The UN from Elite to Street, in a Party Season, Skanska
Captured, Fetes Lantos
Byline: Matthew Russell Lee of
Inner City Press at the UN: News Muse
December 15 -- Day to night in the
same space in the UN two events took place that show the range of the
from elite to street, from out of touch to all-too in touch. Monday at
the Delegates' Dining Room, over blue cheese salad, tender chicken,
coffee, Tom Lantos was celebrated, by titan from Wall Street like
McDonough to Deputy Secretary General Asha Rose Migiro. In the crowd
UNICEF head Ann Veneman, former New York Times correspondent, and now
International Peace Institute spokesman Warren Hoge.
who sought to cover the event were asked, "Are you on the list?"
Inner City Press was, as scarfed down salad as Francis Deng spoke about
responsibility to protect, after joked about being taken due to his
Chinese at an event of the Stanley Foundation.
The high-brow lunch continued even as down in the
actually working diplomats met behind closed doors about Zimbabwe.
meeting, only the UK's David Milliband spoke. Even South Africa's
Kumalo could not be found. The elite were running the UN, and yet
later in the same fourth floor space, UN Peacekeeping held its annual
party. Bureaucrats covering the various missions shimmied to salsa
level of expertise, both in deployment and dancing, was high. This was
elite, this was the workaday UN. And no one tried to bar anyone else.
previous year, then-DPKO chief Jean-Marie Guehenno danced on a table in
UN's Ex-Press bar. His successor Alain Leroy did not try to match that.
Holl Lute, notorious for her Unifeed-memorialized dancing in Darfur,
not dominate. This was the UN's rank and file, granted the UN's party
least for one night.
UN's Ban, between Tom Lantos R.I.P.
and Negroponte, Wolff alert in background
the month, the new construction elite of Skanska, the Capital Master
contractors, were given the Delegates' Dining Room on a Friday, and
other UN staff. "This is a private party," UN staff were told. Some asked, who are these guys? The new
elite, was the answer. This despite Skanska recently being fired and
sued in San Mateo, California, click here
for that. Skanska and UNA-USA run the place, others just work here. But
who is the real UN?
the UN press corps, this is the
season of goodbye parties for countries leaving the Security Council
years on. At Indonesia's party, the ubiquitous Marty glad-handed
Churkin and the UK's Milliband. On December 16, South Africa's Kumalo
farewell, in a briefing and a party. And just before New Years, the
offer drinks. We'll be there, and will
report, in the spirit of UN-transparency. Watch this space.
Click here from Inner City Press'
December 12 debate on UN double standards
Click here for Inner
City Press' November 25 debate on Somalia, politics
Click here for Inner City
Press Nov. 7 debate on the war in Congo
Watch this site, and this Oct. 2 debate, on
UN, bailout, MDGs
and this October 17 debate, on
Security Council and Obama and the UN.
* * *
usually also available through Google
News and on Lexis-Nexis.
for a Reuters
AlertNet piece by this correspondent
about Uganda's Lord's Resistance Army. Click
for an earlier Reuters AlertNet piece about the Somali
Reconciliation Congress, and the UN's $200,000 contribution from an
undefined trust fund. Video
UN Office: S-453A, UN, NY 10017
Reporter's mobile (and
earlier Inner City Press are listed here, and some are available
in the ProQuest service, and now on Lexis-Nexis.
2006-08 Inner City Press, Inc. To request
reprint or other permission, e-contact Editorial [at]