- The Washington Times - Sunday, February 12, 2006

Pakistan’s Mukhtar Mai became an inspiration to human rights defenders throughout the world when — after being publicly gang-raped by order of a village council for an alleged act by her brother, which she was not involved — she bravely defied the council and got a higher court to overturn the verdict. On Jan. 20, she was scheduled to be interviewed at the United Nations, but, as the New York Times reported, the United Nations canceled her appearance.

At the U.N. television studios, she was to appear in “An Interview with Mukhtar Mai, The Bravest Woman on Earth.” But Pakistan protested because Prime Minister Shaukat Aziz would be at the United Nations that very day, and accordingly, the U.N. officials didn’t want to embarrass this dignitary. Said U.N. undersecretary-general for communications, Shashi Tharoor: “We are obliged to take into account the views formally expressed by member states.” But it was only after news accounts of what happened that Secretary-GeneralKofi Annan, very embarrassed, offered to reschedule Mai, to be cosponsored by Pakistan.

Then, recently, for only the second time in U.N. history, a movie, “Che,” glorifying the ruthless presiding executioner in Castro’s Cabana prison from 1957 to 1959 was permitted to be filmed in the U.N.’s General Assembly, with Mr. Annan’s authorization.

While he was commander of that notorious Havana prison, Che Guevara ordered and often personally executed (according to the Free Society Project’s Truth Recovery Archive) more than 200 Cubans. As the archival project’s director, Maria Werlau, said to the Jan. 30 New York Sun, “Che stood for the opposite of what the U.N. charter upholds.” The glowing promises of the U.N. charter, however, have often been betrayed. Steadily increasing numbers of black Africans in Darfur, for example, have been murdered, gang-raped and torn from their villages by the government of Sudan, while the veto power of China on the SecurityCouncil, where this celebration of Guevara was filmed, precludes any meaningful intervention by the United Nations.

Not only the United Nations honored the murderous Che Guevara. In the Dec. 25 New York Sun, William Meyers reported on the continuing exhibition at the International Center of Photography in New York of “Che! Revolution and Commerce.”The wall text speaks reverently of the “classical, even Christ-likedemeanor”ofthis”youngand charismatic idealist who gave up the security of his middle-class world for his convictions.”

The one time I met Guevara,atthe Cuban mission to the United Nations, he expressed one of his convictions. Guevara professed not to understand English. So, looking at him and his interpreter, I asked this idealist: “Can you conceive however far into the future a time when there will be free elections in Cuba?” Not waiting for his interpreter, Guevara broke into laughter at my naively ignorant question. He made it clear that I had no understanding of a true people’s revolution, firmly guided by Maximum Leader Castro.

While being hospitable to the further mythicizing of Guevara in a movie though initially turning away Mai, “The Bravest Woman on Earth,” the United Nations continues to undermine its potential to live up to its charter by its failure so far to change the repellent composition of its ludicrously named Human Rights Commission.

To his credit, Mr. Annan is trying to get the support of enough U.N. members to create a smaller human rights commission,whichthe world’smostbarbarous human-rights abusers would not to be qualified to join. But, as a Jan. 20 Washington Post editorial, “Impasse on Human Rights,” points out, among the so-far effective resisters to this vital change are Egypt and Pakistan, along with “several Caribbean countries.” Unless Mr. Annan’s changes go through, when this grotesque parody of a human rights commission meets again in Geneva next month, its decisions will still be made by such chronic crushers of human rights as Sudan, Cuba, China, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Russia and Robert Mugabe’s Zimbabwe.

In its newly published World Report 2006, Human Rights Watch ends its grim report on Zimbabwe with this telling paragraph: “Western governments, in particular the United Kingdom and United States, have failed to convince other (African) influential governments (especially those in the South) to take a stronger stand on Zimbabwe…China, Russia and other African countries state that Zimbabwe does not warrant discussions at the Security Council because they claim it is not a threat to international peace or security.”

Zimbabwe is only a monstrous daily threat to its own people, but the United Nations is indifferent to the brutally repressed people of Zimbabwe.

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