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!OT Re: [casi] What people are saying about the UN - and the blast

Dear Bob, Emir, and List,

Perhaps the impression I created with that post
was a bit misleading. I apologize. And I'll try
to explain what I meant.

I only posted these citations to illustrate
that it isn't only the "Arab World" (the reporter's
phrase) that now distrusts the (supposed) neutrality
of the UN. People worldwide do, even is they
previously didn't. And to show why people distrust.

The retired Egyptian cabdriver's comment sums
it up: "'The U.N. is just a screen for the
U.S. -- it lost all credibility during the war.'"
The reporter's headline "To Many Arabs, the U.S.
and U.N. Are One Entity" is putting it more

Bob, I wasn't thinking of those who wield power,
politically or otherwise. It can only be in their
interest to keep the myth of a _neutral_ UN alive.
Once the "screen" is widely perceived as such
it becomes useless as a tool of mass distraction.

Even the LA Times reporter keeps using the phrase
"international body" and "world body" to stress
the notion of international consensus.

(As Peter van Walsum, then Chairman of the UN
Sanctions Committee explained to John Pilger in
1999: "We operate by consensus." "And what if the
Americans object?" "We don't operate.")

My distinction between people "who put humanity
above power and money grabs" was foolish (How
would I know?) Emir's comment made me realize that.
But it would take too long to explain what I meant.

Emir, of course you are right: in an ideal world
the US and the UN _are_ "different". I also used
to believe in an "independent" UN, but no more.
I now think it has always been dominated by one
power. Most of us just didn't notice it. But I'll
keep struggling - only with more scepticism.

> I am confused. I can't figure out who/what the
> UN is.

Bob, as Philippa has pointed out, "the UN isn't
homogeneous". But I think you knew that anyway.

In this context 'UN' refers to the 'political
arm' of the UN (if that's the word) - just as US
would refer to the US government. So that's the
Secretary General's office and the Security
Council (and it's branches). The context should
make it clear what's meant. For example:

"... the UN has failed Iraqis who put faith in
its mediation, hoping it would ward off the US/UK
attack." [China Radio International (CRI)]

Here 'UN' means 'Kofi Annan'. For it was Annan
who kept telling the Iraqi people at the last
stage that there would be no war, no attack, if
their government 'cooperated'. This of course was
a bald-faced lie. CRI is putting it more delicately,
but Annan was (deliberately) lying.

> Killing -- even killing invaders in self-defense

I didn't mean to raise any speculations on the
ethics of this. Still, I wouldn't call it
"self-defence". The resistance is fighting against
the occupation - as their compatriots have done
in the 1920s, and as people elsewhere have done.

"It's war, man!", the U.S. Military Police told
Geert Van Moorter - if you can call the invasion of
a small, destitute country by the world's superpower
a 'war'.

And as to the ethics... Well, we haven't walked
in these moccasins. So perhaps we should neither
condemn nor approve. We can still empathize though.

> Even assuming De Mello was a very good person, is
> his becoming "collateral damage" less justifiable
> (what a word...) than the dead Iraqis?

To me, no death is "justifiable". Mr. de Mello was
a husband and father. He was loved and will no
doubt be missed by many. Even a 'bat' person
doesn't deserve such violent death. And who's to
judge what's good or bad?

> I think Vieira De Mello did have good intention...

I didn't mean to cast aspersions on Mr. de Mellos'
intentions - or character. I mentioned him only in
relation to the topic under discussion: why the
people distrust the UN. In this case, de Mello
was beholden not only to his employer, but also
to the US. That was my point. (The East Timorese
also have a story to tell about occupation and
the UN. Another point.)

Presumably he got killed because the UN is about
to collaborate with the occupiers - they are
working on a new resolution. This will intensify
the occupation. And it's the occupation the
resistance tries to oppose. It seems unlikely
that Mr. de Mello's "intentions" enter into this.

> Is there a time I am not being manipulated??

Sorry, if I was being vague.

What I meant is a specific type of manipulation:
the one inevitably leading to more Islamophobia,
or the Us vs Them syndrome. As you may remember
this type of prejudice has also led to violence
and harassment of many Americans and Canadians
of Arab/Muslim descent - and elsewhere.

You know what mass hysteria followed 9/11 - and
it has only slightly abated.

And long before 9/11, the spin doctors have been
successfully manufacturing a new 'enemy' in the
form of Islam - both in North America and in Europe.

So that's what I meant by saying the LA Times
reporter "stops just short of suggesting that
the 'Arab world' was jubilant over the attack".
(Every little bit adds to the fuel.)

I happen to disagree with Huntington's theory,
expounded in: "The Clash of Civilizations and
the Remaking of World Order", 1996. There are
differences between cultures and civilizations,
of course, but there need be no clashes. What
Huntington does is stereotyping - and rather
obtusely, I think.

But it makes sense (geopolitically) if you also
read eg. "The Grand Chessboard: American Primacy and
Its Geostrategic Imperatives" by Zbigniew Brzezinski,

And by sheer coincidence, Huntington and Brzezinski
were university chums of sorts - Wolfowitz mindsets,
but a little more subtle.

Enough OT!


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