Too rich. Less than a month after the UN threw a big party to celebrate the completion of a $23 million ceiling for a single meeting chamber in Geneva, that ceiling “artwork” is peeling away from its moorings. Jose Guardia at Barcepundit has the story, with photos.
Whether this is life imitating art, or vice versa, I’m not sure. But that ceiling of mulitcolored “melting” stalactites, with its over-the-top tab, 100 tons of paint, and dysfuntional design, is a superb metaphor for the UN itself. For this I can quote as an authority none other than Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon, who came to the ceiling’s inaugural party in Geneva, and said: “The design itself might be thought of as a metaphor for our work.”
In that same statement, Ban said a great deal more — in a most ironically apt summary of the moral relativism that is the oily underpinning of today’s UN:
The colours look different depending on where you are seated. That reminds me of the old saying about politics, “where you stand depends on where you sit”.
The correlation to multilateralism is clear. Countries and people have different perspectives on the challenges we face. As they discuss these matters, they can come to appreciate the different dimensions of a problem. And just as we might need to spend some time in this room, and look at the design from different angles in order to see it completely, so must we have a full range of views if we are to properly address global challenges.
Ban was lauding a UN universe in which right and wrong are slathered so thick with diplo-speak that they stop meaning anything; a world in which democratic values are just one more slant to be pondered alongside the “angle” of the Iranian mullahs, or the Syrian Baathists, or the despotic interests of regimes such as those of Cuba, Libya, China or Vietnam.
Usually, when reality intrudes on this universe, it is in the form of polysyllabic reports about such matters as genocide, peacekeeper rape, corruption, incompetence – in which the real victims dwell outside the lavishly furnished chambers of the UN. There’s a certain poetic justice, then, that the delegates to the UN “Human Rights” Council, having applauded the $23 million ceiling for their own meeting chamber, must now worry that chunks of it might fall on their own heads.