Saturday, September 28, 2013

At UN, Tuvalu on Fukushima, UAE on Bahrain, Low Drama From Tableless Booth

By Matthew Russell Lee
UNITED NATIONS, September 28 -- Friday night at the UN was high drama. The Security Council passed a resolution on Syria chemical weapons; French foreign minister Laurent Fabius pontificated at the stakeout as John Kerry walked out.
  Saturday the UN returned to earth, hard. The General Assembly Hall felt empty as Tuvalu denounced the nuclear poisoning of the ocean -- that would be Japan's Fukushima -- then the United Arab Emirates claimed that opposition in Bahrain are terrorists.
  Inner City Press ran to the Temporary North Lawn Building, this year's GA hall, to watch the final speech of the night and the rights of reply from what's called the "Print Media Booth." This was established after the Free UN Coalition for Access @FUNCA_info challenged the unprecedented banning of the press from the GA hall.
  But in the Print Media Booth, there is no table, no chairs, no translation. If you sit on the floor to use a laptop, all you see is the ceiling.
  Of rights of reply, there were only three. Serbia shot back at Albania, saying they have not accepted the breakaway of Kosovo. Iran chided the UAE for calling the Persian Gulf the "Arabian Gulf." And the UAE closed it out, in Arabic untranslated in the Print Media Booth, citing the Abu Musa island.
  Outside on First Avenue, the police barricades were removed, the protest pens being disassembled. A longtime UN staffer told Inner City Press she was not impressed by Obama's speech this year, and even less impressed by French-nominated Syrian rebel leader Ahmad al Jarba, a/k/a Jarbucks.
  Inner City Press was interviewed on radio Saturday morning about Jarbucks, and will be again on Monday. It is a classic UN story: rules ignored by the powerful, attempts to censor press question. This is the UN, after all -- when it returns to earth. Watch this site.