Monday, April 07, 2008

Those wonderful tranzis

It is, perhaps, just as well for my peace of mind that the transnational organizations, its members and supporters, collectively known as tranzis are really quite as ghastly as they are. Otherwise, I may well find myself supporting one or more of them, particularly after reading yet another rant by a soi-disant eurosceptic in favour of such freedom loving states as Russia or China.

The problem, as I see it, is lack of real political principles. Just as the europhiliacs rant about the beauty of integration and transnational governance, for want of any ideas, so many eurosceptics (well, soi-disant ones, as I mentioned above) go on about the nation state as some sort of a holy entity, regardless of whether it is a nation, or how the state came about.

What that leads to is a support for any state that is in existence at the moment of discussion. Not a happy thought for those of us who envisage the European Union becoming a state to all intents and purposes very soon. After that Britain’s desire to free herself from the shackles will be internal EU matter, according to this argument, not to be interfered with or mentioned by outsiders.

Luckily, most Americans have a slightly different view of the world, as do committed Anglospherists in other lands.

Equally luckily, whenever thoughts of that kind enter my head I come across a few stories about those wonderful tranzis and recover my equanimity.

Let us start with an editorial in the Wall Street Journal, written by Roger Köppel, who is owner and chief editor of the Swiss weekly, Die Weltwoche, the only eurosceptic publication in the German language, as I was once told by one of its editors. It is an unusual publication in its political orientation and courage in breaking away from the herd.

It is, therefore, not surprising that Roger Köppel is less than impressed by the Social-Democratic Foreign Minister of Switzerland, Micheline Calmy-Rey. Mme Clamy-Rey has decided to break with the Swiss tradition of neutrality and try to turn the country into “a moral superpower”.

Like many politicians, when she discusses morality, she really means the trendy political and social views of the left-leaning, unaccountable and unbalanced tranzis. Mr Köppel puts it more politely:
It is a morality, however, that is firmly anchored in the left-liberal mainstream that seems to have lost its moral compass. She shares the aversion of Europe's general public toward the U.S. and Israel. There is an emotional resentment of globalization and a belief against all evidence that, in the end, only broad-based development aid can improve the lives of the poor.
Among her other achievements is the nomination of the old Marxist, friend of Fidel Castro and co-founder of the Muammar Qaddafi Human Rights Prize (I wonder why Peter Simple never thought of that one), Jean Ziegler to be an adviser on human rights to the UN.

Her other actions include marching across the North Korean border in red sneakers (I missed this one) “to make a statement that no one understood” and generally make a nuisance herself whenever an American politician was around.

Recently she managed to photograph herself with Iranian President Ahmadinejad as she visited the country, allegedly to discuss transparency in Iranian nuclear development. In fact, she undermined the West’s rather feeble attempts to have some kind of sanctions against that country and handed the Iranian leader a propaganda coup.
Although Ms. Calmy-Rey claims she harshly criticized the president for his policies, such as stoning adulterers, the prevailing impression was that she let herself be manipulated as a useful idiot by a brutal regime.
Mr Köppel is concerned, rightly, with the harm this slightly batty female does to Switzerland’s image and reality. One cannot help feeling, however, that another tranzi nutter is not quite what the world needs.

So it is once again time to have a look at that untalented circus, the tranzi to end all tranzis, the UN, the organization that some eurosceptics set up as the arbiter of international law. Thanks to a posting on Little Green Footballs, entitled “UN Human Rights Council: Officially a Self-Mocking Joke”, we find this:
Islamic countries have succeeded in hijacking the United Nations Human Rights Council and perverting its intent (even more than it was already perverted).
I am glad Charles Johnson added that last bit in brackets. Otherwise I might have had a serious fit from all the laughing the comment would have generated.

He links to an article in the International Herald Tribune, entitled “Arabs, Muslims battle US, Europeans over free speech at UN”.
Arab and Muslim countries defended Tuesday a resolution they pushed through at the United Nations to have the body's expert on free speech police individuals and news media for negative comments on Islam.
In itself this is not much of a story. The UN can do no policing because, contrary to some opinions, it has no rights to do so. Of course, it can make grand pronouncements as Ban Ki-Moon did, when he denounced Geert Wilders’s film “Fitna” that remains widely available on Youtube.

Of course, as Claudia Rossett points out, the SecGen’s condemnation and efforts to censor internet films are selective. We have heard nothing from him on the subject of the psychotic mouse, Farfur, or his pathological cousin, the Nahoul, the killer bee, or any others of that delightful cohort that is Hamas’s answer to Blue Peter. (One of the most recent films shows a little darling boy killing President Bush and announcing that the White House has become a mosque.)

One cannot help being amused in a rather grim way by the genuinely Orwellian task given to the UN’s expert on free speech to police negative comments on anything at all. But that’s the UN for you. They probably use the word Orwellian without ever understanding what it means.

The expert in question is a Kenyan, Ambeyi Ligabo and his job is to report to the UN about suppression of free speech by dictatorships and repressive governments. One can’t help feeling that the man has his work cut out. It hardly seems fair that there should be this resolution that adds to his burdens.

Not only must he report on curtailment of free speech now but also on the exercise of free speech if it is done to criticize Islam.

The resolution was introduced by Egypt and Pakistan, two countries well known for the freedom of expression they allow, to that wondrous body about which we have written on numerous occasions, the UN Human Rights Council and was passed 32 - 0.

Ahem, one says to oneself. Whatever happened to the Western countries who maintain that freedom of speech is a value to be cherished? The United States has, quite rightly, refused to be a member of this farcical body. But what of the European countries?

Well, they seem to have abstained. One would not want to be seen to be too extreme in defending the idea of freedom, would one?
Slovenia's ambassador, Andrej Logar, speaking on behalf of the European Union, warned that Ligabo's role as an independent expert was shifting from protecting free speech toward limiting it.
Yes, well, that’s the way it crumbles, cookie-wise, as they kept saying in that wonderful film, “The Apartment”. After all, Slovenia, too, condemned Geert Wilders’s film.

Just for the record, these countries represent Europe and the West in general on the UNHRC: Canada, Finland, France, Germany, Netherlands, Switzerland, United Kingdom, as well as the Czech Republic, Poland, Romania, Russia and Ukraine.

One can understand why Russia thought it was best not to interfere with other people’s censorship of expression. But what were the others thinking of? Wringing one’s hands after the resolution had gone through is hardly sensible.

Oh yes, and, naturally enough, we are paying large amounts of money for this bizarre show to go on.

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