Tuesday, June 20, 2006

Third World not good enough for the United Nations?

The United Nations Third World Forum is running in Vancouver at the moment.

Given that the United Nations is fighting a daily uphill battle for its credibility and efficacy, one has to question the choice of Vancouver as the venue for this event. Perhaps a location closer to where the need exists in Africa or Asia or one of the impoverished US neighbourhoods (New Orleans comes to mind), would have made more sense and would have been viewed by the public as a more sensitively thought out approach.

Vancouver has for many years rightly earned first spot in the world when it comes to the most livable city in the world. This, British Columbia and its largest city, is just too comfortable, smug and distant from the realities of actual poverty and urban distintegration to lend any meaning to this United Nations bunfest; yet another awful example of academic preening.

The next time the guilty urge arises to hold similar event why not place the attendees and participants closer to the action. Building a Hanitat for Humanity home on Vacouver's glorious waterfront in order to ship it to a needy family on the dismal waterfront of New Orleans is simply too much of an overt public relations exercise.

Next time hold the forum in Kinshasha, Darfur or Khandahar - even Cape Town. In fact why not tie the world forum event to the 2010 World Cup Soccer and score two goals in one - a fun time plus the opportunity for all gluttony of world concern to experience the grotesque truths surrounding poverty and socio-economic decay that still can be seen along the National Road between Somerset West and the City of Cape Town.

Vancouver simply bears no relationship to anything remotely reflective of a real problem.