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At AU Bash, Bashing Ban Ki-moon for Excluding Africans, None on Board of Examination of Press Either

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, June 2 -- In a night's respite from growing UN grumbles of neglect of Africa, the African Union hosted a big reception by the East River on June 1.

  There was food from among others Burundi, Senegal and Mali, no sign of Azawad, though the AU Peace and Security Council is coming to New York on June 13 to discuss Mali.  There was at least for a time an open bar, with ginger juice promising revitalization.

  Among the crowd, Ambassadors complained to Inner City Press that even Ban Ki-moon's near final job announcement did not include any Africans: the Department of Economic and Social Affairs was given, as expected, to China, just as the Department of Political Affair is slated for an American, Jeffrey Feltman.

  The post of Assistant at DESA went to Pakistan, and the Department of Public Information to an Austrian. "So I guess all we'll get is DGACM," a Permanent Representative told Inner City Press, referring to the Department of General Assembly and Conference Management.

  This is expected to be the Senegalese current Registrar of the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda, Mr. Dieng, as Inner City Press has exclusively reported since May 1.

  The UN's mercurial relationship with Rwanda also came up. "Sometimes Rwanda is held up at the model African country," a Deputy Permanent Representative told Inner City Press. "Then suddenly they are accused of still helping rebels in Eastern Congo and they are called the bad guy.... Rwanda is like the UN's flavor of the month." He mentioned a kind of candy, filled with chile.

  Cameroon recently celebrated its national day, in this same UN cafeteria space and then in the literally leafy northern suburb of New Rochelle. There too the complaints were of exclusive, with one well placed source saying that in today's UN, of Ban and Susana Malcorra, "you have to be from Argentina or the World Food Program to get a job."

  There was almost no Western corporate press presence at these African receptions; at a stakeout by US Ambassador Susan Rice earlier in the week ostensibly on Sudan, the correspondents of Reuters and Al-Arabiya were called on, only to ask about Syria. (Speaking of a flavor of the month, one wag thought.)

  Both of these correspondents have re-reported Inner City Press exclusives without giving any credit, the latter on an African (Union) story, the resignation of Ibrahim Gambari from UNAMID in Darfur, which Inner City Press reported ten days ago.

  Friday afternoon found both of these correspondents, with other big media, pushing forward to name over the Press' objections a five person Board of Examination to investigate Inner City Press with an eye to expelling it.

  There are no African journalists on the UN Correspondents Association Board of Examination, nor on its Executive Committee. The exclusion is everywhere. But Friday was a party, and a good one, organized by the wives of the African Union countries' Permanent Representatives, as one of them pointed out to Inner City Press. To better days.

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These reports are usually also available through Google News and on Lexis-Nexis.

Click here for a Reuters AlertNet piece by this correspondent about Uganda's Lord's Resistance Army. Click here for an earlier Reuters AlertNet piece about the Somali National Reconciliation Congress, and the UN's $200,000 contribution from an undefined trust fund.  Video Analysis here

Click here for Sept 26, 2011 New Yorker on Inner City Press at UN

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