The Observer on Kofi Annan
I nodded in agreement throughout this Observer article arguing Kofi Annan
right up until the last paragraph.
After detailing UN outrages, including a first-hand account, comes this
important paragraph (emphasis added):
The second searing irony for me is that the American neoconservative right
has occupied the moral high ground in critique of Annan, outflanking the
left, which sits on indefensible territory in his support. But if prevention
of genocide and protection of the vulnerable are not core priorities on the
left, then what is? If anyone's values have been betrayed, it is those of us
on the left who believe most deeply in the organisation's ideals. I am mystified by the reluctance of the left both in the US and
the UK (the Guardian's coverage, for example) to criticise Annan's
leadership. The bodies burn today in Darfur — and the women are raped
-- amid the sound of silence from Annan. How many genocides,
the prevention of which is the UN's very raison d'Ítre, will we endure
before the left is moved to criticise Annan? Shouldn't we be hearing
the left screaming bloody murder about the UN's failure to protect
vulnerable Africans? Has it lost its compass so badly that it purports to
excuse the rape of Congolese women by UN peacekeepers under Annan's watch?
Is stealing money intended for widows and orphans in Iraq merely a
forgivable bureaucratic snafu?
The author is a self-identified member of "the left", so I'm gratified to see
criticism of Kofi Annan and the United Nations from the left. It's ironic,
however, that the theme of the article is criticism of the left.
I have to disagree with the last paragraph, though:
Annan is not personally corrupt or incompetent. But the UN cannot have
failed more catastrophically when the stakes have been highest. If he does
not lose his job for that, then for what? And if not now, when?
Kofi Annan is personally corrupt and incompetent.