From the "You don't say?" Department
December 22nd, 2008 (02:13 pm)
current mood: cynical
current mood: cynical
Mugabe "a mad dictator," U.N. rights expert says
GENEVA (Reuters) – Zimbabwe's President Robert Mugabe is "a mad dictator" who has lost all sense of reality, a United Nations human rights expert said on Monday.
(I would never have guessed! I'm shocked! Shocked I say!)
The only way Mugabe can be removed from power is for Europe to convince his "great protector South Africa" to withdraw all support for him, Jean Ziegler, an adviser to the U.N.'s Human Rights Council, told Swiss Radio.
Wow, I wonder what led Mr. Ziegler to this profound conclusion. But then again, considering the UN's usual reluctance to take a stand on anything (meaning it usually falls for everything), I guess we should be glad that someone in the UN is willing to call a spade a spade--at least in this instance.
Then again, Mr. Ziegler also called Mugabe a "former hero of the liberation struggle".
I realize that the Western world has a shameful history of colonialism and mistreatment of the rest of the world. But I wonder if a day will ever come when Westerners will stop using guilt about history as an excuse to ignore modern-day human rights abuses. My guess would be it won't happen so long we have a small radical left-wing fringe that is more concerned with looking backward than looking forward to come up with real solutions to problems.
The problem is that this radical fringe seems to dominate all discussion at the United Nations. Combined with the United States turning into a virtual rogue nation thanks to Bush and his cabal of neo-cons, international relations seem to have become so poisoned that there is little room for pragmatism. And it's the common people who suffer while the ideologues, academics, and politicians bicker over nothing more than preserving their own status.
It doesn't help that the most powerful nation in the world has become just as caught up in this clash of extremes in its domestic politics. Americans tend to be polarized into two camps regarding relations with the rest of the world: a knee-jerk superiority complex that looks down on the rest of the world on one hand and a knee-jerk support of the United Nations regardless of its obvious problems on the other.
What about the middle ground that says that international cooperation and building global institutions is necessary and desirable but at the same time, the UN in its current state, has lost all kinds of credibility? Is this not obvious if one can simply take a look at the world as it is instead of through the distorted lens of knee-jerk ideology?
While one might applaud an adviser to the UN's Human Rights Council actually having the audacity to (gasp! shock! awe!) criticize a violator of human rights, we cannot lose sight of the fact that Zimbabwe has a seat on this same Human Rights Council. And Zimbabwe is hardly the first gross violator of human rights to sit on that council.
There are many ways in which the modern UN has become completely ridiculous, but this particular example has to be at the top of the list.
Perhaps it really is time for a league of democracies which, while not competing to be an alternative to the UN, would at least be able to address issues the UN seems completely unwilling and unable to deal with. After all, the UN seems to consider bashing the U.S. and Israel a full-time job.
It would not be hard to get new leadership with fresh ideas in such a new international organization. All you'd have to do is create a rule saying anti-Semites are not allowed to serve, which would disqualify three-fourths of current UN delegates and officials.