ON OCTOBER 24, LIBERIA joined other nations around the world for the annual celebration of the United Nations Day. Followed by fanfare, grandstanding speeches, a concert was held featuring top Liberian artistes in the country and around the world.
THE ORIGIN OF THE UNITED NATIONS came from a tumultuous period in the world. The world then was engulfed in a crisis which left its imprint on every continent. Adolf Hitler, chief architect of the war, had fallen in Nazi Germany. His pal, Benito Mussolini, in Fascist Italy had been captured and killed and Japan had surrendered following the dropping of the atomic bomb in Hiroshima and Nagasaki which killed over 100,000 people instantly.
FOLLOWING THE SIGNING OF an armistice agreement in France in 1945, the world then saw a great need for the establishment of an organization which would serve the interest of world peace and bring an end to hostility in every nook and cranny of the globe. It was then that the United Nations came into being as its predecessor, the League of Nations, had been virtually ineffective.
IT WAS THE BEGINNING OF AN ambitious journey and Liberia formed part of it as the country signed the charter which created the UN, with Cllr. Clarence L. Simpson, former vice President and ambassador to the United States led the Liberian delegation which consisted of former House Speaker Richard Abrom Henries, amongst others.
THE VICTORIOUS GREAT POWERS—the United States, the Soviet Union, China, the United Kingdom, and France—became the permanent members of the United Nations Security Council. The Soviet Union and the United States emerged as rival superpowers, setting the stage for the Cold War, which lasted for the next 46 years.
IT’S FIRST TEST CAME WHEN in 1948 when the Security Council authorized the deployment of UN Military Observers to the Middle East. The mission’s role was to monitor the Armistice Agreement between Israel and its Arab neighbors—an operation which became known as the United Nations Truce Supervision Organization (UNTSO).
HOWEVER, OVER THE YEARS, the main intent of the organization has been eroded over the years by the five veto wielding members of the United Nations Security Council who, in reality, are the ones who pay the piper to call the tune.
WHEN RWANDA WAS ENGULFED in a crisis, which led to a genocide that killed over 800,000 Rwandans in 90 days, the organization stood idly and pussyfooted, no thanks to France who vetoed a vote for boots on the ground. It was clear to all and sundry that that French were protecting their Belgian interest. Instead of saving all or preventing the crisis, only French, Belgians and other westerners were salvaged from the genocide.
AS SIERRA LEONE RAGED IN FLAMES and people’s arms were chopped off, the world looked the other way, as Great Britain, former colonial master of the country had not decided on ending the conflict. Hence the UN didn’t intervene. And when it did get ready, there was a drum roll.
EVEN LIBERIA, WHO WENT through its 14 years of civil conflict which saw over 250,000 Liberians killed, could have had that nipped in the bud early on had the United States reigned in on Charles Taylor, who was alleged to be a spy of the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), to halt him in his tracks.
THE UN ONLY GOT FIRED UP TO come with the men and in blue helmets when former U.S. President, George W. Bush, told a news conference on the White House south lawn that if peace is to come to Liberia, former President Charles Taylor must leave.
IN SYRIA TODAY, A CAT AND MOUSE game between Russia and the US to remove Syrian President Bashir Al-Assad from power is proving impervious as both side continue to bomb Aleppo, while uselessly trading blame on the other.
EVEN THE BLOODY FACE OF A LITTLE BOY who was brought into an ambulance and Aylan Kurd who was washed ashore on a Turkish beach did not wake up leaders at the UN to put aside their interests for oil and natural gas and work in the interest of humanity.
WHETHER THE FIVE VETO WIELDING members of the UN Security Council like it or not, they form an integral part of the organization and even whether they are removed from their post as permanent representatives to the council, it was/is their actions that change the world.