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Eight Days a Week with the UN By: Marni Soupcoff
FrontPageMagazine.com | Wednesday, September 18, 2002


Good morning, and how are you this International Decade for a Culture of Peace and Non-Violence for the Children of the World? Peaceful, non-violent and well, I hope. But please don't waste all your energy. Save some strength and spirit for International Day for the Eradication of Poverty, International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women, and-calling Shimon Peres-International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People. They're all coming up soon.

What good fortune that our friends at the United Nations (UN) — and especially the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) — have carved up the calendar for us, creating a unique raison d'etre for almost every week of the year. Some of the days are boring (Hoorah, hoorah, it's World Meteorological Day!). Some of the days are polite (International Day of Older Persons is admittedly more civil than Day of the Old Fogy). And some of the days are unfortunately named (International Day of Innocent Children Victims of Aggression sounds oddly like an endorsement). But all of the days have one thing in common. Their names echo the totalitarian doublespeak of Stalin's Russia and Orwell's 1984: innocent-sounding titles that are as baleful as they are manipulative in their attempts to put a happy spin on the ultimate suffocation of true individual freedom and initiative.

Take the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People, for example. It might sound quite sweet and sensitive to a Martian new to the planet, but anyone who's been around for the past thirty-five years knows that, given the United Nation's proclivities, the day is nothing more than another partisan shot at Israel and an opportunity to generate even more anti-Israel propaganda to advance the UN's anti-Western agenda. Last year, the UN used the day to screen a film called Gaza Under Siege at their New York headquarters. Hmmm, under siege by whom, I wonder?

Meanwhile, the President of Indonesia used the occasion to editorialize that Jerusalem should become the capital of Palestine and to bemoan the deaths of innocent civilians in the occupied territories-though not of innocent civilians in Israel blown apart by Palestinian bombs. The UN does not, of course, have a Day of Solidarity with the Israeli People. But perhaps that's a good thing. Turnout might become a problem what with the number of Israelis dwindling with each Palestinian terrorist attack.

But there is an International Day for Tolerance. The high-handed utopianism of the name would do the old Soviet-bloc communist states proud, implying as it does that an intangible human virtue such as tolerance could be engineered and implemented by governments in a single day. Hey, anyone up for a five year plan?

Not surprisingly, the International Day for Tolerance is the brainchild of UNESCO, one of the UN's most insidious and potentially dictatorial organizations (which is saying a lot). UNESCO's actions always sound warm and fuzzy in theory, but closer inspections inevitably reveal the organization's attempts at surreptitiously muscling in and co-opting the decision-making powers of sovereign nations, particularly Western democracies, for itself.

A case in point is UNESCO's "world heritage site" designation program. This international initiative sounds as sweet and lovable as Bambi: safeguarding monuments and buildings with historic or aesthetic value from destruction. You want to protect the world's architectural and environmental treasures, don't you? Didn't you cry when Bambi's mother died?

The problem is that the World Heritage Site program isn't really about protecting national treasures. It's about shifting power from sovereign states and local governments to utopian UNESCO bureaucrats. Thanks to the 1972 World Heritage Convention, once a site gets listed on the World Heritage list (and it's up to UNESCO to identify such sites), UNESCO wrests control from the site's national and local governments and takes over all decisions about how to preserve the site, how to decide when it is threatened, and even what constitutes a threat. American voters and freely elected officials be damned, if UNESCO idealists decide river rafting tours are polluting Yellowstone National Park with the toxic commercial fumes of profits (and Yellowstone is a World Heritage site), the U.S. has nothing to say about it. With the reins firmly in its hands, UNESCO is free to regulate and implement its own elitist agenda.

The same sort of power grab is ultimately at work with the Day for Tolerance. UNESCO's suggestions for celebration are predictably vague and trite: "Write your own tolerance curriculum or program." "Organise discussions about current events in relation to tolerance and intolerance." "Organise an athletic event around the theme of diversity and tolerance." Like, say, a whites-and-Asians NBA game? Not exactly brilliant advice from an organization with a regular operating budget of over five hundred million dollars a year, but it doesn't sound terribly sinister either.

Unfortunately, it is. The tolerance campaign is an excellent example of UNESCO's insidiousness. It starts with idealistic sounding initiatives, but the ultimate aim is to have the UNESCO and UN bureaucrats defining for all of us what constitutes tolerance. Their goal is to regulate everyday life in previously free nations such as the U.S. to ensure that tolerance as the UN sees it prevails. That could mean edging ever closer to UN-mandated tolerance for unfettered access to partial birth abortion, tolerance for legalized gay marriages and adoptions, and tolerance for Palestinian terrorists.

Yet, when it comes to the real human rights and individual liberty issues that the United States has a proud history of defending, UNESCO is not interested. The same UNESCO member states that are blathering on about "the possible links between sports and intolerance" and the fact that every religion is "in its own way, founded on love and justice" are out perpetrating violently intolerant acts in their own countries.

What's the point of worrying about the psychological damage done by the "exclusion of those unable to compete" in a football game when UNESCO member China so strictly limits the number of children its couples can raise that its citizens have been driven to massive female infanticide? The same China behind the UNESCO suggestion that one create articles "elucidating the themes of tolerance" is so intolerant of dissent and political criticism that it has implemented some of the strictest Internet censorship laws in the world-laws that might very well land the author of those suggested Day for Tolerance articles in prison. Along the same lines, how can we possibly give any moral authority to UNESCO member Iran when its Muslim theocracy's oppression of women is so brutal as to be notorious?

Not surprisingly, neither the United States nor Canada is a member of UNESCO. But the stalwartly tolerant nation of Cuba is. And UNESCO's Tolerance Program is, of course, located in France, a country with a habit of torching its synagogues and being a bit too eager about turning over its Jewish citizens to invading Nazis. Socialists do so enjoy talking the tolerance talk, after all.

There are many more special UN themed days, years, and decades than those I've mentioned. I don't know what it involves, exactly, but World Television Day sounds like a blast and could be our only shot at seeing an HIV positive Muppet over here in North America. Meanwhile, the more serious UNESCO-sponsored International Mother Language Day is all about "promoting linguistic diversity and multicultural education" and protecting "endangered, seriously endangered, and dying" languages, which I think basically means stopping people in third world countries from learning English.

In the end, the bottom line is awfully scary. Useless though they may sound, these special days and decades are worth paying attention to because they reflect the dangerous hijacking of the UN by an elitist, non-democratic element that operates in the tradition of the totalitarian communist states of old. The hope of these dictatorial Mandarins is to ultimately force the left's ideological agenda down the throats of otherwise unreceptive Western democracies. Consequently, their rhetoric and talk is that of the greatest freedoms and ideals, but their actions are those of power-hungry autocrats. And they are slowly but successfully stealing the power to implement their Orwellian social-engineering agenda internationally.

The left may have lost most of its recent battles — from the implosion of the Soviet Union to the victory of Thatcherism in the UK and Reaganism in the US — but they still hope to win the war by utilizing the undemocratic diplomatic instruments of the UN (international treaties, conventions, and, yes, specially themed days and years) to impose their bankrupt collectivist solutions on the world.

Don't you think most Falon Gong members would gladly do away with the yearly International Day for Tolerance in return for being let out of prison? It's a message the UN doesn't want to hear…unless, perhaps, someone chooses to put it into verse for World Poetry Day.


Marni Soupcoff is an attorney and Toronto-based writer. She is a frequent contributor to http://www.iconoclast.ca.


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