Posted by: sean | April 10, 2007

Shame, shame

I’ve seen first hand how politics (office and international) can override common sense or even doing the right thing in a large bureaucracy. I shouldn’t be surprised by stories like this anymore, and I guess I’m not.

But still. Shame on Ankara, and shame on the UN for kowtowing:

The United Nations dismantled an exhibit on the Rwandan genocide and postponed its scheduled opening by Secretary General Ban Ki-moon on Monday after the Turkish mission objected to references to the Armenian genocide in Turkey at the time of World War I.

The panels of graphics, photos and statements had been installed in the visitors lobby on Thursday by the British-based Aegis Trust. The trust campaigns for the prevention of genocide and runs a center in Kigali, the Rwandan capital, memorializing the 500,000 victims of the massacres there 13 years ago.

Hours after the show was assembled, however, a Turkish diplomat spotted offending words in a section entitled “What is genocide?” and raised objections.

The passage said that “following World War I, during which one million Armenians were murdered in Turkey,” Raphael Lemkin, a Polish lawyer credited with coining the word genocide, “urged the League of Nations to recognize crimes of barbarity as international crimes.”

James Smith, the chief executive of Aegis, said he was told by the United Nations on Saturday night that the sentence would have to be eliminated or the exhibition would be struck.

…Mr. Smith said he was “very disappointed because this was supposed to talk about the lessons drawn from Rwanda and point up that what is happening in Darfur is the cost of inaction.”

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