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In UN GA on Slavery, Israel But Not Maged in the House, Colonial Budget Fight?

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, March 26 -- When the UN on Monday commemorated those who fought the Transatlantic slave trade, who paid attention? While inside the General Assembly Hall the Permanent Representative of Grenada Dessima Williams praised liberators and maroons like the Garifuna, outside another Caricom Perm Rep told Inner City Press, "Great but the turn out is disappointing."

  Others agreed. Just as one example, Secretary General Ban Ki-moon's new Special Adviser on Africa Maged Abdelaziz of Egypt was not in attendance.

  By contrast, whatever the motives, Israel's Ron Prosor was there. The Caricom Perm Rep said that he had noticed. There was a joke about need friends, that "even" North Korea might come. In fact, DPRK was in the house. So, Inner City Press noted, was Permanent Observer of Palestine Riyad Mansour. So where was Maged?

  From a Nordic country a junior staff stopped and told Inner City Press, we thought we should have our seat filled so they sent me. At least they did.

  Jamaica's Permanent Representative Wolf was there, in the mix raising funds for a memorial to the transatlantic slave trade. US Deputy Permanent Representative Rosemary Dicarlo was there, politely referring a question about Sudan to "Jeff," who doesn't answer. Venezuela's Perm Rep was in the house, and Cuba's too. Is combatting slavery a uniquely ALBA issue?

Perhaps it is the symbolic nature of the GA. Back in the North Lawn building, a hard working representative from the Horn of Africa scoffed, the GA is just a talk shop. The work in the North Lawn was about the budget, with "the Europeans," according to the Horn, trying to appoint "eminent people" to change the scales of assessment. "We are supposed to do that," the African representative said, not without logic. A response has been sought from the US. Watch this site.

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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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