David Calling

The David Pryce-Jones blog.

When in Rome


Robert Mugabe and Mahmoud Ahmadinejad are both attending a conference in Rome, and using it to reaffirm that they are two of the world’s most brutal and repulsive men in public office. Mugabe told listeners that his country, Zimbabwe, has “democratized land ownership,” an unusually insolent way of describing how his goons have evicted rightful owners by force, expropriated them, and in the process devastated agriculture. Zimbabwe now imports food instead of exporting it as before, and huge numbers of the poor are starving. As Mugabe was speaking, some goons were killing and intimidating the opposition as part of the process of rigging elections, while other goons were smashing the farmhouse of William and Annette Rogers, and setting fire to it. After being assaulted, whipped and shot at, Mr and Mrs Rogers finished in hospital, lucky to be alive. That’s democratization, Mugabe-style.

Ahmadinejad is as practiced at unleashing violence as Mugabe, and his equal in lying and nonsense too. This was his first visit to Western Europe, but he took the liberty of advising that it was “in the interests of the people of Europe if Israel ceased to exist.” Shamelessly, in pure fascist idiom, a few days previously he had told another audience that, “The criminal and terrorist Zionist regime has reached the end of its work and will soon disappear off the geographical scene.” Not content with that, he went on to threaten the United States, another favorite bugbear of his: “The era of decline and destruction of its satanic power has begun, the bell on the countdown of the destruction of the empire of power and wealth has begun.”

And who could have organized the conference which provided these two murderous racists with an international platform? Why, the United Nations through its Food and Agriculture Organization. What did Mugabe have to contribute to discussion about global food resources? What right had Ahmadinejad to spew his anti-Semitism and anti-Americanism here? Adding insult to injury, those attending the conference had slap-up meals in the Villa Madama, a state-owned palace decorated by Raphael, and all expenses paid. What does that do for the many in the world who are poor and underfed?

The UN has transformed itself from an organization set up to resolve the world’s injustices and quarrels into one that perpetuates them. The FAO, like UNRWA as it keeps the Palestinians in their misery, the Human Rights Committee, the U.N. peacekeepers engaged in pedophilia and racketeering (but not in resolving Darfur, Lebanon, or other horrors), and the U.N. officials getting away unpunished for creaming tens of millions of dollars in Saddam Hussein’s oil scam, all do more harm than good. The real message Mugabe and Ahmadinejad brought to Rome is that the U.N. and its various bodies have to be reformed, or else one cantankerous day they’ll be abolished in the interests of humanity.


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