility of its humanitarian programs (not much unlike the Hammas...)
The idea of the UN is great and noble; the execution not so much. Perhaps rather than trying to dismantle it, the member states should try and reform the outdated organizational structure which was born out of the WWII.

beatroot said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
beatroot said...

beatroot said...
Actually, the Iranian presidents assertion that: In compensation for the dire consequences of racism [during WW II] in Europe, they helped bring to power the most cruel and repressive racist regime in Palestine." historically inaccurate. The idea for an Israel as a solution to the "Jewish problem" was a British idea finalised in the 1917 Balfour Declaration. (Poland favoured Madagasgar as a place to get rid of their Jews, but that's another sad story). Israel is not and never was "compensation" for anything.

varus - I do not see that the UN plays any important role in the world. The US Security Council is a council of victors and the powerful - the UN General Assembly is a talking shop. So what?

and Heat - how to reform it? Will Turkeys vote for Christmas?

Unknown said...

Didn't realize Christmas was being voted on.. ;)
I think the idea of the UN, and the League of Nations before that, was to create a forum for the member states to vent their political frustrations and to provide certain level of mediation before things get out of hand. All the humanitarian "stuff" is pretty much an afterthought which tends to cloud the issues. Palestine is a very good example of it.
The problem with the UN structure (which has been brought up countless times by various nations) is that it does not reflect democratic values. Like BR pointed out, the Security Counsel continues to impose its dictatorship over the entire organization based on the outcome of a war that ended 65 years ago... That in and of itself impeaches the UN's moral authority to preach peace and democracy.

beatroot said...


But the way that the powerful has exercised its power has changed recently. During the Cold War it was about the US blocking whatever the Soviets wanted to do and Moscow vetoing whatever Washington wanted. Stalemate. But enshrined in that standoff was the idea that national sovereignty was indeed sovereign. Spheres of influence had to be respected for stability’s sake.

Once the Iron Curtain came down things started to change. The UN started to be used by liberal governments, and not so liberal governments, as a route via which they could ignore national sovereignty and invade countries with the justification of “humanitarian intervention,” or “International Security.”

This all went wrong when some states insisted that the US went through the UN before it invaded Iraq. They didn’t get permission…so they went ahead and invaded anyway!

Obama probably will not do that. But I don’t see the difference between George Bush giving the OK to exercise military power and Mr Ban ki-Moon and the Security Council saying “Fire!” How is that OK?

ge'ez said...

Maybe the UN should hire the Somali pirates as mercenaries?

The UN did nothing when European commerical pirates/fishers depleted the Somali coast, depriving the folks there of their traditional livelihood.

Then after the coast was depleted of fish, European pirates used it as a dumping ground for all kinds of toxic wastes.

Now there are the European and international corporate pirate shippers who have no kind of national regulations fucking over their ship workers.

varus said...

I agree that the humanitarian stuf was an afterthought and perhaps you are right about the NGOs. However, no decision the Secury Council took would be enforceable with out agreement of the 'big five'. They were given veto status in recognition of this and i think this is still valid today. If for example the coincil put an arms embargo on a war in africa, yet The USA and Britain wanted to supply weapons, then who could stop them?

As for soveriegnty and humanitarian intervention; if genocide is being committed, are we ts stand by and respect the states soveriegnty?

varus said...

Br wote that "The idea for an Israel as a solution to the "Jewish problem" was a British idea finalised in the 1917 Balfour Declaration."

The decleration was just that a decleration, the idea did not originate in Britain. The Jewish community pertitioned the UK for support in their plan for a Jewish homeland.

jannowak57 said...

“ignore national sovereignty and invade countries with the justification of “humanitarian intervention,” or “International Security.””

This is a huge issue, which nobody can agree on; if you take the Chinese’s position it is national sovereignty above all else. In their view there is no circumstance that gives causes to intervention when it’s in response to an internal situation. For the most part Russia*, India and the third world agree on this. Only some western nations differ on this.

It can be asked why the UN is involved with Iran and North Korea; both countries have the right to pursue any technology they want. Who is to say who can or can’t develop nuclear and missile technology, the countries that already have them? These are effectively phoney issues used to bring pressure on states hostile to American and Israeli interests. Neither country Iran or North Korea is acting outside of international law.

Are the same western countries that have permitted Israel to develop its nuclear arsenal without interference and even actually cooperated, thinking they have any credibility in the world on this issue?

If your going to have some sort of world order versus chaos then there has to be a set of rules applicable to all.

* obviously doesn’t practice what it preaches as the invasion of Georgia demonstrates.

beatroot said...

