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Bernard-Henri Lévy Headshot

After Durban II, the Question of the United Nations

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Part failure? Part success? The outcome of Durban II could be debated ad infinitum.

For me, an anti-racism conference that was organized by Libya, kicked off by Iran, and concluded with a speech whose only merit is, they gloat, the avoidance of a frontal attack on women, Jews, religious and sexual minorities, free thinkers, and indigenous people, is a total failure.

And I do not regret having called for a boycott early on of what could only have been a masquerade and which, from this point of view and, unfortunately, only this point of view, kept all of its promises. Thank goodness, by the way, for the young people of the Union of French Jewish Students who, in interrupting Ahmadinejad's speech disguised as clowns, exemplified the word "masquerade" and sent it back like a boomerang to the authors of this painful farce.

Now we must look to the future.

Now the only remaining legitimate question is to know when, how, and under what conditions can the error and the insult be repaired: ah! the humiliation of the Rwandan ambassador in Geneva, crossing in front of the Palace of Nations the first evening, and understanding anew, just as during Durban I, that the Conference had been taken hostage by people determined to say nothing about the terrifying martyrdom of her people! The despair of the Burundians, Angolans, Sri Lankans, and other representatives of the untouchable Indians, or of the Christian minority of the Moluccas, who must have resigned themselves to the fact that their suffering would be lost in a debate hamstrung by this declaration: "Either the debate will focus on the question of Islamaphobia, the offense of blasphemy, or the racist nature of Zionism, or there will be no debate at all!" These millions, these tens of millions of victims, who should have been the beating heart of a Summit meant to lambast genocides and attacks on human rights everywhere in the world, but who were handed the verdict, as in the case of the Darfuris: "You are neither Jews nor Palestinians? Your misfortune has no link to the criminal State of Israel or its accessory and ally, the great American Satan? In that case, keep moving! There's nothing of worth in your story! You literally don't exist in the eyes of the brilliant ideologues charged by the United Nations to organize the event!"

I see at least one condition under which the scandal not only does not happen again, but is one day repaired.

It will take time, of course.

It will take men and women of a higher caliber than Mr. Ban Ki-moon.

It will also take democracies that are not content to have "avoided the worst," as they currently trumpet, and who dare, without reticence or sheepish guilt, to bear proudly the standard of their values.

But the truth is that there is a precondition that, to do well, must be considered in all urgency.

And this precondition is the overhaul of the current Human Rights Council which has spent years planning the grotesque failure which has been dominated, thanks to the absurdity of the UN rules, by representatives not only from Libya and Iran, but from Pakistan, Vietnam, and Cuba.

The Human Rights Council must be dissolved.

A Council must be reinvented. One equipped with a governing system that -- unlike today -- would make it impossible for murderous States to take control.

A simple procedure must be invented which, just as a citizen guilty of crimes can be temporarily deprived of his civic rights, would allow the exclusion of rogue, dictatorial, and genocidal States until they change regimes.

This is the price of an international human rights policy worthy of the name, and that would come to the aid of all victims, without exception.

It is in this manner that a true great anti-racism Conference will perhaps one day be organized, dedicated to the plight of the immense number of dead, or of those on death row, that are obscured, erased from our radars, and silenced by the adherents of the "grand narrative" which, in the land of the damned of the Earth, wants to see only one face -- anti-Zionist in any form and, if possible, Islamist.

Let's take back the grand word "anti-racism" from the scoundrels who have hijacked it.

Let's return to its original meaning in an anti-racism fight that has no reason, truly none, to be abandoned to the friends of the racist Ahmadinejad or to the slave traders of Khartoum.

For the honor and the salvation of those still in Rwanda and Darfur, in solidarity with the homosexuals hanged in Tehran or imprisoned in Cuba, for the love of newlyweds burned alive in Afghanistan or stoned in any of the Arab Emirates, because nothing is more despicable, in a word, than a double standard in the matters of human rights. I'll say it again -- let's forget this conference of shame and quickly get ready for Geneva III, the Estates General of poverty.

Translated from French by Sara Phenix.