The U.N. Y'all... What is it Good For?

Barack Obama has now been in office for several months and again I ask: has there really been a change?
The Obama administration’s decision to boycott the U.N. conference on racism in Geneva is another indication that true change is yet to come… I mean change with a capital C. In essence, this is the reverse of that ‘anti-vandalism rally that ends in vandalism’ metaphor I brought up in another post; in this case the U.S., and now other countries, are refusing to attend an anti-racism conference because they claim that racism is involved.

In fact, Canada also has said that it will not attend next week’s conference “because of fears of a repeat of the ‘Israel-bashing’ that occurred at the last conference.”

President Obama mentions being not entirely content with the final drafts of the meeting’s declaration and states that certain new additions "run counter to the U.S. commitment to unfettered free speech."
Ironically, Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad will be at the forum! He is mostly remembered for his ‘Israel should be "wiped off the map"’ comment and for questioning whether the Nazi Holocaust actually happened… and he will also be holding a news conference tomorrow; tomorrow is Holocaust Remembrance Day. Unfettered free speech doesn't appear to be a problem, Mr. Obama, so what's the real deal?

It seems to me that just about the only thing more counterproductive than the decision not to attend would have to be showing up to such a conference with swastikas scarred into their foreheads.
What good can possibly come out of this action? This decision de-legitimizes the role of the U.N. and makes a farce out of its very name; it demonstrates intolerance and a lack of flexibility and it undervalues any significant importance played out by the U.N. in actually uniting countries; further, U.N. credibility in handling these sensitive issues is greatly lowered in the public-eye. Lastly, it reduces diplomatic gravitas and gives more room and more voice to the likes of Ahmadinejad…

This conference should easily be able to adapt to a change in its scheduling to be used as the perfect venue to resolve any conflicts participating countries have in regards to its topics, especially if that topic deals with allegations of racism… and even if the entire conference is used up to this end, then hey! the next conference will be all that much more productive.

If these countries which are choosing to boycott the conference really wanted to resolve matters and fervently believe that the whole issue concerning the Israelis promotes racism, wouldn’t they be doing the smart thing? which is uniting together to debate this issue and bring about changes at a place and at a time where it definitely should matter… a U.N. Conference on Racism???

Here is what the Congressional Black Caucus had to say about this in a statement they released today:
"Had the United States sent a high-level delegation reflecting the richness and diversity of our country, it would have sent a powerful message to the world that we're ready to lead by example. Instead, the administration opted to boycott the conference, a decision that does not advance the cause of combating racism and intolerance, but rather sets the cause back."

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© 2009, Pascal-Denis Lussier

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