I agree on all of the above.

It affects trade policy as well. China seems OK with trading with what some in the West regard as "dodgy", and worse, African states. China asks no questions but is after economic benifits in those countries. It can also be argued that those recipient African states - and the average citizen in them - benifit from that trade far more than from "ethical" polcy by do-gooding western states that refrain from economic cooperation with them.

I tend to side with that arguement much more than with people like Mia Farrow, who is apparently on "hunger strike" for the people of Darfur (many people of which are genuinly malnourished).

The utter arrogance of that! Those type of people make me puke! They think that Africans are like children who can't determine their own future without some actress making some empty geture. And does she really think nations will change their foreign policy because she is making herself a little peckish?

Let the bitch starve.

ge'ez said...

Dude, if you gotta puke, puke. But that was nasty. You deserve carbuncles for that one. Or at the very least a bad case of the shits.

And can Africans determine their own future? Were the Somalis allowed to determine their own future when the European fishing trawlers invaded their waters? And wWhere are the belligerants in Darfur getting their weapons?

beatroot said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
beatroot said...

And can Africans determine their own future?And you are saying my last was a nasty one? I would say that what you just wrote is borderline racist.

And that just sums up the attitude I detest - you think, like Mia Farrow thinks, that Africa is some kind of "white mans burden." (check out Kipling)

ge'ez said...

My ideological disposition is far different than Kipling's "white man's burden." Rather, I'd say the white man has been and still is the Africans' burden.

It was the white man who depleted the Somali coast of fish and then dumped toxic wastes there. It's white men who have and still profit by supplying the belligerents in Darfur etc with weapons.

If that's racist, so be it.

Carbuncles and/or the szyts may well be nasty, the former much more so than the latter, but I don't think it compares to wishing death upon a basically harmless woman and referencing her as a bitch.

jannowak57 said...

ge'ez said... “I'd say the white man has been and still is the Africans' burden”

Lets not get too carried away, there was some illegal fishing and chemical dumping off the Somali coast but not enough to stop local fisherman from carrying on as the have in the past. What has made things different is that selling a stinking little fish in the market pales by comparison with what can be earned in the piracy game.

Fishing for a bare subsistence versus a sack of US dollars to buy a house and satellite dish……easy choice?

Africa in general has for the last 3 or 4 decades been the author of its own misery, and I can argue that many an African faired better under colonial rule than at the hands of his own people. The standard of living for blacks was far higher in Ian Smith’s Rhodesia than it is in Mugabe’s Zimbabwe. Zimbabwe was Africa’s breadbasket now they can’t feed themselves. Advanced South Africa now a cesspool of corruption and crime with its educated whites (the producers of the country’s wealth) fleeing to the west in huge numbers.

The west has been over indulgent with Africa’s ruling elite typically a pack of thieves, liars and murders. It was felt in western capitals that once we cut a cheque we are morally off the hook and can forget about the place.

With respect to Dafur or Sudan, if you felt that invading Iraq was wrong then you have no argument for intervention in Darfur. Clearly Darfur is an internal matter for Sudan to sort out, a sovereign state and member of the UN.

Unfortunately there are awful consequences with intervention and non-intervention.

beatroot said...

but I don't think it compares to wishing death upon a basically harmless woman and referencing her as a bitch.Listen...if she is feeling a little unwell because of some silly, attention seeking and pointless geture then that is her problem.

Africans are not children and do not need to be patronised by celebs looking for some purpose in their lives. Africa did suffer alot from 1700 onwards by colonialists etc...but you know, they don;t need Mia farrow types to come in like mummy and sort it out for them. Kenyans didn;t wait for some pampered celeb to come and kick the British out ...they did it themselves.

Africans can sort their own problems out. And it's essential they do for their own self determination.

beakerkin said...

This may sound odd but Africa will progress. If political stability comes to West Africa it could see some manufacturing jobs. It is in a great location for export to the EU and the USA.

ge'ez said...

Yah-yah, a woman feeling a little unwell because of genuine or misplaced altruism vs. a dead bitch. What the Africans need is indeed self-determination, not being forced to be the fucked-over stepchild of western (and eastern) greed, period. Mia Farrow doesn't amount to any kind of threat or problem either which way.

Some illegal fishing, 57? Some dumping? Cut me a break. And why are there so many and what kind of ships are there in that area that are being pirated? Why aren't they being defended?

Your criticisms of certain African states unfortunately ring a bit too true and the same thing now seems to be happening in South Africa.

Anonymous said...

