Which UN idiot invited Ahmadinejad to a racism conference?
What was the United Nations thinking inviting a well-known holocaust denier to a racism conference?
What on earth got into the heads of United Nations officialdom when they decided it would be a good idea to hold a conference on racism in Geneva? I shouldn't imagine that Ban Ki-moon had much input, because like most UN Secretary Generals, he's nothing much besides a superannuated politician and placeman.
In Britain we bump our duds 'upstairs' to the European Commission - globally they get bumped up to the UN. If Ban had any opinions worth holding, beyond a flabby attachment to multilateralism, he wouldn't be in the job.
So, this conference was naught but a policy wonks' plan that reeks of an attempt to safely swat such buzz-concepts as 'relevance' and 'inclusion'. You can see their thinking: we'll hold a conference on racism and all the delegates will say they're against it, and then ordinary folk everywhere will realise what a jolly good thing the UN is, and impress upon their leaders that they should give us their undivided respect - and money.
This strategy: to stretch over the heads of the nasty states and reach the fundamentally decent citizens might just - and I say 'just' - have had some traction; after all, the signal feature of racism is that it's lots of little individual fears bundled together and sold as a collective prejudice - or policy.
But to imagine for one millisecond that it would be a good idea to invite a controversial head of state to address the conference blows a colossal hole in the whole idea. Then to be surprised for a further millisecond when President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad of Iran uses the podium to accuse Israel of racism is utterly fatuous.
Accusing Israel of being racist - plus the odd soupcon of Holocaust denial - is what Ahmadinejad does, just as light switches produce illumination. C'mon! He isn't going to renounce such attitudes purely because he's on a junket to the placid land of horded Nazi gold, nor does he give a Lindt-coated fig for relevance or inclusion.
Iran may not be a complete hate-fuelled theocracy, but Ahmadinejad's powerbase thrives on such bigotry, quite as much as he does on defying international bodies, whether they be designed to prevent the spread of racism or radioactive materials.
I'm not opposed to the UN on principle - indeed, on the sound basis that Dubya's enemy is my friend, I've always had more time for the institution than it obviously merits. But the contrast between this waste of its resources and travesty of its remit, with the difficult and compellingly humane work that Unicef are trying to do in the remaining portion of northern Sri Lanka held by the Tamil Tigers, is stark. The UN should stick to doing this kind of relief work, putting pressure on individual governments and brokering bilateral peace arrangements - all the rest is celluloid badges and expenses claims.
But if the UN's original motives were suspect, how much more tacky are those of the US and European governments, who bleat on about Ahmadinejad's dreadful racism mostly because they are fervent supporters of Israel.
I don't believe Israel to be wholly racist - but large parts of it are, and the N-words of the piece are indisputably the Palestinians. Indeed, I'd go further: almost all states have a racist component, because - rather like Ahmadinejad - that's what states do, they exclude or repress one group/people at the behest of another, it's bound into their DNA.
On second thoughts perhaps that's why the wonks decided to hold their conference in Geneva; after all, Switzerland isn't a country conspicuous for its open-doors immigration policy, or deep tolerance for others with differently coloured skins. ·
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