Monday, October 17, 2005

A "Skewed Sense of Priorities"?

I would hope that this news item (reprinted in full below) would be a significant nail in the coffin of UN worship. I am not, however, holding my breath. You see, the Telegraph reports that the UN has flown Robert Mugabe, yes, that Mugabe, to Rome to address a conference hunger!

A "skewed sense of priorities"? Perhaps if one were actively seeking the "Understatement of the Year" award.

Mugabe to speak at hunger debate as he defies EU travel ban

President Robert Mugabe flew to Rome in defiance of a European Union travel ban after the United Nations caused outrage by inviting him to address a conference on world hunger today.
Zimbabwe, once the bread basket of southern Africa and a major exporter of food, now depends on western aid to avoid starvation.

Four million Zimbabweans, a third of the population, need supplies from the World Food Programme.

Critics of the Harare regime are appalled that the UN's Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO), whose mission statement is "helping to build a world without hunger", invited Mr Mugabe to address a conference in Rome marking its 60th anniversary.

Tony Hall, the US ambassador to the UN food organisations in Rome, said: "My government is excited about the FAO event which is organised to remind people about hunger.

"However my feeling is we shouldn't be inviting someone who has absolutely turned his back on the poor in his own country. He has made a mockery about the hungry and everyone should be upset about this."

Mr Hall said that since 2002 the US had donated almost $300 million [£169 million] in food aid to Zimbabwe.

He visited the country when the regime was engaged in bulldozing large areas of the poorest black townships.

This campaign, personally ordered by Mr Mugabe, destroyed the homes or livelihoods of 700,000 people and harmed another 2.4 million, according to a UN report.

A spokesman for the Foreign Office said: "Going to Rome to celebrate World Food Day whilst millions of ordinary Zimbabweans face food shortages as a direct result of his flawed policies simply emphasise Mugabe's skewed sense of priorities."

Zimbabwe's transformation from self-sufficiency to dependency coincided with Mr Mugabe's seizure of white-owned farms.

He blames food shortages on drought. But critics say hunger is the direct and predictable result of his policies.

Tendai Biti, from the leadership of Zimbabwe's opposition Movement for Democratic Change, also criticised the UN invitation.

"It's a tragedy," he said. "Inviting Mugabe sends exactly the wrong signal. He has completely destroyed the economic and agricultural fabric of this country.

"The UN shouldn't play ping-pong with the suffering of the Zimbabwean people." An FAO spokesman said that as a member "in good standing" with the agency Mr Mugabe was invited to attend.

"The UN does things sometimes," said Mr Hall. "They roll over backwards to try to be fair but someone like this really makes a mockery of what we are about."

Mugabe, a Roman Catholic, last travelled to Rome for Pope John Paul II's funeral when he embarrassed the Prince of Wales, reaching across to shake the royal hand during the service.

Mr Mugabe accepted the FAO's invitation on Friday and will speak at the organisation's headquarters.

He seizes any opportunity to visit the western world and defy a travel ban imposed on him by the EU.

This measure, introduced in 2002, supposedly prevents Mr Mugabe and 94 other members of his regime from visiting any member state. A similar ban is in force in America.

Yet Mr Mugabe repeatedly exploits a significant loophole.
The travel ban does not apply to UN functions because these are held to be above the jurisdiction of any individual state. So Mr Mugabe has frequently visited New York to address UN summits.

He uses these occasions to denounce his western critics and blame them for Zimbabwe's food shortage.

In June, Zimbabwe's state press blamed Britain for Africa's dry weather and claimed that Tony Blair was using "chemical weapons" to cause droughts and famines across the continent.

Today he can be expected to seize the opportunity to make another attack on the Prime Minister and the "western imperialists" who are, apparently, obsessed with overthrowing his bankrupt regime.

And this is the organization that I'm supposed to want to take over the internet, the US, and the Constitution? Right, I'm sure Kim Jong Il & Co. will give simply smashing conferences on free speech and human rights.


The Tiger said...

Are they trying to taunt us, do you think?

Viatrix said...

Sometimes one can't help but wonder...

Did you see the picture of Chavez embracing Mugabe? Arrrggghhh! I stand by my Jimmy Carter Barometer.