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[casi] What people are saying about the UN - and the blast

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

There is no Us vs Them. It's only like-minded human
beings struggling against an inhuman neocon/neolib

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

"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

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