Firstly, I hope you can understand the United Nations, alone, cannot single-handedly stamp out the mass murder crimes of the world.
Israel's foreign minister, Silvan Shalom, said today "The brutal extermination of a people began not with guns or tanks but with words systematically portraying the Jews and others as not legitimate, something less than human."
I absolutely agree with Elie Wiesel when he said, "If the world had listened we may have prevented Darfur, Cambodia, Bosnia and naturally Rwanda," (sad sigh) Elie Wiesel is a Jew, he has been through it all, he has lived the traumatic experiences, which he has written so eloquently in "Night" (one of my personal recommendations). He has devoted his life to Israeli rights, among working for many other people of the world, has his own foundation (The Elie Wiesel Foundation for Humanity, and has been a fine American citizen for over four decades now.
Those like Wiesel, and Israeli Foreign Minister Silvan Shalom, who all spoke before the General Assembly, speak with true essence. This whole assembly began when our nation's ambassador John Danforth requested it and as many as 138 of 191 member states agreed to the proposal. So I think this has served as a great way in recognizing how the world body and the people of the world at large can work to see to it, if only we can open our arms and listen now, it won't be too late, for the sake of our children and grandchildren, to live in a world free of widespread tragedy.
In the end, Sir Brian Urquhart, who is both a retired UN undersecretary and a soldier who had freed from the death camps of that era, I believe summarized it perfectly: "This commemoration serves to recall what human beings driven by hatred or fear or some perverse ideology are, against all rational belief, still capable of doing to each other,"
The United Nations was founded in response to the horrors of the death camps and Auschwitz. And to this day, unfortunately, more wars and massacres have erupted, but all in all I give the United Nations much credit for building communities and diplomatically analyzing conflicts and working on long-term solutions and plans for improving the world with short-term focus.
Now, like any major organization, I believe in the organization's six-decade run now, there are indeed times where I believe the UN could have done more. Israel and Palestine in particular, along with Kashmir and Sudan. But all in all, I believe the success stories are there, in which the UN is most credited for. The independence of Indonesia. Namibia. Cyprus. The Dominican Republic. They encouraged international pressure on East Timor and it finally became independent three years ago after decades of strife and human rights violations. And other accomplishments as well.
I hope now we can take these concerns to heart and see to it we as a world community can summon the will to give back to our communities and make amends so the children of tomorrow can later learn to recognize we stood and listened together at one point.
At this point, it would just sound too easy to blame the United Nations, and in the end, I believe blame here is meaningless. After all, virtually the whole world over believes in the United Nations, not to mention much of the world's leaders unanimously came to the defense of Kofi Annan in light of a scandal of sorts regarding the oil-for-food program, including all of Africa's 54 nations.
From now, we should just move forward, acknowledge the tragedies of our times, and the important thing now is not to take yesterday's hatchet and try to analyze the fingerprints on it, but look from the present to the hope of tomorrow and all find the time and place to be involved together and so should the hatchet be dug up again, we can all shout, therefore we all can listen.
"You'll find something that's enough to keep you
But if the bright lights don't receive you
You should turn yourself around and come back home" MB20