A few dead fish? Consider:

The London-based Independent reports more than $300 million per year in tuna, shrimp, and lobster, mostly destined for the European market. How does this compare to the dollar amount the Somali pirates have so far been able to extract from global shippers.

Some waste? Consider:

The Independent quotes the United Nations envoy to Somalia as reporting not only that “Somebody is dumping nuclear waste here,” but “there is also lead, and heavy metals such as cadmium and mercury” showing up in Somalia’s coastal waters. In 2005, more than 300 coastal residents died from radiation sickness after leaking barrels of radioactive waste started washing ashore. Much of the toxic waste found on the Somali coast is traceable to European hospitals and industrial facilities.

What kinda ships? Not too many registered under the US. Why's that?

Ninety percent of internationally traded goods are transported on approximately 50,000 freighters and tankers, but putting aside domestic and Great Lakes shipping, only about 200 of these ships are registered to the United States and staffed by Americans. Today’s ships are registered under “flags of convenience,” exempting their multinational corporate owners from taxes and environmental and labor regulations. These corporate pirates, hiding behind a rainbow of colorful Jolly Rogers, have netted hundreds of millions in booty by underpaying workers, skimping on safety and sanitation, and evading taxes to governments that we the people otherwise have to shoulder the burden of supporting.

One thing that US ship registration fees pay for is the protection of the US Navy. Panama, the number one nation for ship registry, has a small naval force which they use for patrolling their own coast, mostly enforcing fishing regulations and ignoring drug traffickers. The second largest shipping fleet in the world is registered to Liberia, which has a small coast guard base but saw most of its small boats sunk when rebels overran its capital in the 1990s.

beatroot said...

Yah-yah, a woman feeling a little unwell because of genuine or misplaced altruism vs. a dead bitch.Geez, she has no intention of killing herself...she is going on it for 3 weeks...and alturistic? Don;t be silly. It's the way she gets off.

Unknown said...

I'm having hard time grasping any causality between the allegations of illegal (??) fishing and waste dumping and piracy. Those people (the pirates) are not some freedom fighters - they are robbers! Criminals! It's like saying that street mugging and drive-bys in inner cities are excusable because of the history of oppression and exploitation and lack of economic infrastructure. The Somalis do it because those ships are 'easy pickins', Somali government shows no interest in curbing that kind of bahavior (they probably get a cut..) and fishing is a hard work.
WRT Mia F.: Who cares???

beatroot said...

Yeah, them pirates are no sea faring guerrillas …they just found a new and very risky way to make some money.

This may sound odd but Africa will progress. If political stability comes to West Africa it could see some manufacturing jobs. It is in a great location for export to the EU and the USA…Completely agree. There are issues such as the EU’s trade protectionism which must be addressed first, and a whole host of other imbalances and interference from the outside which are hindering African development. But in the long run I have faith in Africans’ability to forge their own destiny.

There is the other issue of Africa’s corrupt elite. No doubt there are some corrupt bastards in those parts. But I note many Western agencies conditional sing aid on the grounds that African leaders clean up their act.

I think this is sidestepping the west’s interference on the continent and its very real negative affects on African’s ability to democratically control what is going on in their countries.

The people of Africa should be in charge of getting rid of corrupt leaders, not international do-gooders dangling aid.

ge'ez said...

The point is simply that the Somali pirates are indigenous pirates to the region and that the folks who overfished and the folks who dumped the waste were pirates, too. So if you're going to get all indignant about the 3rd generation, get indignant about the terrorism of the 1st and 2nd generations of pirates, too. The point was never to justify what they are doing.

And I really don't care how Mia Farrow gets off. Of course she won't kill herself but that doesn't justify wishing death upon her or calling her a bitch. There are a lot worse people in the world than someone as insignificant as her. Speaking of which... wanna buy a soon to be contraband in Poland Che t-shirt?

beatroot said...

When did I say that that silly wo,man should die? I never expected her to die? I expected a silly, meaningless, empty gesture so beloved of our celebs these days. And that is what we are gonna get.

Che T-shirts is next post...coincidently.

Unknown said...

Are they really outlawing images of Che? That would an interesting (albeit disturbing..) development...

Unknown said...

Is 'Polish democracy' becoming an oxymoron??

beatroot said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
beakerkin said...


There has been some progress in West Africa. Corruption and political stability are what is holding Africa back.

This may sound sad but Sierra Leone is an example and Liberia is improving.

beatroot said...

There has been GDP growth in many countries on that continent over the last ten years...until the Crunch that is - not something we can blame them for.

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