Cheat-Seeking Missles

Thursday, August 25, 2005

Minutia, Humor, But No Bolton

I thought the UN press corps would pepper the spokesperson today about John Bolton's 750 amendments to the upcoming Big UN Deal, but not a peep. Not to say the briefing wasn't interesting today.

There was this example of UN humor:
Question: Will you release something soon about the coming summit, like the list of speakers with some 170 Heads of State?

Mr. Haq
: Yes, as you know, every year, as we come across these meetings, we try to get to you as soon as possible a list of speakers. That is being worked out and as soon as we can distribute it, we will give you it out to you.

: How are you going to fit in 175 leaders of the world? Two minutes each?

Mr. Haq
: As you know, all the world’s leaders are very short and pithy when they talk. That shouldn’t be a problem.
And then this example of counting the angels on the head of a pin in the face of the upcoming serious debate over the organization's future:
Question: Another item: the “UN Wire” said that Louise Fréchette laid a wreath a week ago, Friday, at the second anniversary of the bombing [of the UN compound in Baghdad, Iraq], but she really didn’t. That ceremony, I was told, was organized by the Staff Union, and she was just there. How do you explain the…

Mr. Haq
: There was a wreath-laying, but no, I don’t believe the Deputy Secretary-General was the one who laid the wreath. She did attend the ceremony. That was a ceremony that took place last Friday at about 10:15 at the visitor’s side.

: The “UN Wire” said she laid the wreath.

Mr. Haq
: I don’t have anything to do with how “UN Wire” is produced, I don’t know about that. I know that she did participate. I believe the wreath-laying was done by other people.

[A correspondent who had been present at the ceremony said the wreath-laying was done by two injured survivors of the bombing. The Deputy Secretary-General was among some other UN staff among a group of about 300 or 400 people who watched.]

There is your answer. She was in attendance, but it was other people who did the wreath-laying. I don’t know about the “UN Wire” account.
Well, good to see the press corps is on top of the really big stuff. With a crack bunch of reporters like these, we can rest assured that the UN will never suffer a big scandal ... like, say, some despot using bribes and contracts to skim billions of dollars from a program that trades oil for food.