The Cloning of DAG Hammarskjold
Poor Dag Hammarskjold must be turning in his grave. Every aspiring internationalist, qualified
or otherwise, is trying to clone him. Whenever anyone gets his fifteen minutes of fame, he suddenly
drops in the name of the former Swedish Secretary-General. Even some of his successors hinted to
potential biographers or reporters that they have his foresight, vim, and vigour. Dear Mr.
Hammarskjold: It must be a sign of immortality if everyone thinks they are you.
One Billion Dollar Question
During a recent visit by the Secretary-General to Washington, D.C., a financial question was
raised about the time that the Security Council resolution 1441 was taken. Naturally there were intensive
discussions on Iraq. However, one report indicated that Mr. Annan asked whether the United States
government, as the host country, could provide a $1 billion loan to facilitate implementing the
new plan of building a new tower while renewing the 50 year old one. There was no indication about
the answer. It may be blowing in the wind of Iraq.
Neighbourhood Raises Questions on U.N. Building Plans
The Association of Turtle Bay -- the neighbourhood of the U.N. -- and other groups including
an East Midtown Coalition for Sensible Development, have raised questions about U.N. building plans
-- including taking over space between 42nd and 41st Street occupied by a park -- an active
playground for youngsters and grown-ups alike. The park is worth between 50 - 70 million dollars,
according to civil groups concerned; they are unhappy that some U.N. officials would only
compensate by building a narrow bikeway/walkway between 42nd and 48th Street along the edge of
the FDR Drive by the East River. A Town Hall meeting called for Thursday 6 February was meant to
be the beginning of a prolonged action. There are already many queries about who is the real
decision-maker on behalf of the U.N. and who is behind the scenes. New York is a real estate
town and such "deals" are often the nourishment of gossip. It is a crucial time for U.N.
administration to be as transparent and open as possible to avert unfair stories by competing
parties, curious or otherwise cynical groups.
A Cyprus Minute
Those handling negotiations on the divided island of Cyprus are so optimistic that they
announced a competition for drawing a new flag for a united country and a new national anthem.
In line with guidelines on a time limit for national interventions on the international stage, the
Cypriot national anthem was granted no more than one minute. There was no indication whether it
should be in Greek or Turkish; an equal 30 seconds for each or a demographic 20 to 40 according
to population spread. Surely that will be the last problem on the mind of our outstanding
negotiator Alvaro de Soto.
Later or Much Later
Newly appointed High Commissioner for Human Rights Sergio Vieira de Mello made a three-day
visit to Ango which was supposed to be "dominated by questions over alleged human rights violations
in the separatists Cabinda enclave" according to a press statement issued in New York. The
Portuguese speaking Brazilian met the Portuguese speaking Angolan President Jose Eduardo dos Santos
but said that he did not raise with him the Cabinde question, adding that he will discuss it with
Director TV/Radio Post Advertised: Externally
The job has been pending for over two years. A top official of Italian Radio/TV RAI, Professor
Carlo Sartori, was very interested but turned it down when it was eventually offered. There is no
point of speculating whether changing conditions in New York or Rome dissuaded him from taking up an
offer he so keenly sought. Now the post, at D-1 level, is announced again. The Economist, for
example, published a paid advertisement which is sure to bring forth hundreds of applications from
an increasingly downsized industry in crisis; AOL Time Warner is just the publicized part. How that
will impact on our internal candidates is an important question. For example, there are at least three
experienced internal professionals. They are, in alphabetical order: Randy Cline-
Thomas, who is currently officer in charge of that section; Richard Sydinham, who is serving as
Spokesman to the General Assembly President, and Stephen Whitehouse, who volunteered for a field
assignment when a "political" decision was about to be made in response to a demanche by the
Italian government. At a time when jobs are cut and morale is very low, an internal selection will,
in addition to fairness, provide a cycle of promotions; not only for one of the contenders, but also
for those who would replace him/her into a vacated P-5 post. However, competition from outside is
expected to increase. Additionally, there will always be the temptation by avid networkers to use
the opportunity in order to gain favour with some helpful media or public relations group which
might reciprocate. Sorry again, Randy, Steve and Richard.
No Tamil Tiger
After an announcement in January that the Secretary-General will be visiting Sri Lanka in
February, the trip was quietly shelved, or "postponed" in diplomatic parlance. Pity for the
Sri Lankan Foreign Minister who was gearing himself up for some photo opportunities after
announcing with as much limited fanfare as he could muster, that he will personally escort the
distinguished visitor to the heart of Tamil Tigers region to show that the internal war was over.
The Foreign Minister had already indicated he was a candidate from Asia for the post of U.N.
Secretary-General. A New York version is that there was no official indication of a visit and
that the Chef de Cabinet was merely exploring options.
In Simple Latin
Salutamus primo conceierge del maximum conciergi cantata veritas non verbatum in paperus
Sulzbergere elevatus multos alteros cum laudi ponitifcatus tutti altera factati shashi bacci
factatum el rizzo riza perque non lisso Liza?
Patron Saint for Internet
Going along with the times, the Vatican is reportedly researching for a patron saint for
Internet. The Catholic Community Forum "Reports that there are 4280 patron saints protecting
1567 different areas of human endeavours," according to press report which indicated increased
pressure to name a saint for surfers "as they made their way through the dark pathways of
cyberspace." About 5000 Web surfers submitted recommendations to www.santiebeati.it after
which six candidates will be submitted for final selections. The paper seems inclined towards
archangel Gabriel who delivered to the Virgin Mary the message that she was going to give birth
to Jesus. Yes, if that is archangel Gabriel's experience, the paper argues, it may be appropriate
for him to be patron saint of e-mail.
Angola Mission Accomplished
The Security Council confirmed that the Angolan government has taken adequate steps to start
implementing the Lusaka Protocol on rehabilitation of that war-torn country. Successful U.N.
efforts here were led by Dr. Ibrahim Gambari, the experienced former Permanent Representative of
Nigeria who, as co-ordinator of the African group in 1991, managed to push for the election of the
first Secretary-General. It is hoped that Mr. Annan will now utilize Dr. Gambari's sterling
advice on other African issues.