MARCH 7, 2020

100TH BIRTHDAY:

Former U.N. Secretary General Javier Perez de Cuellar, who recently passed away, had celebrated his 100th birthday on January 17.On that occasion, Samir Sanbar sent him the following letter:

AFNU INTERNET MEETING:

Conférence-débat / Les Nations Unies et la gouvernance de l'Internet

A welcome initiative from the Association for the United Nations in France on the role of the Internet was held in Paris on March 2nd. A number of experienced diplomats and Internet professionals offered a number of ideas and proposals, which hopefully will find their way into future practice -- not only in France but elsewhere.

NEW UNRWA COMISSIONER:

It may not have been announced yet, but a proposal was seriously discussed by a committee that reviews the appointment of the Commissioner General of UNRWA (UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestinian refugees). Philippe Lazarini of Switzerland has been proposed to take over the agency with operations based mainly in Palestinian territories, Lebanon, Syria and Jordan. He takes over from acting Director Christian Sonders, who served for a short period when former Commissioner Pierre Krähenbühl, also from Switzerland, had to resign. A graduate of Lausanne University with a master's degree, Mr. Lazarini has wide range experience in Swiss and International operations, like heading the Red Cross, teams in Angola, Sarajevo, Sudan, Gaza and other humanitarian assistance locations.

TO A PASSERBY:

Elsewhere, too far from here; too late-never perhaps.
For I know not where you fled, you know not where I go.
Oh, you whom I would have loved; Oh, you who knew it.

A UNE PASSANTE:

Ailleurs, bien loin d'ci; trop tard--jamais peut-etre.
Car j'ignore ou tu fuis, tu ne sais ou je vais.
O toi que j'eusse aimee; O toi qui le savais

Charles Baudelaire

WHY A DUCK?:

The other Marx -- Groucho -- used to make fun of society people handling ducks, producing a movie entitled "Why a duck?". A question came up when New York media highlighted the presence of a duck in Central Park which had a plastic ring around its beak wondering if it would be able to eat. At the same time there was a horse with both rear legs broken by overworked chariot pulling. While the horse broke the heart of several New Yorkers and visitors, the duck struggling around garnered only curious boaters making no real effort to help, except by rowing around it.

GHOSN GONE?:

After months of headlines about Carlos Ghosn, first in Tokyo jail then smuggled out via private plane to Beirut, the Brazilian born, French-educated and Lebanese raised Ghosn, has maintained a quiet residence in his mansion. After holding a press conference to highlight what he described as mistreatment by Japanese prosecutors, he was clearly advised to avoid public statements, after the Japanese Government sent representations to the president of Lebanon, which particularly at this difficult time, needs Japanese financial investments. The former business mogul, who ran Renault, Nissan, and Mitsubishi, among others, is now taking it in stride. He could travel to France and from there to Sao Paulo/Brazil, if he could manage a way to discretely move without drawing unwanted attention. Reportedly a couple of Japanese are renting an apartment across from his home in Beirut.

COP26 BRIEFING:

The Permanent Missions of Italy and the United Kingdom invited Non-governmental organizations to an interesting briefing on 6 March regardingthe upcoming 26th climate change conference to be held in Glasgow, Scotland this November. Secretary-General Mr.Antonio Guterres opened the meeting at the Trusteeship Council Chamber, followed by Mr. Alok Sharma, UK MP who will preside over that conference and Italy's ambassador Mariangela Zappia. Plans and priorities were presented by panel members who answered questions from the audience.


Alok Sharma

RENTING LIBYA HOUSE:

The building on 48th Street between 1st and 2nd Avenues that was used by the Mission of Libya for decades as a national landmark of "The Socialist Peoples Libyan Arab Jamahiriyah" is now offering certain floors for private and commercial rental. No known seekers yet, perhaps because it may not be clear who could really offer the space and who would claim the cash.

NEW COUNCIL MEMBERS:

Five new members were elected to the Security Council for two years: Vietnam, (Asia), Niger (Africa), Tunisia (Africa-Arab countries, replacing Kuwait of Asia), St. Vincent & Grenadines (Caribbean) and Estonia (Eastern Europe). They will take over by 1 January 2020.

BUTTEGIEG:

The withdrawn Democratic presidential candidate was generally referred to as "Mayor Pete" by those who were not certain how precisely to pronounce his last name. The family origin is from Malta, where it is pronounced like BAITIJIJE which means Chicken house.

CORONA:

The widespread Coronavirus got everyone's attention everywhere. Careful notes to avoid crowd contact, hand-shakes, travel to countries and public transport may have raised a challenge for some frequenting New York bars to drink Corona beer.

OCEAN CONFERENCE:

Lisbon, Portugal is preparing to host an international conference on the Oceans from 2to 6 June. The Portuguese capital, nestled on water, had hosted a similar U.N. conference in the year 2000. A site at the U.N. Pavilion at the time was transformed into a maritime museum and the area turned into a popular mall with nearby hotels cafes and restaurants overlooking unique sunset views.

PAUSE:

"Public money is like holy water - everyone helps himself" Italian proverb

"I hold an office, not an opinion" Freidrich von Schiller

"A prince who is himself not wise cannot be well advised" Niccolo Machiavelli

"A man is badly in need of advice when he has many advisors " Publilius Syrus

"Too bad that those who know how to run a country are busy driving taxicabs" George Burns

"A committee keeps minutes and loses hours" Milton Berle

FOOTBALL POOR:

Cristiano Ronaldo was advised by his childhood teacher to avoid playing football (soccer) because there was no revenue from it and he would remain poor. His mother advised him to follow his heart. He did. That made a difference of about $61 million -- give or take a few from advertisements.

IDRIS JAZAIRY:

A dedicated international civil servant who devoted his career to promote human dignity passed away early March. Idris Jazairy, a national of Algeria and a citizen of the world, spent his everyday in making sure that some child somewhere was getting medical care, a young boy or girl was receiving education, a woman in a remote village getting clean water, a rural society receiving international aid; any positive action was his daily focus. As an Ambassador with diplomatic privileges he represented his country in a gracious and generous manner, showing care for all those around him. As a development official in Rome, Paris, Geneva with any U.N. agency and program, he did his best to offer the most accomplished performance. Idris Al Jazairy will certainly be missed, particularly during these days of eroding international relevance.

ON THE FARM:

Celebrating International Women's Day took different forms with different formats for various people. For example, our friends and collaborators on www.unforum.com, Denise and Alexandria Allec, are busy celebrating by refreshing their farm in Santa Ynez, California!