Again, the NRK radio 2 brings us some shocking news, this time how the UN with Kofi Annan at its helm knew very well what was brewing both in Rwanda and Bosnia, but refused to label it a genocide as if so done, it, the UN, would then be under the obligation to act in accordance with the rules of the Genocide convention.
The opening statement of the program goes thus (translated verbatim from Norwegian by me):
After the WW2, we said Never again a genocide, and the UN was founded, very much as a tool to prevent new genocides. In spite of this, new genocides took place, in Bosnia, in Rwanda. The UN knew about it, but chose not to call it a genocide in order to not have to intervene, a professor of philosophy claims.
The professor in question is Arne Johan Vetlesen, and he should be congratulated for having contacted the NRK radio 2 following a previous program – where the secretary general of the Norwegian Church Aid, Atle Sommerfeldt performs a mea culpa,- to insist that there be more debate on the role of the UN.
Vetlesen provides a harrowing account of how the top echelons of the UN apparatus were fully informed on how the Hutus in Rwanda in 1994 and the Serbs in 1995 were armed and had evil intentions, but still chose to do nothing to stop the blood baths.
Apparently the genie (as far as Norway goes at any rate) was let out of the bottle during the NRK telethon, this year’s recipient was Norwegian Refugee Council , and the secretary general Elisabeth Rasmusson broke the news that the complex situation in Eastern Kongo is in part due to how armed Hutus were let into the refugee camps in Eastern Kongo. This in turn must have spurred the Norwegian Church Aid to come clean – in Norwegian only and only on channels where the intellectual elite alone tunes in, as it uploaded this newsletter on November 10 to expiate its sin.
But this only makes it worse, since it appears that was it not for Rasmusson’s booboo, Sommerfeldt would never have felt the need to come clean. And, I am not sure if expiating in Norwegian only really constitutes very much in the department of accepting responsibility!
Regardless how tasteless and belated Sommerfeldt (to his honor, he has at least partially expressed remorse, where is Red Cross’s contribution here, they were named and shamed too?), what are we now to think of the UN?
Let’s put the different bits and pieces in its historical perspective:
The Rwanda tragedy took place in 1994, while the war in Bosnia took place between 1992 – 1995. Nobody who reads this blog needs to be reminded that whilst this was brewing, the Oslo Peace Accords were ratified and the Nobel Peace Price duly awarded .
If you will allow me some speculative conjectures here, it seems to me that the gentlemen in question, from top to bottom, and that includes in particular Mr Egeland, who provided the necessary cover for these negotiations, failed to act on the urgent request to intervene in Bosnia, Rwanda, because the messianic allure of bringing peace to the Middle East was too tantalizing. Maybe they thought, that once Israel was sorted, the rest would be like a piece of cake. Which probably – still speculating – explains some of the visceral hatred some of the main persons behind the failed peace accords feel towards Israel.
Is this ugly? You bet. Is this speculative? I’d certainly say so. But is this far fetched? Not necessarily.
By the way, can the UN be indicted for having aided and abetted not one, but two genocides?
Prof. M. McGonagall