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It isn't only the "Arab world" that "no longer draw[s] a distinction" between the UN and the US. It's the whole world. At least those people in it who put humanity above power and money grabs. As someone aptly put it: the UN is 'a government institution in a capitalist world'. And it's a capitalist world that's on an exploitation rampage - prepared to stamp out all human obstacles, if need be with cruise missiles. The UN is seen as a tool in this quest. --- Dear List, In her article, Megan K. Stack of the LA Times stops just short of suggesting that the "Arab world" was jubilant over the attack on the UN HQ in Baghdad. Watch out! You are being manipulated again. There is no Us vs Them. It's only like-minded human beings struggling against an inhuman neocon/neolib world. Most of the European mainstream media avoided questioning the credibility of the UN. Nor did they connect the attack with the long-time suffering of the Iraqis - inflicted by the US/UK and maintained by the UN. But ordinary people overwhelmingly made this connection. Here are some of the views I found: 1-- A letter to the editor of the Frankfurter Rundschau expresses best how I feel - in essence it also reflects the views of many people around the world. Here is a translation: "Although the death of so many people is terrible and unfortunate, one should avoid overreactions such as foreign minister Joschka Fischer's, who is demanding severe punishment for those who carried out this 'crime'. "Putting aside the question if it was wise on part of the Iraqi resistance to attack the UN, in international law such acts are not considered illegal. And one needs to keep in mind that Iraq is a country occupied by a power alliance led by the US. "The right of resistance against occupation did exist in WWII also. In the case of Iraq, the UN did not authorize the war. Both war and occupation are illegal under international law. Therefore the Iraqi resistance has the right to fight against the occupiers. What the aims and quality of the resistance are is a separate issue. "Now the UN has allied itself with the occupation forces by nominally recognizing the US-installed 'government' - a puppet government in international law. In doing so, the UN lost credibility with Iraq's resistance and became itself a target. "The UN and the countries in the Security Council have two options: they can either express their opposition to the war and the occupation and so distance themselves from the American military occupation and the installed Iraqi Quislings. Thus they will demonstrate their independence. "Or else the UN and the Council can cooperate with the American and British aggressors. But then they should not be surprised at being targeted themselves." [name] You'll note "Iraqi resistance" is this writer's choice. Most of the media outside the US/UK also stayed clear off the term "terrorist". PRAVDA wrote an article about the "political implications of a choice of word": "To call the Iraqi resistance 'terrorists', writes PRAVDA, is to label the French Resistance during the Second World War as terrorists, making De Gaulle a Gallic bin Laden." (It also makes the US founding fathers terrorists.) 2-- The Asahi Shimbun (Japan) concedes that the UN isn't perfect but is an important organ nevertheless. While condemning the attack, the paper holds the US responsible and expresses concern about US behaviour: "The occupation of Iraq is the inevitable result of a pre-emptive attack. Be that as it may, the occupational forces are to blame for failing to protect the United Nations. "The 'world', as embodied by the United Nations, appears to be at the mercy of a superpower that behaves as if that world isn't necessary. It is time we took a hard look at the way recent developments have distorted this globe of ours." 3-- InterMedia (Italy) prints an article that strongly echoes this sentiment: "The UN has handed over Iraq and its oil to the imperialist aggressors." It has bent backward to the US and Britain. 4-- China Radio International (CRI) expresses concern about the gravity of the situation since the US occupiers are unable to maintain social order. And the UN has failed Iraqis who put faith in its mediation, hoping it would ward off the US/UK attack. When the war started, the UN did nothing to ease the humanitarian crisis - it stayed away until it was all long over. 5-- A posting to the South Asia Analysis Group (SAG) raises an interesting point: Varia de Mellow was not merely the US first choice, they requested him. He was a US nominee, received by Bush. Why? I checked this out and it seems that de Mellow, described as a charming man, was supposed to make the US-installed 'government' palatable to the Iraqis, and to help with the 'pacification' process - all in the guise of 'humanitarian aid'. It appears that de Mellow has successfully managed a similar job in East Timor, where the UN itself has been running a "Transitional Administration". Result: UN staff, other foreigners, and a small local elite are living it up while most of the East Timorous exist in abject poverty - 90 percent are unemployed. They are not happy with the UN either. But foreign companies are profiteering hugely. That's called a 'free' market. 6-- TA (Berlin) reported on August 21 that (unnamed) UN staffers had also expressed doubt and criticism about the UN's and the Secretary General's present role in Iraq. Many staffers, it seems, had advised against the UN's engagement at USUS's conditions. And the attack had confirmed their misgivings. Now they are afraid that more attacks are to follow. (And surely, there must be some UN staffers, besides Halliday, von Sponeck, and Burghardt who have some awareness of the misery they helped to maintain.) 7-- Judged by ordinary people, the UN fared even worse. It is seen as going to bed with, whoring for, being a puppet of" the US. Foremost in people's mind is the harm inflicted on Iraqis through the 13-years sanction regime. Most often cited are the children - gli bambini, les enfants, die Kinder. People can identify with the grief of Iraqi parents and they condemn the UN for bowing to the US - then and now. And they condemn the US for treating human beings with such contempt. I think it took something like this attack to bring people's anger and frustration out into the open - and these people are only outsiders to the real misery experienced in Iraq. And nowhere did I find any personal reference to the victims of the blast - some of whom Iraqis. They are discussed as statistics, and de Mellow for his accomplishments. In that sense, the LA reporter is right: the blast of the UN HQ in Baghdad "drew barely a shiver" - not only on Arab streets but everywhere else. Many people may no longer be able to respond: Since October 2001, the US government has been forcing murder and mayhem on a world that doesn't want it. It wants peace. And inside Iraq, people are too exhausted and traumatized to feel anything. Children cry at the banging of door, thinking it means bombing. An Austrian doctor, a radiooncologist, once described the emotional exhaustion of Iraqi mothers, as she perceived it. In a Basra hospital she witnessed a 12-year old girl dying of leukaemia. The mother was frozen in grief. This was her fifth child - all had died of leukaemia. The expression in the mother's eyes showed no hope, no sadness, no anger even. Her feelings were dulled by the pain inflicted over the years. And all the mothers this doctor met in that hospital had the same expression. It was so heart-rending she couldn't bear it. Every time I come across the word Basra I see that mother sitting at her dead daugher's bed - although for me it was only a second-hand impression. When I heard about the blast, I was reminded of this mother. It occurred to me how much misery and despair the UN has sponsored - above all the despicable Kofi Annan. Yes, I thought, the loss of lives is regrettable, but I could feel nothing. And this is the reaction of an outsider. So how are Iraqis expected to react - people who have lost children, siblings - when foreign reporters are running all over Baghdad asking "and how do you feel about the blast?" How _are_ people expected to feel who have experienced such misery, and who are currently in dire need of the bare essentials to life? Considering all this, may explain to Megan K. Stack of the LA Times why there was all this "silence" in response to the blast: Get _your_ government to stop the killing rampage, to stop the exploitation, and to stop interferring in other countries lives. Let other people live in peace. And get your media to stop glorifying your government's murderous deeds. Then perhaps we, the rest of the world, might recover from our emotional numbness. And the UN might recover some of its credibility. Elga Sutter _______________________________________________ Sent via the discussion list of the Campaign Against Sanctions on Iraq. To unsubscribe, visit http://lists.casi.org.uk/mailman/listinfo/casi-discuss To contact the list manager, email firstname.lastname@example.org All postings are archived on CASI's website: http://www.casi.org.uk