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At UN, Nicaraguan Priest Takes Helm and Swings Left, New Cold War at the Movies, Georgia Story Re-Told in UN Basement

Byline: Matthew Russell Lee of Inner City Press at the UN: News Analysis

UNITED NATIONS, September 16 -- A priest has taken the reins of the UN General Assembly, and Tuesday he preached peace and love. But Father Miguel d'Escoto Brockmann at his post-preach press conference, when Inner City Press asked the first question about what he will do to defuse what's been called the New Cold War, said that there are many more serious issues than Myanmar, Zimbabwe and Georgia, the ones Inner City Press listed from this summer.

   Iraq, d'Escoto said, do you know how many people have been killed there? He cited the Lancet, as he had to journalists throughout the week. When asked by another reporter if he equated Russia in Georgia with the U.S. in Iraq, as wars of aggression, d'Escoto touched his hearing aid and said he hadn't heard right, was the question if Georgia's entry into South Ossetia was an aggression and against the UN Charter. Of course, he said.  Far from holding both sides to account, Father d'Escoto is a partisan on the other side. Other questions are sure to arise

Miguel d'Escoto Brockmann looks up and the left for his message

  The same reaction - formation was on display in the UN's basement, an hour before d'Escoto's speech. The Russian mission to the UN screened films of devastation in South Ossetia, one of them a Russia Today TV piece entitled "Desolate Mothers." The voice-over excused the views of the corpses of Georgia soldiers being spat on, and the burning of ethnic Georgian's houses. While Georgia's presentations, given more prominent coverage on CNN and elsewhere, were equally one-sided, it surprised many that the Russian films were screened in the UN. Apparently its a privilege of being a Permanent Member of the Security Council. The new Cold War at the movies, one could call it.

  A Russian diplomat told Inner City Press that "the Europeans" had called his mission to say they would not come to the film screening, just as they wouldn't go to a Georgian equivalent. Then again, if they have television sets and live in New York, they've seen the Georgian story.

  After this press conference, d'Escoto spoke about Gandhi and Dorothy Day, the founder of the Catholic Worker movement. The Catholic Workers are pacifists, they protested the Russians as they protested the Americans. D'Escoto does not ascribe to this idea. It will be, if nothing else, an interesting year.  Many questions should be asked.

Watch this site, and this (UN) debate.

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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

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