Wednesday, April 06, 2005

From the Left: Kofi should step down

Kenneth Cain is an internationalist UN booster who still thinks "Annan is not personally corrupt or incompetent." Nonetheless, the UN's complete and total failures in Congo, Darfur and Rwanda convince him that Annan is useless. Here are three key paragraphs from Cain's op-ed in the Observer (UK):

I am co-author of a book critical of Annan's peacekeeping legacy, Emergency Sex (and Other Desperate Measures): True Stories from a War Zone . My co-author, Dr Andrew Thomson, penned a line that drove the UN leadership to fire him. Lamenting UN negligence in failing Bosnian Muslims whom it had promised to protect in its 'safe area' of Srebrenica - where 8,000 men were slaughtered - Thomson wrote: 'If blue-helmeted UN peacekeepers show up in your town or village and offer to protect you, run. Or else get weapons. Your lives are worth so much less than theirs.'

Our book is often criticised by fellow travellers on the left because we hold Annan and the UN accountable. As head of peacekeeping then, and as secretary-general now, Annan's power to effect any change on the ground, our critics remind us, is constrained by the interests of the Security Council (the US and France didn't want to intervene in Rwanda, the French again in Bosnia, and China and Russia now in Darfur). Therefore it's unrealistic to argue that Annan should risk his job by exhorting his Security Council bosses to do the right thing in the face of genocide.

Our response? Annan asks - no, orders - unarmed civilians to risk their lives every day as election observers, human rights monitors, drivers and secretaries in the most dangerous conditions all over the world. They do it, heroically, every day. And, in the service of peace, some pay with their lives; others with their sanity. How can he then not ask of himself the courage to risk his job in the cause of preventing genocide? At the very least, he could go down trying to save lives, as opposed to going down trying to explain why he didn't.

No comments: