Jazz, film, and improvised culture.
U.N. Me: It’s Worse than You Think
bad news is many United Nations officials are actively working to protect institutionalized
injustice and corruption. The good news
is they all clock out at 5:00 on the dot.
Taking a page out of the Michael Moore playbook (and a few of his crew)
Ami Horowitz and Matthew Groff rake the muck of Turtle Bay in U.N. Me (trailer here), a simultaneously
hilarious and infuriating documentary opening this Friday in New York.
his pseudo-role model, gonzo-host Horowitz never ambushes receptionists or
security guards. A witty and seemingly
guileless screen presence, he is out to confront the UN elite with the crimes
committed under their watch. Crime is
indeed the right term, particularly in the first segment focusing on the sexual
assaults perpetrated by so-called “UN peacekeepers.” Traveling
to the Côte d’Ivoire, the gauche Horowitz even has the temerity to ask the
commander of the UN peacekeeping mission about an incident in which his forces
fired on unarmed protestors. It took a
long time to snag that on-camera interview, but it sure doesn’t last long.
and Groff revisit many of the organization’s greatest hits, like Oil for Food
and the genocide in Rwanda, but each time it is clear the unofficial motto for UN
should be “it’s worse than you think.”
As bad as the UN and Kofi Annan look in Roger Spottiswoode’s Shake Hands with the Devil, Horowitz and
Groff make it clear then Secretary General Boutros Boutros-Ghali is even more
culpable, having deliberately misled the Security Council about the situation
on the ground in Rwanada and previously brokering a major arms sales to the
Hutu-dominated government while still with the Egyptian Foreign Affairs
U.N. Me is packed with
jaw-dropping factoids, like eighty percent of the International Atomic Energy Agency’s
inspection budget is spent on Canada, Germany, and Japan. As for Iran, the agency’s former director
general Mohamed ElBaradei tells Horowitz there is no reason to be concerned
about their nuclear program. Feel safer
to avoid the temptation to dismiss the film as another salvo in the Israeli-“Palestinian”
controversy, Horowitz and Groff make only passing mention of the notoriously
disproportionate censure leveled at Israel and only Israel, the Middle East’s sole
democracy. As a result, potential
critics are forced to deal with the inconvenient realities of UN policy with
respects to Darfur. It is not
pretty. Just ask Nobel Peace Laureate Jody
Williams, who was rather rudely received by the Human Rights Council when she
presented her honest findings. Horowitz
and Groff do exactly that, but they also try to follow-up with those same
problems U.N. Me exposes are not
merely anecdotal, but systemic and profound.
It is important to remember this jaw-dropping malfeasance is
underwritten by our tax dollars. Perhaps
it is time to reconsider membership in an organization that makes no distinctions
between free democracies and despotic regimes.
It is also clear the legacy media
has been derelict in its duties covering the UN’s global scandals.
One hopes the documentary will be screened for
the current Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, who is not directly implicated in
the film, beyond clearly not displaying any urgency addressing the organization’s
persistent graft and dysfunction. It
moves along at a brisk pace, so any bureaucrat ought to be able to follow it, but
do not hold your breath. Nonetheless,
the dismayingly funny U.N. Me highly
recommended for anyone interested in the current state of the world. It opens this Friday (6/1) in select theaters
nationwide, including the AMC Empire here in New York.
Labels: Documentary, UN's crimes