Tuesday, April 27, 2010

The UN and its Mail, on Free Press, Sri Lanka and Middle East, True Believers

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, April 24 -- The UN being the United Nations, people write it letters. They plead for action by mostly get ignored. A current Under Secretary General, speaking candidly but not only background, said of e-mail from Sri Lanka's Tamil diaspora, "I just delete them." He wasangry when this was reported by Inner City Press. But why waste such people's time?

Even in the spotlight, the UN shows disdain. Recently a press freedom organization, the Inter-American Press Association, wrote to Ban Ki-moon, about crack down on media and reporters in Venezuela. Ban's spokesman Martin Nesirky first said he'd never heard about the letter. Then they told reporters that the letter was received.

Back again on camera, Nesikry got asked: but what about this now acknowledged letter, would Ban have any reaction? No, Nesikry said, you should ask UNESCO.

When the free press group's vice president Gonzalo Marroquin came to the UN, it emerged that UNESCO was unaware of the letter and that the group, in candor, didn't even expect any help from Ban Ki-moon. They wrote the letter to raise the issue. To this has the UN sunk.

UN's Ban reads letter, his USG deleting, entries on free press, not shown

At a recent presentation to DC based law students, an Arabic television reporter chided Inner City Press for exposing UN corruption. The stories are all true, he said, they are actual exclusives. But in my region -- he is from Egypt -- people put their hopes in the UN, he said. They come asking for help on Palestine and southern Lebanon. Exposing corruption hurts their chances or their hopes.

But maybe their hopes should be tempered. Maybe they have been wasting their time, thinking this UN could or would actually act. Look at the UN's marginalization, growing every year. Look at the ejection of peacekeeping missions, even from Africa. Look at the letters and emails, ignored and deleted...

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