Reflections on salvos from the UN General Assembly

Reflections on salvos from the UN General Assembly

SHARE

The United Nations was established as a permanent body. Indeed, it has “permanent members.” In reality, it is a revolving door that leads to a talk shop with mainly declarations and very little action. Nothing better typifies what the body has been reduced to than the transformation of its leader, the Secretary General, Ban Ki-moon, into the Lamentation-in-Chief.
At the UN 71st Session last week, during which he gave his last address to the General Assembly, Ban Ki-moon’s main lamentation was the destruction of the Syrian aid convoy to Aleppo in which at least 18 of 31 trucks were destroyed and some two dozen killed. He cried that it was a “sickening, savage and apparently deliberate attack. Just when you think it cannot get any worse, the bar of depravity sank lower.
Meanwhile, the two powers backing the government and rebel forces in the Syrian war; Russia and the United States were trading blames on which side carried out the attack.
It was President Barrack Obama’s last address to the General Assembly as the US leader, and his real personality as a man with empathy, leading a country that exhibits little conscience, was evident. His contrasted sharply with the maiden address to the body, by new British Prime Minister, Theresa May whose personality blended perfectly with her country’s knack for double speak; claiming a universality but with solutions that favour Britain not humanity.
Understandably, Obama was full of praise for his country and the world system it has helped to build; a system based on human exploitation in which the rich get richer, and the poor, poorer. He was, however, not unmindful of this as he declared that “A world in which one percent of humanity controls as much wealth as the other 99 percent will never be stable.”
He mentioned the world getting out of the financial crisis without acknowledging that the policies he champions gave birth to it. He spoke about tackling terrorism but not acknowledging the role played by the US in the establishment of the Mujahedeen in Afghanistan that gave birth to Al-Qaeda and the Islamic State (ISIS). He talked about the restoration of US-Cuban diplomatic relations, which is one of the greatest achievements of his Presidency, the struggle for peace in Colombia and elections in Myanmar. He spoke about making the World Bank and International Monetary Fund ‘more representative” when these institutions are owned by the US and Europe as tools of economic colonisation.
When Obama spoke about the resolution of the Iranian ‘nuclear crisis,” he was quite practical and honest in his solution to the nuclear challenge when he declared, “We cannot escape the prospect of nuclear war unless we all commit to stopping the spread of nuclear weapons and pursuing a world without them.” Indeed, how do the big countries like US, Russia and Britain stockpile nuclear weapons and hope to discourage smaller countries from developing nuclear capability? untitledHe had more truths to tell the world such as that for economic progress, “It does not require succumbing to a soulless capitalism that benefits only the few, but rather recognises that economies are more successful when we close the gap between rich and poor, and growth is broadly based.” He knows inequality and hunger is at the root of world insecurity and that a new world is possible.
America has a huge war industry and a voracious appetite for war; an American President campaigning against war and for disarmament might be on a suicidal mission. That precisely is what Obama chose to do in his address. First, he criticises his country and its allies in the Iraqi invasion. He accepts Western democracy but acknowledges its short coming. He also expresses empathy with refugees. “Our world will be more secure if we are prepared to help those in need…,” he said.
However, that is not the spirit of British Prime Minister, Mrs. May who after the rhetoric of Britain being committed to universal values and humanitarian aid, propounds what I will call ‘May’s Three Fundamental Principles on Refugees.’
She says, “First, we must help ensure that refugees claim asylum in the first safe country they reach.” What she is saying is that since refugee’s first escape is to neighbouring countries, that is where they should stay, and not come to Europe. So Syrians should stay in Turkey, Jordan, Iraq or Lebanon.
Then she says, “Second, we need to improve the ways we distinguish between refugees fleeing persecution and economic migrants.” In other words, the world should discriminate amongst refugees.
Given her logic, the Palestinian refugee fleeing economic strangulation should not have the same rights as a Syrian fleeing war. Then she says, “All countries have the right to control their borders – and that we must all commit to accepting the return of our own nationals when they have no right to remain elsewhere.” Again, it is a selfish, if not racist proposal to ensure that refugees do not get to Britain or Europe, and that if they do, they can be thrown back into their countries of origin.
In propounding these sectarian principles, she did not comprehend Obama’s words of wisdom at the Assembly that “the world is too small, we are too packed together for us to resort to those old ways of thinking… And the world is too small for us to simply be able to build a wall and prevent it from affecting our own societies.”

NO COMMENTS

LEAVE A REPLY