Archive for September 23rd, 2009

Gates of Sofia

While most of the attention at the UN was focused on Obama’s speech, Ghadafi’s theatrics, Ahmedinejad being Ahmedinejad, and Sarkozy taking on Obama at the Security Council (what, you missed that one?), another little all-too-UN election drama was playing out at UNESCO.  This is the United Nations Education, Scientific, and Cultural Organization, and it’s one of the few UN organizations that the Islamic bloc hasn’t managed to corrupt beyond recognition.  For instance, the official UNESCO page for Israel lists its capital as Jerusalem, which is almost more than the State Department can muster these days.

So naturally, it made perfect sense that the next chairman should be an Egyptian culture minister who claimed that he would personally burn any Israeli books found in the new Library of Alexandria,and boasted (somewhat innacurately) that Egypt banned any books insulting to religion (Protocol of Zion and Mein Kampf notwithstanding).  That last should be particularly chilling, given official-Islam-in-Europe and increasingly, official-Islam-in-America’s desire to define itself as “religion” in such matters.  (Naturally, all of this was only enough to get Mr. Hosni “accused” of anti-semitism by the New York Times, self-accusation not actually being enough to convict.)

Fortunately, the civilized members of UNESCO managed to unite behind an alternative: a former Communist Bulgarian diplomat in charge of “political and human rights issues” under that regime, now a member of the former-Communist Bulgarian Socialist Party, whose father was editor (in a Winston Smith sort of way) of the key Bulgarian newspaper.  Like all former Communists, she doesn’t claim she was just following orders, rather that she did it for her career, one of the reasons that the east never underwent a de-Stalinization, akin to Germany’s and Japan’s post-war cleanising.  And one of the reasons why former Communists, Putin included, are pretty much given a pass on their pasts.

Like a good former Communist, she sees what should be a cultural and arts position as a means to advance myriad lefty political agendas: “She said she would strive to give Unesco a more prominent role in talks on climate change and would focus more resolutely on gender roles, the financial crisis and other issues.”  If that UNESCO gig doesn’t work out, I understand the Obama administration has a couple of vacancies over at the NEA.

Look, Bokova is probably an improvement over Hosni, but it’s not clear that an organization whose top two contenders for the world’s premiere cultural post are a former Communist and an anti-Semite is one that’s benefited from our “engagement” over the years.

And what of Mr. Hosni?  He seems to be taking his defeat with the Egyptian equivalent of Al Gore-like grace, the “accused” anti-Semite blaming a Jewish conspiracy and declaring a kulturkampf on Israel (but not Jews, of course).  The last part has gone unreported by the Times, probably because it comes a little too close to promoting Hosni past the “accused” status.

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