Make way for USUN
Date: Wednesday, April 16 @ 03:47:15 UTC
Topic: Trinidad and Tobago

by Kim Johnson

A news report in the magazine The Onion last week announced the formation of a USUN, launched in Washington as a response to the UN's "consistent, blatant regard for the will of its 188 member nations."

One USUN delegate, according to the report, pointed out that the organisation resembles the UN in almost every way, including carrying out peacekeeping missions throughout the world, but will be more efficient and find it easier to achieve consensus.

One of the first unanimously-backed acts of the USUN, whose headquarters are in Houston, Texas, was the liberation of the Iraqi people and natural resources.

The UN is headed by a black man, Kofi Annan, so another was chosen to be the USUN's Secretary General: Colin Powell.

"The UN has repeated demonstrated an inability to act decisively in carrying out actions the US government deems necessary," declared Powell immediately.

"Every time we tried to get something accomplished, it inevitably got bogged down in procedural policies, bureaucratic formalities, and Security Council votes.

"I predict the USUN will be extremely influential in world politics in the coming decades," Powell continued. "In fact, you can count on it."

Satire at its best closely parallels the contour's reality, the better to highlight them, and it set me wondering, why did The Onion chose Colin Powell?

Why would a black man of Jamaican parentage justify to the world an arrogant, dishonest and destructive US international policy?

The question evoked something I heard a few weeks aback on the radio.

Your Excellency this, and Your Excellency that. Umbala was enquiring of someone or other. I was surprised by the fawning of a man who takes pride in switching every few seconds from the urbane to the wajang.

He must be buttering up our new President with the sycophancy we mistake for respect, I surmised.

Then I realised that the interviewee was US ambassador Roy Austin, like Powell a black man of West Indian stock, who made good in the US, having been born in St Vincent.

"And what if, Your Excellency, when you capture Baghdad you find no chemical weapons or weapons of mass destruction? What will Your Excellency say then?" asked Umbala sweetly.

Austin explained blithely that the weapons did exist because of the evidence found.

Austin is no gullible, half-educated redneck. An Ivy League graduate, he was in 1998 director of the Crime, Law and Justice Programme at Penn. State University. He knew, as did most of the world, that the "evidence" was CIA forgeries.

But Umbala diplomatically tip-toed around the BS; so I steupsed, switched off the radio and pondered how could a local boy like Austin be party to that a slap in the face of every other nation, including those in Caricom?

"I would urge Caricom to study very carefully not only what it says, but the consequences of what it says," threatened US presidential envoy to the Western Hemisphere Otto Reich.

As Reich treated Caricom, the US treated the UN Security Council: "Like ingrates who offend our princely dignity by lifting their heads from the carpet," according to US senator Robert Byrd.

What were cockroaches Powell and Austin doing in that fowl party?

But the officials who dissociated themselves from the US agenda weren't West Indians.

US diplomat Mary Wright resigned in March, because she found US foreign policy "arrogant, untruthful and masking a hidden agenda."

Similarly, US ambassador to Greece John Keisling, another long-standing career diplomat, resigned in March, disgusted by "the swaggering and contemptuous approach to our friends and allies."

The radically new US foreign policy of unilateral preemptive strikes possibly represents, according to Byrd, "a turning point in the recent history of the world."

It is based on a latent fear, whipped up now by the government, of all those strange and threatening people at home and abroad. Criminals, terrorists andóas Bowling for Columbine showsóblack people.

Powell and Austin would both have known segregation first hand, when they were not allowed in front of the bus, were excluded from the best schools, could not enter "Whites Only" restaurants.

That's hardly changed. In 32 states convicted felons are not allowed to vote during parole, and 14 states disenfranchise ex-felons for life. That is, 13 per cent of black American men.

An explanation for Powell and Austin's behaviour is found in an Easter parable Keith Smith told in 1994, about a trial.

It takes place in the Middle East, precisely where this whole mess started, two millennia ago less three decades, but around this time of year.

"Art thou king of the Jews?" asks Pontius Pilate.

"So thou sayest," replies Jesus Christ.

"Your own people have delivered you to me. What you do?"

"I speak the truth."

The crowd's chorus: "Crucify him, crucify him!"

"I find no fault in him," sighs Pilate, "but he is yours. Take him out and crucify him."

Then a small, black hand is raised in the crowd and a voice emerges: "Sir, sir, I could build good cross."

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