Take a deep breath. Let it go. Suppress all urges to laugh your guts out. Breathe in. Breathe out. Have a cup of chamomile tea. Think of the best joke you’ve heard so far. Think of Charlie Chaplin and other great comedians. Now read.
The US Ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley announced that her country would withdraw from the UN Human Rights Commission (UNHRC). Calling the UNHRC ‘a cesspool of political bias,’ Haley explained the decision thus:
“We take this step because our commitment does not allow us to remain a part of a hypocritical and self-serving organization that makes a mockery of human rights”.
US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo who appeared alongside Haley at a media conference held at the State Department said the noble vision of the body notwithstanding, the US ‘needed to be honest’. The ‘honesty’ he encapsulated in the following observation: “The Human Rights Council is a poor defender of human rights”.
It is reported that Haley and Pompeo explained that the decision came after, “a long year of efforts to shame the council into reform and to remove member states that themselves commit abuses”.
Take the key words/terms used or implied here: hypocritical, self-serving, poor defender of human rights, dishonesty, shamelessness. Which country do these words/terms describe best if not the United States of America? Cesspool indeed! They were spot on with that descriptive, only they used it on the UNHRC which, the world knows, was the USA’s baby all along. Just like the UN, one might add, which is for all intents and purposes a creature of the USA.
The UNHRC, ever since it was formed in 2006, and the UN in general have always treated with leniency the USA and the various war-mongering, rights-abusing blocs of countries it has led. ‘Leniency’ by the way is a generous term. When the USA wanted to censure any particular country or regime, the UNHRC turned itself into a cheering squad.
One thing is clear. Yahapalanaya is not the perfume it was thought to be. It stinks. All doubts about the source of the stench can now be laid to rest. Haley and Pompeo have give us the names and the addresses
The USA might not think of itself as the cesspit that it is, and indeed it might be so used to the stench that it has become oblivious to the bad odour. Well, it is more likely that they knew, but didn’t believe that the world knew the stinking truth as well.
Nevertheless it can’t be that Washington suddenly discovered a foul-smelling cousin. It can’t be that the likes of Haley and Pompeo woke up one fine morning and discovered that the UNHRC was bad. They must have known, especially since the resemblance between the USA and UNHRC was too close for anyone to see the two as anything but blood brothers, so to speak. What happened was that self-interest was not served one fine day. Stuff didn’t go down the tube as smoothly as it had before.
Put simply, the USA was rudely awakened and decided that the best way to counter punch was to throw at ‘the newfound enemy’ the terminology that was core to Washington-speak.
In fairness, though, they’ve done their part in ‘removing member states that commit abuses,’ simply by adhering to the dictum ‘charity begins at home’. It won’t make the UNHRC fragrant, not by any stretch of the imagination, but it’s certainly a step in the right direction.
We need not go into all that. We can laugh our guts out.
What’s more important about this veritable cesspit calling the UN agency concerned a cesspool is where it leaves those who were practically swearing by both on things such as human rights, truth, peace, justice and reconciliation. There’s little that a cesspool can deliver except, well, a lot of gooey stuff that stinks.
And yet, for purposes of political expediency there were many who ran to Washington as though the Messiah lived there. They ran to the UNHRC as though it was made of squeaky clean saints. Many worthies in this Yahapalana Government took policy and political cues from the US Embassy in Colombo, which actually facilitated the funding of the Yahapalana election campaign.
So, will the Yahapalanists stand with the cesspit (USA) or the cesspool (UNHRC) now? Will they take the cue from the US Embassy in Colombo and echo the words of Haley and Pompeo? Will they take a deep breath, pite their lips play ostrich, and wait for the UN system to recover its sense of purpose (read ‘Washington/Tel Aviv agenda’)?
Let us not forget that the then Foreign Minister Mangala Samaraweera went as far as co-sponsoring on behalf of Sri Lanka a resolution on (read, ‘against’) Sri Lanka at the UNHRC. What does he have to say about a resolution spawned in a cesspool now, one must ask. The Yahapalanists can navel-gaze and lapse into “mumblement” as it often does. They can play ostrich. They can get the US Embassy to write a ‘position paper’. That’s if they have any shame. Shameless as they are, there’s one thing they really can’t wash their hands off from: the fact that they were dipped head-to-toe in the UNHRC by the USA. That’s a cesspool, according to Haley and Pompeo. The US Ambassador Atul Keshap is mandated to go with that description.
One thing is clear. Yahapalanaya is not the perfume it was thought to be. It stinks. All doubts about the source of the stench can now be laid to rest. Haley and Pompeo have given us the names and the addresses. More importantly, we need to recognize that the US leaving the UNHRC cesspool doesn’t exactly clear the air that’s polluted by those who were born and bred in cesspools (or cesspits if you prefer the word). Perhaps they’ll pack their bags and take the next flight to the USA. Perhaps not. If not, then there’s a choice before us: do we hold our noses for ever or do we take these people to the cleaners?
Malinda Seneviratne is a freelance writer. firstname.lastname@example.org.