News Ian O'Doherty

Wednesday 1 October 2014

Since when did we report to Tunisia?

Published 16/07/2014 | 02:30

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A boy covers his face from the stench of dead bodies during the genocide in Rwanda, 1994 Photo: Corinne Dufka
A boy covers his face from the stench of dead bodies during the genocide in Rwanda, 1994 Photo: Corinne Dufka

So, what are we going to do about a problem called the UN?

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As you are undoubtedly aware, Frances Fitzgerald has been busy being grilled by the UN’s Human Rights Council in Geneva.

The woman, who will always be Mammy-in-Chief following her role as Minster for Brats (or, if you want to be super pedantic, ‘Minister for Children and Youth Affairs’) is facinging two days of questions from the busted flush that is the UN over the way we treat our citizens.

As you would expect from such a lofty body, we are sending over one of our senior politicians to be harangued and lectured on issues like Traveller ethnicity, lesbian and gay rights, state abuse victims and a whole host of other topics that all share one thing in common — they are Irish issues and we shouldn’t be reporting to anybody on our progress, or otherwise.

Even more pertinently, we should not be presenting ourselves to an organisation as pointless, corrupt and cynical as the failed experiment that is the UN.

It would, perhaps, be a cheap shot to point out that the ‘expert’ UN panel features people from such bastions of human rights as the Utopia that is Tunisia.

Frankly, it wouldn’t have surprised me if the panel had been composed entirely of militant gay activists from the Castro district, accompanied by some Burqa-wearing women from Kuwait, just to give the panel a bit of gender and cultural diversity.

I suppose, when you consider that we could have had a panel of people from places like the Congo and Benin, or countries where they find it acceptable to kill people for apostasy or homosexuality, we’re probably doing well.

But the simply fact is that neither we, nor any other Western country, should ever bother putting themselves through such a such ridiculous and insulting charade.

John McCain was lambasted as a big, old white meanie when he suggested the idea of a ‘League of Democracies’ to replace the eternally discredited UN.

That received the predictable tsunami of abuse and accusations of racism and white imperialism but it made perfect sense — every Western democracy and every country aspiring to be one, should leave the UN to the theocrats, the cowards, the despots and start a new organisation of like-minded countries.

The United Nations is a bit like one of those organisations you joined when you were an idealistic youth and weren’t mature enough to realise that lofty ideals and woolly emoting don’t count for much in the realities of the big, bad world.

In fact, we’re just like those people who have never been able to cancel their monthly standing order for Amnesty simply because we like the idea of what it represents rather than the reality of what it actually does.

Instead, we continue to wibble on about equality, transparency and tolerance in front of an organisation that is morally and financially corrupt and has done far, far more harm than good and is guided by impotence, politicking and internecine squabbling.

Simply put, the UN lost its right to exist in Rwanda. An ineffective but essentially irrelevant organisation before the genocide of 1994, it stood by while the single greatest atrocity of our lifetime was carried out in front of the world’s news cameras.

The UN is not a humanitarian organisation dedicated to the improvement of our species.It is a vast and monstrously corrupt self-perpetuating bureaucracy that is run by unaccountable, unelected mad people. Just think a million civil servants making decisions on a global level.

Actually, Jesus, scratch that thought.

My God, sometimes my brain conjures images that even terrify me.

Look at my fan mail and weep with envy

As will probably come as a surprise — although it should definitely be a cause for concern — this column has occasional contact with several politicians. 

Granted, these high-level meetings usually involve an off-the-record beer and a gossip, invariably conducted in some out-of-the-way drinking den with neither party particularly keen to be seen publicly with the other.

So when an official-looking letter arrived with the ‘Seanad Eireann’ postmark, I assumed it was yet another politician trying to inveigle me on to the board of some lucrative, but pointless, Government quango.

Um, not quite.

Because as soon as I opened the missive, a handwritten note fell out which started with the words: “You f***ing wanker”. The anonymous correspondent then extolled the virtues of that crank Margaretta d’Arcy before cheerfully declaring that: “If you fall into an open manhole cover, don’t blame me.”

I would have assumed that no member of our august Upper House would ever resort to such behaviour except for one thing — they spelled ‘principles’ as ‘PRINICBLES’ (the upper case was theirs, by the way).

So, someone so unfamiliar with the concept of principles  that they can’t even spell the word?

Yeah, it definitely came from an actual senator, then.

Maybe she just feels old?

A woman in Minnesota has just celebrated her 107th birthday and she puts her longevity down to: “believing in the Good Lord, never tasting liquor, never dancing and never smoking”.

That’s not the kind of Mid-Western Methuselah we should be congratulating. After all, spending more than a century in a place like Minnesota without ever having a drink seems merely stubborn and pointlessly self-defeating.

Nah, I’m going to take a leaf out of my own Nana’s book — she still drinks and smokes and has a wicked glint in her eye even though she’s heading on for 100.

In fairness, a doctor did warn me that she was the exception and not the rule for smokers or drinkers.

In fact, he may even have said something about her being kept alive by some weird and symbiotic relationship between her body and brandy that made absolutely no medical sense. He may even have pointed out that anybody else who tries to live like her would be dead in a year.

So, a choice — listen to the doctors and all their fancy book learnin’ and quackery skills and supposed expertise?

Or take a lesson from a near-100-year-old senile delinquent who still thinks her grandson is a boring nerd who takes life too seriously?

I know which one I’ll pick, thank you very much.

Ian O'Doherty

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