World Gone Wrong
“World Gone Wrong” is the title of Bob Dylan’s 29th studio album released in 1993. Having read the news it was impossible not to recall the album title and make a small mental journey into the near past.
“Syria begins presidency of UN disarmament forum,” read the headline. What to say? Hillel Neuer, the always brilliant executive director of UN Watch, put it most realistically: “Having the Syrian regime of Bashar al-Assad preside over global chemical and nuclear weapons disarmament is like putting a serial rapist in charge of a women’s shelter.”
In a “world gone wrong,” however, that piece of news should be hardly surprising. We have not reached this point overnight. In 2010 then Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan proudly won the Al-Gaddafi International Prize for Human Rights.
Then we had Saudi Arabia, which Douglas Murray in the Gatestone Institute named as the “world’s human rights sewer,” was appointed in 2015 as head of a top panel of the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) – the panel selects leading officials for the task of shaping international standards in human rights, and it reports on human rights violations around the world.
Mr Neuer commented at the time: “It is scandalous that the UN chose a country that has beheaded more people this year than [the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant] to be head of a key human rights panel. Petro-dollars and politics have trumped human rights.”
This author’s column in Hurriyet Daily News in October 2015 was “Assad for OPWC!”
The column went on: “Your columnist would suggest that Syrian President Bashar al-Assad should quit and be nominated for the chair of the Organization for Prohibition of Chemical Weapons.
“The ideal chair for the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty Organization could be the (then) Iranian president, Hassan Rouhani. Mr Rouhani can be assisted in this position by his North Korean counterpart, Kim Jong-un. Both men can also act as rotating chairmen for the International Atomic Energy Agency.
“There is too little room for dispute for the position of the chair for the International Court of Justice. There is only one man among the world’s most respected statesmen who would deserve the seat, and he is Omar al-Bashir, president of Sudan.
“Had he not died, Pablo Escobar could have been a successful candidate for the chair of the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime. In his absence, the job could be best performed by Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman.”
Saudi Arabia and human rights… And now Syria and disarmament. When President Erdoğan’s term ends he should be nominated to chair Transparency International or Council of Europe.