Middle-east Arab News Opinion | Asharq Al-awsat

Opinion: United Vileness | ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
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FILE – In this Sept. 13, 2005 file photo, the flags of member nations fly outside the General Assembly building at the United Nations headquarters in New York. (AP Photo/Adam Rountree, File)

I liked the idea and function of the United Nations because it is an arena for dialogue and dispute resolution. Even after discovering its limitations, I was still convinced that it was the best invention by politicians after the two world wars. On its podium, Castro and the US president both spoke of their policies and position towards the other. On this same platform, an African minister spoke on behalf of his country, and was followed by his opponent who claimed he was the sole and legitimate spokesman. Then they returned to their country and established companies for distributing death.

But here, on this platform, it is only fitting to discuss peace. When necessary, the Security Council may resort to something from Syrian poet Nizar Qabbani, which complicates the work of interpreters who have long heard Nizar say that poetry cannot be translated. Sort it out yourselves. The United Nations has not resolved many issues—especially not the important ones—and it was unable to protect the 800,000 Rwandans that were killed by machetes. In spite of this, it remained the best of the achievements of international politics.

The Security Council has always covered conflicts and wars and stood incapacitated, divided or as an accomplice. Its members, bother permanent and temporary, have always escaped moral responsibility. It has always witnessed travestis, such as Madeleine Albright standing alone in the face of 14 states to isolate Boutros Boutros-Ghali.

But I do not recall the council immersing itself in the united vileness that it has been practicing in Syria for two years.

Two great nations stand contesting in New York and fighting in Syria. Light arms? No. Heavy arms? Let’s keep it diversified. Are the S-300 missiles there or are they on the way? Has Obama made his decision or is he busy with souvenir pictures? Chemical or normal weapons? How many casualties—85,000 or 89,000? Geneva 1 or 2? Does the agreement deal with the fate of the Syrian president? Yes and no. America repeats that he should step down, while Russia reiterates that his fate is not the issue. Russia says the Geneva agreement is clear: 2014 elections. America says the Geneva agreement is very clear: the transition ends when he steps down.

Since the beginning of the US–Russian dispute, more than a hundred thousand people have died in Syria. The door of the Security Council is closed by the Russian veto, followed by the Chinese, even in the face of death and battle fields. Every once in a while, the US foreign minister discovered an unmatched invention since the creation of the wheel in China: Syria is not Libya. Really? How did he come to that?!

One-third of the Syrian people are displaced, the cities are ruined, the fields are burned, sovereignty is on the line and its surroundings are volatile. The Security Council is closed like the hearts of the “international community,” or so it’s called.