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UN Beyonce Fest Has CNN Tying M23 & Kabila, Acapella Offerings

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, August 10 -- Before Beyonce finally arrived to sing an embargoed preview of her song "I Was Here" in the UN General Assembly Friday night, Anderson Cooper held his own little talk show in which he said that Congo's M23 rebels are "an offshoot of Laurent Kabila."

  Laurent Kabila is dead; his son Joseph Kabila is the President of the Democratic Republic of the Congo who seeks to wipe out the M23 mutineers. Later Anderson Cooper tried to correct himself and said "Laurent Nkunda."

  But even that is years behind. Nkunda was put under house arrest in Rwanda. The allegation is the Bosco Ntaganda is leading the M23. But neither his name, not that of UN "expert" Steve Hege who has written that the Hutu FDLR armed group is not really a threat to Rwanda, were mentioned.

  Nor for example was the withdrawal of the UN from North Sri Lanka in 2008 and 2009, prior to the killing of 40,000 civilians. It was claimed that the UN doesn't take side. But sometimes leaving is taking sides. Like in Rwanda in 1994. And, one wonders, in Syria in 2012?

  The UN's Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, one of Inner City Press' favorite parts of the UN, managed the evening, paying UN Television for time to interview chief Valerie Amos and Ban Ki-moon's new deputy, Jan Eliasson.

  When Eliasson took the stage, he called the event "I Was There," then corrected it. He is a long time Swedish diplomat, just as the UN considered long time Algerian diplomat Lakhdar Brahimi to replace UN retiree Kofi Annan as Syria envoy.

Aren't events like this supposed to interest a younger generation in the work of the UN? Where are they?

  This UN event was for a bigger picture crowd: The Dream, and Brooklyn's own Theophilus London. That photo, Inner City Press tweeted, noting that "Journos ask, who's that? Crooklyn."

  Then a general news reporter for a wire service which tried to get Inner City Press thrown out of the UN asked, are you a fan? What's your favorite song? Why, "Morning After Pill," of course. Something of an anthem for UNFPA.

  Ultimately, Beyonce's song -- it is not clear if we are allowed to write about it -- and especially the video behind it were amazing.

  What appeared to be the wooden slats of the GA Hall's wall flew away for a big-screen presentation of camps in Darfur -- like the one the UN didn't protect in Kassam, not mentioned in the show -- and scenes that looked Haiti.

  One wondered: why not at least acknowledge that the UN may have brought cholera to Haiti, inadvertently, and try to have some accountability?

  But, it occurred, those who MIGHT hold the UN accountable only come infrequently and suck up to it, thinking that it makes them look good. But in the case of Anderson Cooper, does it?

  There were two other songs, one with simple guitar that inspired Inner City Press to tweet a song online, about Sri Lanka, Ban Ki-moon and more. And so it goes at the UN. Watch, or listen, to this site.

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