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From Australian Horns to Chinese Chops, French Censorship Is Not Savory

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, September 30 -- At two UN receptions Monday night, there were lamb chops and diplomats, talks of France's censorship on Africa, but they could not have been more different.

At Australia's end of Security Council presidency reception, there was tremendous indigenous wooden horn music and views south to Williamsburg. Tweeted photo here.

   There was French Permanent Representative Araud in a rare appearance, and the the fourth French head of UN Peacekeeping in a row, Herve Ladsous, regaling supine scribes with his, you know, bonne humeur.

  Araud's new deputy was to be found seven blocks south at a bigger reception at China's Mission to the UN. There, even arriving late, Inner City Press witnessed and greeted the Permanent Representatives of North Korea and Sweden leaving, along with UN Political Affairs chief Jeffrey Feltman and a slew of Permanent Representatives, from Bangladesh to Bolivia, Afghanistan to Turkey. Tweeted photo here.

  There it was learned that Araud, after his mission played trump to block coverage of the Security Council's trip to the Great Lakes, won't himself be going. Morocco was brought in at the end to save face. Reuters will be spewing propaganda on France's Genocide Joyride. And other Permanent Representatives say they knew nothing about it. Is this any way to run an organization, other than one headed the way of the League of Nations?

  But there were excellent lamb chops -- at China's Mission, with cumin -- and shrimp and chicken and mushrooms, there was an open feeling, a country not so scared it had to limit coverage to those who already agree with it. The perception is that France is for free speech and press. But the reality is different. And lamb chops with cumin are better than without.

Footnote: in fairness to Australia, not only was Gary Quinlan gracious and accessible in September, his staff explained not only the horn but also Aussie governance, and policing in South Sudan. Hats off. They will be back in November 2014 - watch this site.


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