The Rosett Report

And Over at the UN, the Good News Is...

… that the new UN Secretary-General, Ban Ki-moon, speaks bad French. Ban doesn’t officially take charge for two more weeks, but at a press conference just after his swearing-in, he was immediately confronted with some of the burning issues at the UN, including a reporter’s query, in French, about why French in all its growing obscurity remains the second official working language of the UN. To understand and provide a suitably evasive answer, Ban had to default to English. How wonderfully unfashionable! How pleasantly un-Kofi-like! (Not that Kofi’s French was all that good, but he had those trademark platitudes down pat). Of course, because Ban is taking over the throne of a $20 billion system of global patronage and pork-barrel spending, he could probably confine himself to Pig-Latin and still become the toast of the same well-decked dinner tables that over the past 10 years have so reverently hosted ofi-Kay nan-Nay (or is that “nnan-Ay?” — any pig-Latin experts out there — how do you translate “Annan?”)

The other piece of good news — one can always hope — is that Ban says he is still reviewing “all contracts” for Kofi’s battalions of Under-Secretaries and Assistant-Secretaries, and won’t be making decisions until Kofi’s out of the building. If he’s smart, he’ll have them all out on the street and be counting the UN silverware by noon on New Year’s Day.

Apart from that, the events surrounding Ban’s swearing-in this morning, starting with a General Assembly tribute to Kofi Annan that went on for almost two hours, including homage from Cuba (speaking for the the Non-Aligned Movement), had all the integrity of Andropov’s 1982 funeral oration for Brezhnev (remember them?).

Some of the words used in tribute to Kofi this morning: “far-reaching reform” “exemplary” “outstanding” “inspirational dignity” …

Some words not mentioned in the homage to Kofi: bribery, graft, corruption, Oil-for-Food, procurement, hypocrisy, genocide, cover-up, moral bankruptcy, Mercedes…