Good & optimistic news

A pretend monologue of a pretend optimist

What is the difference between an optimist and a pessimist?
A man convinced that things cannot get any worse is a pessimist.
A man convinced that things can get worse and sooner or later will become worse is an optimist.

                          Russian definition

Being a habitually profound but modest thinker, I decided to write up an equally profound analytical piece of crap as though I had been present at the momentous UN General Assembly this September—being a pretend rapporteur at the pretend world justice forum for a pretend audience. It might be a truly therapeutic ego-lubricant for my fragile self, damaged by the chronic lack of appreciation by others who are not at all convinced that I am a genius. I decided to present this historic UN double-whammy of the anti-Semitic Durban III conference and the duplicitous Palestinian application for full UN membership in an easily digestible way, like Vietnamese congee for breakfast. Rest assured, my dear reader, I am perfectly capable of being as pompous, overbearing, self-important, conceited and full of gas as the participants and commentators who were actually there. I can also be as polarising as those who scream “Palestine, Palestine”, those who scream back “Palestine be damned”, or those who approach the whole situation with the Olympian detachment of cognoscenti. Unruffled by the civilian casualties of terrorist attacks, as long as these are on the Western side, they pontificate:

The lack of appreciation and lack of validation of the Islamic contribution to world culture leads to a feeling of resentment among the Islamic multitudes. Ill-founded criticism of Islamic cultural mores and religious practices, such as female genital mutilation, is an expression of the Western cultural arrogance and amounts to Islamophobia.

I can produce borborygmi as loud as these and I am confident that my analysis will be no worse than thousands of similarly inane and self-important analytical overviews.

If truth be told I prefer bridge-builders. You know, the priests, imams and rabbis who get together from time to time and hold hands in a circle, singing “If I were a rich man, yaba, daba, da…” They treat each other with exaggerated politeness, compare sacred texts of their respective faiths (studiously avoiding glaring differences) and eat each others’ food. I am happy to report that nobody has got poisoned so far. They have agreed that the Bokhara variety of pilaf is by far the best of all and that Jewish knishes lack dietary fibre and could cause constipation. Rabbis agreed to feel guilty on the subject of dietary fibre but nothing else. Priests agreed not to mention little girls in front of imams and imams agreed not to mention little boys in front of priests. So, ecumenical harmony is possible, after all.

All right, enough said. UN—here I come! Imagine me with the microphone in my hand, wearing something moderately hideous, standing in front of the famous sculpture of a man beating his sword into a pruning hook. (This sculpture was produced at the same plant which used to make Soviet tanks. Neat, huh?) So, I’ve seen the light, I am looking into a camera, a-a-and action! Here goes:

The hysterical—sorry, I meant historical—UN General Assembly session is on for a second week. Progress is difficult but the work goes on regardless. The UN beau monde is busy and united, ganging up on Israelis, accusing them of all sorts of heinous crimes, such as global warming, internal organ stealing and malicious worldwide cow’s milk curdling. Israelis, resigned to being regarded as the world’s favourite whipping boys, beg for humanity’s love and understanding; they are getting desperate because they are not getting any. Looks like the realisation is slowly sinking in—Israel will never be forgiven by its neighbours for its success.

The noise and stink coming from the tall building on the East River are overwhelming. It appears that Americans, who are paying most of the UN bill, do not believe they are getting their money’s worth, especially in near-default times. Americans are seriously considering shutting the shop down and telling all the bludgers to bugger off.

To avoid this setback to its self-esteem and damage to its business interests, the UN is redoubling its efforts to resolve the Arab-Israeli conflict. It seems considerable progress is being achieved. For example, solely due to untiring UN efforts the world has begun to realise that the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is far from intractable. The warring parties have narrowed down the area of their conflict. They have achieved a breakthrough understanding that they hate each other’s guts. Both accepted this understanding as a base for future discussions.

Another sign of political peristalsis is the realisation that remaining differences between Palestinian Arabs and Israeli Jews are limited and could be successfully narrowed down to two clearly identifiable, easy to negotiate (or so Palestinians claim) areas. Only two left! Isn’t it marvellous? The future looks brighter and brighter!

First, is the different reading of the agricultural priorities of each party to the conflict. In a nutshell, the Palestinians feel quite strongly that the Jews are bad for their crops, if alive. They are prepared to use the Jews as fertiliser but this is as far as they will go to achieve a compromise. The Israelis, on the other hand, demonstrate no flexibility to this approach whatsoever, once again showing their unwillingness to contribute to the peace process.

Second, the fundamental difference in the respective approaches to the question of fisheries management. The Palestinians offered to use Israelis as fish food. They went as far as to magnanimously offer to obtain a religious dispensation to declare the fish edible afterwards. The Israeli response, as usual, was inflexible and rejectionist. Clearly, the Israeli delegation was not going to follow the road map to peace.

Reflecting the unsatisfactory role Israel was playing in the peace process, especially in areas of agriculture and fisheries, the UN General Assembly and its Committee of Human Rights, chaired by the Islamic Republic of Iran, condemned obstructionist Israeli policies and cursed Israel for all eternity. Israelis seem to be crestfallen but obdurate.

The remaining twenty minutes of the General Assembly session time before the end of proceedings was devoted to: 

  • Somali piracy in international waters,

  • famine in Ethiopia,

  • cannibalism in the Central African Republic,

  • genocide in Darfur,

  • the global financial crisis and its implications for under-developed countries, which are in danger of having to start working, instead of receiving Western help,

  • popular insurrections in the Arab world with the resulting slaughter of the opposition by local tyrants,

  • the stoning of female rape victims,
  • excessively high prices in the slave markets of Dar-es-Salaam, Grozny and Mogadishu,

  • all other remaining fifty-eight items on the agenda.

All agenda items were responded to with a standard and an eloquent resolution, calling on all parties to respect each other’s rights and refrain from the use of force in solving mutual problems and a stern reminder to warring parties to adhere to the laws and conventions of the war conduct. Specific addenda to resolution were formulated, calling for the use of strongly worded verbal condemnations instead of stones in case of raped women in Saudi Arabia, and calling for the lowering of the excessively high market prices for slaves in Sudan, Chechnya and Somalia. Each resolution carried the condemnation of Israel as a standard inclusion to every UN document.

Palestinian UN membership was approved by acclamation, a standing ovation and a mass shoe throwing at the Israeli and American delegations. Both delegations were buried under a common shoe hill. Most of the shoes were made in China. At this point, the session was declared over. The Americans and Israelis were dug out by the World Health Organisation’s pandemic response team and all delegates went for lunch and well deserved rest.

On the way out, the Israeli and Palestinian delegations mingled in the doorway. The head of the Palestinian delegation said to his Israeli counterpart: “Nu, look what being a good boychik brought you.”

On this optimistic note I finish my report. May your news be good and optimistic news. Signing off, Michael Galak, pretend reporter in the field of pretend justice.

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