A few days after the United Nations Educational Scientific and Cultural Organization’s (UNESCO) executive board elected Syria to a pair of committees—one of which deals directly with human rights—a spokesman for the international organization admitted the election was actually “a bad joke.”
“See, with the Assad regime’s continued brutal crackdown on the protests, we figured the whole world would realize we were kidding,” explained chief UNESCO spokesman Sue Williams. “Clearly, we were wrong.” The Syrian government’s crackdown on protests opposing the regime has resulted in more than 4,000 deaths in the past eight months.
The admission came after the organization received heat from groups like UN Watch, a non-governmental organization dedicated to monitoring the UN and ensuring its compliance with the human rights principles of its charter.
“You know, I thought this might be a joke,” said Hillel Neuer, UN Watch’s executive director. “But you never know with the UN these days…they were pretty serious when they elected Libya to the Human Rights Council last year.” That measure was definitively proven farcical less than a year later when the country’s dictator, Moammar Gadhafi (known for sponsoring terrorism in the past), violently suppressed protests that were a part of the “Arab Spring.” Since the removal of the tyrant, Libya has been reinstated on that council.
Syria was supported in its efforts to join the committee by its Arab neighbors. When asked for the reasoning behind supporting Syria, Iraqi UN Ambassador Hamid al Bayati explained, “We got scared. Bashir [al-Assad, President of Syria] threatened to call Iran if we didn’t support him. And we didn’t want to get beat up, so…really, we had no choice.”
However, thanks to the UNESCO vote, the message from the UN remains conflicted. Shortly following Syria’s appointment to the UNESCO committee, the UN Human Rights Committee (UNHRC) passed a resolution condemning Syria for its violent suppression of the widespread demonstrations currently gripping the country. Critics of the international body saw this as the embodiment of UN inefficiency and incoherence.
“Forget the whole ‘one hand not talking to the other’ cliché,” said Joseph McCreary, a visiting fellow in the Economics department of the American Enterprise Institute, “this is one eyeball seeing something completely different than the other. The UN is a chameleon—a confused chameleon. It doesn’t know what the hell it’s doing.”
“The idea that the UN is somehow credible when it comes to human rights is laughable,” agreed former US Ambassador to the UN John Bolton, an outspoken critic of the organization. “Honestly, look at past UN ‘human rights’ interventions. Look at Rwanda. That went well.”
Chester McFisticuffs // Washington, D.C. // 12.01.2011
This piece was cross-posted from The Washington Fancy. It is intended as satire. The story, while containing elements of truth, is fictional.