Saturday, January 8

The UN at the Tsunami

At the risk of becoming repetitious, here's more on the UN. Sorry, folks, but the organization that looked so terribly exciting to me when I first visited the newly built structure in New York back in the 1940s has disappointed me sadly. And not only me, but my nation.

"I must admit I have never seen such utter destruction, mile after mile. You wonder, where are the people?" said Annan on Friday on his return to the provincial capital, Banda Aceh, reports writes Dan Eaton at Swiss Info. Half of them are dead, Annan, and the other half are elsewhere, being fed by the Australians and the Americans.

On one of my favorite blogs,The Diplomad,an American diplomat stationed in the area of the tsunami, writes:
This Embassy has been running 24/7 since the December 26 earthquake and tsunami. Along with my colleagues, I've spent the past several days dealing non-stop with various aspects of the relief effort in this tsunami-affected country. That work, unfortunately, has brought ever-increasing contact with the growing UN presence in this capital; in fact, we've found that to avoid running into the UN, we must go out to where the quake and tsunami actually hit. As we come up on two weeks since the disaster struck, the UN is still not to be seen where it counts -- except when holding well-staged press events. Ah, yes, but the luxury hotels are full of UN assessment teams and visiting big shots from New York, Geneva, and Vienna. The city sees a steady procession of UN Mercedes sedans and top-of-the-line SUV's -- a fully decked out Toyota Landcruiser is the UN vehicle of choice; it doesn't seem that concerns about "global warming" and preserving your tax dollars run too deep among the UNocrats.

Sitting VERY late for two consecutive nights in interminable meetings with UN reps, hearing them go on about "taking the lead coordination role," pledges, and the impending arrival of this or that UN big shot or assessment/coordination team, for the millionth time I realized that if not for Australia and America almost nobody in the tsunami-affected areas would have survived more than a few days. If we had waited for the UNocrats to get their act coordinated, the already massive death toll would have become astronomical. But, fortunately, thanks to "retrograde racist war-mongers " such as John Howard and George W. Bush, as we sat in air conditioned meeting rooms with these UNocrats, young Australians and Americans were at that moment "coordinating" without the UN and saving the lives of tens-of-thousands of people.

Seeing these UNocrats perched at the table, whispering to each other, back-slapping, shaking hands, they seemed like a periodic reunion of old cynical Mafia chieftains or mercenaries who run into each other in different hot spots, as they move from one slaughter to another, "How are you? Haven't seen you since Bosnia . . .." As the hours wore on, however, and I nervously doodled in my note pad, shifted in my chair, looked at my watch, and thought about all the real work I had to do that evening, I decided that, no, labeling them mafiosos or mercenaries was much too kind. They seemed more to be the progeny resulting from a mating between a mad oracle and a giant carrion-eater. They were akin to some sort of ancient mythical Greco-Roman-Aztec-Wes Craven-Egyptian-bird-god that demands constant sacrifice and feeding, and speaks in riddles which only it can solve.

Yes, I decided, the UNocrats are great hideous vultures, roused from their caves in the European Alps and in the cement canyons and peaks of Manhattan by the stench of death in the Turd World. They leisurely take flight toward the smell of death; circle, and then swoop down, screeching UNintelligble nonsense. They arrive and immediately force others, e.g., the American tax payer, to build them new exclusive nests in the midst of poverty, and make themselves fat on the flesh of the dead. My friends, allow The Diplomad to present to you The High Priest Vulture Elite (HPVE).

He has prefaced all this with a warning to his readers, saying that he is tired and more than angry at what he has witnessed. The UN is useless at everything except stealing money and criticizing the USA.

"If we wait for the UN to tell us what to do, we wouldn't do anything," said Abdul Hadi bin e Rashid, first admiral of the Malaysian navy at the country's operations tent at Banda Aceh airport. "There are people who are hungry and angry. Why wait? So we just do it."

Michael Elmquist, head of the United Nations Office for the Co-ordination of Humanitarian Assistance in Indonesia, admitted the UN's response had encountered difficulties, but added it was poised to accelerate rapidly.

"In Banda Aceh, it has been very difficult to establish a well- co-ordinated relief operation," he said.

Mr Elmquist attributed the delays to five key factors: the sheer destruction and number of people killed, including three of the UN's nine local staff; lack of telecommunications in the early days; a lack of truck drivers and fuel; the obliteration of the local government; and Aceh's troubled history.

Aceh has been the scene of a long-running separatist Islamic insurgency. The central government has poured thousands of troops into the area to try to quell the rebellion while restricting access by outside nations.

But the US and Australia, meanwhile, are there.

My questions are these:
1. Why does the UN not have emergency funds ready to draw on and a relief plan to put into action whenever something like this happens? It's not as if it hasn't happened before and, for that matter, won't happen again.
2. Why aren't one or two nations given the responsibility of being the first to mobilize and head to a disaster area as soon as the UN learns of the need? Sweden? France? Germany? They have the resources to be first on the ground.
3. Why isn't one UN diplomat charged with the responsibility of organizing and generating emergency support as needed?

If the UN was anything other than an international social club those things would have been taken care of and world-wide supported relief would have been in southeast Asia before the Americans had a chance to get organized.

The UN has become dangerous...and useless.

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