Memona Hintermann is a journalist, former great reporter, former member of the CSA from 2013 to 2019.
From the beginning, they knew it well, these statesmen, the Roosevelts – then Truman -, the Churchills and a few others: their “united nations” project was mad. But it was the time of dreams – and of the will -, the time of oaths of “never again”. Mankind had come close to apocalypse, so they created the UN.
In October 1945, the United Nations was born after the sinking of the League of Nations. The sadly famous SDN remains etched in history on the frail voice of Haile Selassie.
It was already in 1936, when in Geneva, the Emperor of Ethiopia begged the world to come to his aid. Mussolini’s troops had invaded his country. Thousands of civilians and not only soldiers would die because of banned poison gas. Does the ancient African kingdom, which has its own alphabet dating from the 9th century BC, remind us of anything today?
No, Ethiopia does not look like Ukraine in physical features. The parallel bears on the tragic abuses of the right of the strongest to crush a people, its identity and its culture. The rampage endured in Africa under the boots of fascism returns like a boomerang. Italian Ethiopia precipitated the end of the League. Will Ukraine topple the famous UN Charter?
The international juggernaut with its 37,000 employees, 10 billion dollar budget spread over two years – the thing De Gaulle was talking about – has been in bad shape for a long time. How many despised resolutions? How many wars since its creation? How many civilians at risk? At this very moment: Yemen, Syria, Eritrea, Afghanistan… If Emmanuel Macron had described NATO as a body with a flat encephalogram, how to speak of the UN?
The relevance of surveys
For three weeks that the risk of nuclear war has been hovering, where has the UN gone? Of course, meetings bring together many officials around their computers at the top of the glass tower on the edge of the Hudson in New York. But to do what ? What concrete actions to stop the spiral of war, where is the international law, what decisive sanctions to disarm Putin?
An agency of the world organization no longer knows where to turn in the face of the human tide escaping from hell. The UNHCR – High Commissioner for Refugees – must help 3 million people on the run and this is only the beginning. Apart from this agency, who relies on the UN, who talks about the UN?
We saw three heads of government – Slovenia, Poland, the Czech Republic – take the train to meet the Ukrainian president in a European capital in flames, we noticed the work of media investigations which accumulate evidence of war crimes – the world observed a journalist put herself in great danger with her sign that cried out Russia’s lie, the International Court of Justice, which depends on the UN, has indeed ordered a halt to the fighting. Moscow doesn’t care.
Will the investigations that the Court triggers make it possible, one day, to force Putin to answer for his war crimes? A hope for the credibility of the UN and confidence in international law.