Wednesday, September 23, 2009
Gaddafi Wows the UN General Assembly
Libyan leader Muammar al Gaddafi addressed the UN Assembly yesterday afternoon. It was his first such address, and unfortunately probably his last. The UN normally allots a 15 minute window for heads of state to address the assembly. Gaddafi opened that window really wide and jumped right through – extending his remarks to 100 minutes!
Gaddafi’s speech was not well received, particularly by the five permanent countries sitting on the UN Security Council. His speech has been described by many with a variety of colorful adjectives and phrases, such as accusatory, derogatory, a hate filled rant, and a rambling diatribe.
Call it what you want, but I thought it was great!
Certainly, it will not go down in the annals of history as one of the most poetic or prosaic speeches. It was not even eloquently delivered. Rather, an obviously sleep-deprived Gaddafi, with a catepillar resting on his upper lip, was rambling, looked confused, and displayed what one might just consider anti-social behavior. At one point, he even took a copy of the UN Charter, ripped out a few pages and tossed the charter itself across the room. But one must look past these idiosyncrasies to see the beauty of his speech.
Gaddafi essentially exposed the UN for the sham that it is. Obstensibly created for the purpose of securing peace among nations, the UN has failed to prevent over 65 wars that have occured since its inception in 1945. It is nothing more that a vehicle employed by the self-anointed world “elites” to extract the resources of poorer nations - particularly African nations.
Among the more salient points raised by the Libyan leader was the fact that representation in the UN is decidedly biased towards the five permanent members of the Security Council (China, France, Russian Federation, the United Kingdom and the United States). To address this discrepancy, Gaddafi suggested that the veto power of the five permanent members be abolished or that the Security Council be expanded by adding additional member states. Without these changes, Gaddafi stated that the Security Council should more rightly called the “Terror Council”, due to the unfair sway it holds over smaller nations.
In addition to accusing the security council of being an al-Qaida like terrorist body, Gaddafi demanded that George Bush and Tony Blair be put on trial for war crimes, demanded that African nations be paid $7.7 trillion in compensation for the pillaging that was (and is) western colonialism, and suggested that the swine flu is a biological weapon that was intentionally released from a military laboratory so that Western companies could profit on vaccines.
The speech also had a few awkward moments, such as when Gaddafi offered to move UN headquarters to Libya so that jetlag and cumbersome airline security measures could be avoided. He called for a one state solution for the Middle East crisis - suggesting that the newly created state be called "Isratine". Gaddafi also called for investigations of the MLK, JFK, and Dag Hammarskjold assassinations.
Albeit a lengthy, disjointed and unpolished speech, the message Gaddafi delivered was essentially a good one. The UN has not lived up to the promise it was created for. Its charter is not worth the paper it was written on. Rather than acting as an agent of world peace, the UN has helped to foster neo-colonialism in under developed countries. Perhaps it's time for a change.