Published September 25, 2012
I love this time of year. Baseball’s pennant races are heating up, the weather is cooling down and the U.N.’s annual General Assembly opening is taking place. It’s when the U.N. really brings on the crazy. Dictators from around the world come to the U.N. to spew racist, anti American and anti-Semitic invective.
For me, it’s the entertainment highlight of the year.
I was initially nervous that under the weight of expectations, the U.N. would not be able to bring us that singular moment of despotic lunacy that we expect, and perversely relish, from the United Nations. After all we have been spoiled year in and year out of having the pleasure of listening to the grand incoherent ravings of the world’s best despots. You remember Chavez’s classic 2006 “I smell the devil speech”, referring of course to our then president George Bush. Obviously any compendium of classic General Assembly speeches would not be complete without the 2009, hour-and–a-half diarrhea of the mouth speech by Qadaffi, that burned through two interpreters and ended with the great departed leader tearing up the U.N. charter and casually throwing it behind him, as Humphrey Bogart would discard a used cigarette. Although, to be honest, it had a slightly smaller impact then he expected because the U.N. had discarded its own charter years earlier.
When it comes to anti-Semitism, there is an admittedly large burden on the United Nations to raise its already unimaginably high bar. But they dug deep and found a way to top themselves, by the brilliance of scheduling. While they unsurprsingly gave Mahmoud Ahmadinejad his annual speech to spew his repugnant ruminations, this time he is doing it on the holiest day of the Jewish year, Yom Kippur.
Maybe I am looking at it the wrong way? Maybe the United Nations, realizing that tis the season for atonement , is giving the man from Tehran a chance to use this moment in the sun to publically proclaim his repentance to the world and will finally begin to embrace his Semitic brothers from another mother rather than threaten to push them into the sea. Then again, maybe gefilte fish won’t be served at next year’s Rosh Hashanah meal.
I have to be honest, in a perverse way I am glad that they chose Yom Kippur for his speech, because otherwise it would have been difficult for me to muster up the outrage necessary to write a piece like this. I mean after his 8th consecutive year in a starring role at the U.N., all the outrage seems to have dissipated from my keyboard. But the fact that we expect them to continually present to us a parade of indignities speaks volumes to the sorry state of affairs at the U.N. The U.N. inhabits a bizarro world where Newtonian physics is suspended along with sanity. It is a world where Syria currently sits on UNESCO’s human rights body and Iran is now the Vice Chair of the U.N.’s premier women’s rights body, while Israel, a model for democracy and human rights is demonized and made into a pariah country inside the grand halls of the U.N.
Granted, I consider myself to be somewhat inoculated to the U.N.’s profaning of their own ideals, because I spent 5 years making my feature film U.N. Me, which took me into the heart of darkness that is the United Nations. I was constant witness to the perversity of the United Nations around the world first hand. At one point I was even taken into custody by the U.N. police for taking the podium, (admittedly uninvited), at a U.N. human rights conference in Geneva, instead of arresting Ahmadinejad who took the podium before me.
Needless to say, the U.N.’s moral compass is broken as it plays a double game of trying to appease the lowest common denominator of its membership while speaking so eloquently on the moral hazards of our worlds and its important role in steering the global ship. Yet the organization is dominated by thugs and tyrants who often become the shadow captains of the good ship U.N. Lollypop.
How could the United Nations advance the cause of peace if it is not fundamentally anchored in a democratic worldview?
This fundamental question had somehow been left in suspense during its 67 years of existence.
As I plunged into the world that exists behind the curtains of the United Nations I came into contact with a fascinating cast of characters, world leaders, spies, terrorists and people who had worked for the United Nations and had escaped the seductive grip of the political Island of the Sirens, because the place was driving them to the edge of madness, a place I myself would inhabit as I pursued my investigation into some of the UN’s darkest corners.
Yet we in the west in general, and the United States in particular, are acting as classic enablers, no different than when dealing with a drug addict or gambler. If we continue to give to them what they want without a parallel demand of a change in behavior, what would impel them to modify their conduct? The way we deal with their constant attacks on the democratic ideals that their host nation embodies, is to continue to cut them blank checks, without demanding a change in their behavior. Until we do that, they will continue down their inevitable path toward irrelevancy, making a mockery of the US along the way.