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SECRETARY-GENERAL KOFI ANNAN’S PARTING THOUGHTS



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Two things struck me in Annan’s speech: First, Annan’s brief mention of terrorism mentioned nothing at all about the moral crime of targeting and intentionally killing innocent civilians in the furtherance of some political grievance.  He did, however, have a lot to say about the danger that the Israeli-Palestinian conflict (usually the only conflict mentioned by name at these “global” bodies) poses for the United Nations Organization.

We might like to think of the Arab-Israeli conflict as just one regional conflict among many. But it is not. No other conflict carries such a powerful symbolic and emotional charge among people far removed from the battlefield. [Why is this?  He does not explain.  -- ML].  As long as the Palestinians live under occupation, exposed to daily frustration and humiliation; and as long as Israelis are blown up in buses or in dance-halls: so long will passions everywhere be inflamed. On one side, supporters of Israel feel it is harshly judged, by standards that are not applied to its enemies – and too often this is true, particularly in some UN bodies. On the other side, people are outraged by the disproportionate use of force against the Palestinians, and by Israel’s continued occupation and confiscation of Arab land. [Oh, wait -- What about the people outraged by Palestinian attacks on Israeli civilians?  Must've slipped his mind. -- ML].   As long as the Security Council is unable to end this conflict, and the now nearly 40-year-old occupation, by bringing both sides to accept and implement its resolutions, so long will respect for the United Nations continue to decline. So long, too, will our impartiality be questioned. So long will our best efforts to resolve other conflicts be resisted
The other thing that struck me was the following passage, another signal of the advance of the United Nations as an emergent world government, based upon the starkly anti-democratic principle of one-state-one-vote in a legislative assembly with no standards for membership, an advance which can only come at the expense of state sovereignty:
It was clear to me ten years ago, and is even clearer now, that international relations are not a matter of States alone. They are relations between peoples, in which so-called “non-state actors” play a vital role, and can make a vital contribution. All must play their part in a true multilateral world order, with a renewed, dynamic United Nations at its center. Yes, I remain convinced that the only answer to this divided world must be a truly United Nations.
This fantastically exalted view of an NGO with an uncertain history and a tragically epic-sounding name was explained a few moments later by Annan’s closing words:
I shall miss what is, when all is said and done, the world’s most exalting job.
Whether or not it is exalted (and it should not be) this particular civil service post certainly appears to be exalting


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