Questions on Sudan, Sri Lanka & Haiti Left Unanswered Amid
Free Lunch & Happy Talk, No Q&A
Russell Lee, News Muse
November 19 -- Rather than answer questions, the UN tries to
fill the time of Q&A with Pollyanna information about which the
press corps has no questions or apparently interest. Outside, a free
lunch is served, as if to guarantee attendance. To this has the UN
November 19, the
noon briefing was truncated with only a handful of questions allowed
by acting Deputy Spokesman Farhan Haq -- despite riots against the UN
in Haiti, and funding reversals for
the Southern Sudan referendum vaguely acknowledged in UN reports --
so that a press conference could be held about the UN's role in
industrial development in Africa.
statements were read out,
not a single question was asked by the journalists in attendance, in
a briefing room with two chairs roped off due to bed buds.
free lunch was served, apparently this was the inducement for
attendance if not questions. But what questions could be asked?
fact, the UN has
been chased out of Chad, and increasingly out of the Congo and Nepal.
There are riots against the UN in Haiti -- not unrelated to Nepal --
and hearings being scheduled for next year in the US House of
sample questions long left unanswered though submitted in writing to
the Office of the Spokesperson for the Secretary General, another
time that they canceled their noon briefing:
Darfur, some question why JMAC data is not on UNAMID's web site,
some say it is routinely and selectively
respond, and whether these
figures include Tarabat market.
confirm or deny that staff of Mr. Deng's Prevention of
Genocide office are asked to work on his books, quantify what amount
of time and whether this complies with UN rules, and if the books
should be attributed to the UN.
This last question
has actually been asked three times without answer, as have questions
about the Secretary General's links with Sri Lanka and its
leadership, which Ban's spokesman Martin Nesirky has said may never be
General himself did a rare stakeout on November 18, but only read a
statement, taking not a single question, even on the anti-UN riots and
claims in Haiti. Then he left headquarters again.
UN's Ban & Akasaka on Nov 18, answers to questions not shown
the three UN working days so far this week, unanswered questions
include reports of a deadly bombing in Darfur (asked Nov. 18), any
follow up on the murder of UN staffer Louis Maxwell in Afghanistan
(asked Nov. 16), bombing of South Sudan by Khartoum (asked Nov. 15)
-- on which Haq said “we were trying to get some information, but
we didn’t have a confirmation of that particular fighting. If we
get any further details, including a confirmation, we’d have
something.” And in the four days since, nothing.
In the face
of this, the UN
quietly lent out the General Assembly
for the filming of a scene of Transformers 3, and tonight holds a
concert about its Academic Impact. Into what is the UN being
transformed? Watch this site.
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