Editorial: A New United Nations

When the Gulf war allies decided to set up safe havens for the Kurds without Baghdad's consent it took another month for United Nation's aid to overcome the the internal squabbling among UNICEF, UNCHR, UNDRO and the World Food Programme. To overcome this, a new coordinator will have access to a $50 million fund so that aid can arrive within 24 hours of a disaster. But the new rules say that humanitarian assistance should be provided with the consent of the affected country and in principle based on an appeal by the affected country. In essence, this leaves plenty of room for the United Nations to lean on a country and impose its right to intervene. The fears of the Third World countries that the new rules could be used to justify military intervention by the West against an unpopular ruler were partially abated by the above watered-down rule.

This introduces a strange definition of \humanitarian aid being provided on an appeal by the afflicted. Such assistance should be provided fro humanitarian reasons exclusively without any pre-conditions and irrespective of a begging bowl being outstretched by the affected country. The offer for assistance should precede any plea; it should be left to the judgment of the affected country to accept or decline such an offer.

The United Nations Organisation has departed from the spirit of the purpose for which this august body was created. For instance, instead of procuring peace between member states, it can give birth to new states, e.g. Israel. Only one day earlier than the humanitarian assistance rule, the United Nations resolution equating Zionism with racism was repealed. It was immediately hailed by the US as a repeal of a resolution which discredited this august body. That resolution had been passed in the wake of a speech by Daniel Patrick Moyhnihan, the US ambassador to the United Nations at that time, which was scornful of the Third World, and, Africa in particular. However, in repealing the resolution, sponsored by the Soviet Union, among others, it was supported by most African countries. Neither did the earlier resolution achieve anything, nor did Zionism as a philosophy change its spots, nor will the repeal place Israel in a more agreeable mood to resolve the plight of the Palestinians. The repeal, nevertheless, shows the tremendous influence the powerful Jewish lobby can exercise.

We do not condone the earlier resolution nor its repeal. Racialism is a very wide subject and covers not only white and black relationships or anti-semitism, or nationalism but is today spread as far afield as East-West and North-South divisions. Only the victims know its consequences and no amount of United Nations resolutions can bridge these gaps without a change in attitudes amongst fellow human beings. Such attitudes must start with a recognition that we have a common Creator and in Whose eyes everyone is equal, that natural differences merely facilitate identity and that the barriers to man-made differences have no room in this age if mankind is to be ever united.

Meanwhile, the only advice to the United Nations is that if this body is to restore its credibility, it must resort to absolute truth and justice in all matters. The moment it begins to serve the interest of powerful backroom lobbies, it ceases to be an instrument of peace.


Transcribed from
The Review of Religions
January 1992
No. 1 Vol. LXXXVII