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Posted on on January 26th, 2013
by Pincas Jawetz (

Take for instance the problem called Syria that after 60,000 people killed, and hundreds of thousands displaced, during 2011-2012 continuing now in the same way –  or a two years of disaster – still does not move the UN Security Council seat-holders to find a way to control the centripetal forces in that Member State.

Arriving to Davos on Thursday  morning – to the World Economic Forum – first action of Mr. Ban Ki-moon took was to deliver a special address focusing on Syria and the African Sahel region. The address was noticed by governments, business, and civil society. A unity must be found that allows meaningful action and humanitarian and political efforts must be given security cover. He met the Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu in this context. He also spoke at a meeting on water resources and connected the events in the North Africa – Middle East MENA States to active effects of drought and Climate Change and people migration that spill over to neighboring States that also suffer from environmental degradation.

On the one end of this arc of destruction – by fighting people and by disaster creating activities elsewhere – Mr. Ban Ki-moon met with the Prime Minister of Lebanon – H.E. Mr. Najib Milkati, and a large group of US Members of Congress from the Republican Party – Messrs. Eric Cantor (Virginia), Jeff Fortenberry (Nebraska), Mario Diaz-Balart (Florida), Darrell Issa (Californis), and Ms Kay Granger (Texas). With this unusual group questions of Human Rights and UN reform were as important as the Middle East Peace Process between Israel and its neighbors, as the unrest in the Sahel region on the other side of the MENA arc of destruction and its neighbors of the Horn of Africa, Central Africa, and West Africa.

Regarding Mali, Mr. Ban warned that the crisis is deepening with repeated reports of sexual violence, child soldiers, and reprisals by the Malian army against Tuareg and Arab populations. The African story repeats itself now also in the Western part of the Sahel. A toxic mix of poverty, extreme climatic conditions, weak institutions, drug smuggling, and the easy availability of weapons, is causing now also in this rather new region the dangerous insecurity we know from the other parts of MENA and its neighboring States.

The UNSG came to Davos in order to tell to whoever will listen that the problems of Mali engulf  18 million people of the Sahel, and if we want to address the problems – the whole set of problems will have to be addressed.  Ditto when looking at Darfur and the region stretching into the Horn of Africa.

Mr. Ban took a look also at Egypt and Bahrain and expressed his wishes that these two States do not regress into difficult situations as well.

Regarding Mr. Saddam Hussein’s Iraq misadventure into Kuwait, the UN panel allocated from Iraq funds the equivalent of $1.3 billion as reparations to Kuwait.

While the UNSG was making these presentations to leaders, academics, and business tycoons in Davos, his Under-Secretary-General for Communications and Public Information, Mr.Peter Launsky-Tieffenthal presented the Ban Ki-moon video address to the 2013 International Day of Commemoration in memory of the victims of the Holocaust, in the UN General Assembly Hall at the New York City Headquarters of the UN. This year’s Memorial Ceremony was held under the secondary title: “THE COURAGE TO CARE.”

The Holocaust, though a very special event without anything in human history to compare it with, according to Mr. Jan Karski, one of the “Righteous Among the Nations” by the Jerusalem Yad Vashem, for his efforts to inform the World of the extermination of the Jews activities of the Nazis of the German Reich, ought nevertheless be remembered when watching crimes performed in full TV light before our eyes and right in front of us.

Jan Karski was awarded posthumously, by President Obama in 2012, the US Presidential Medal of Freedom. and the UN lobby has now an exhibit on display about him as his book “Story of a Secret State” was released this year with details of US inaction while he provided information of what was going on in Europe during WWII. He started out as a Polish Nationalist, but even though faced with the dismemberment of the Polish State – he recognized that what was happening to the Jews was immensely worse.

The US Lobby is displaying as well material about the Holocaust, the extermination machine and the Righteous people who even by saving the life of just one Jew – got themselves the right to be considered as if they saved the whole world. Considering that the UN is ever so often visited by Holocaust deniers, and the UN continuously watching crimes being committed by member States – the event at Headquarters was at least just as important, if not more, as what the UNSG was trying to achieve in Davos.

We bring thus the text of the UNSG video presentation to those assembled at the UN General Assembly Hall on Friday, January 25, 2013.


25 January 2013


Department of Public Information • News and Media Division • New York

Secretary-General, in Memorial Message for Holocaust Victims Day, Hails‘Unsung Heroes’ Who Risked All to Help Targets of Persecution.

The original title was:


Airing 25 January 2013

It is a great pleasure to greet all the good friends of the United Nations who have gathered for this observance of the International Day of Commemoration in Memory of the Victims of the Holocaust. I welcome in particular the Holocaust survivors and World War II veterans who have joined this solemn ceremony.

Ladies and gentlemen,

Courage is a rare and precious commodity.  Today, we celebrate those who had the courage to care.  Throughout the Second World War, Jews, Roma and Sinti, Soviet prisoners of war and others who failed to conform to Hitler’s perverted ideology of Aryan perfection were systematically murdered in death camps such as Auschwitz-Birkenau.

But some were able to avoid the slaughter.  They escaped because a few brave souls risked their lives and their families to rescue Jews and other victims of persecution from almost certain death.  Some sheltered the intended victims in their homes; others helped families to obtain safe passage.

Some of the accounts of the rescuers have achieved iconic prominence.  But many are known only to those whose lives were saved.  This year’s observance is meant to give those unsung heroes the regard they deserve.  I thank the Righteous among the Nations Programme at Yad Vashem, which is celebrating its fiftieth year, for identifying and rewarding them.  The Holocaust and the United Nations programme has produced an education package on the rescuers that will be used in classrooms around the world.

I also congratulate another crucial partner, the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, on its twentieth anniversary.  Its theme of “Never Again:  What You Do Matters” resonates deeply.

Acts of genocide illustrate the depths of evil to which individuals and whole societies can descend.  But the examples of the brave men and women we celebrate today also demonstrate the capacity of humankind for remarkable good, even during the darkest of days.

On this International Day, let us remember all the innocent people who lost their lives during the Holocaust.  And let us be inspired by those who had the courage to care — the ordinary people who took extraordinary steps to defend human dignity.  Their example is as relevant today as ever.

In a world where extremist acts of violence and hatred capture the headlines on an almost daily basis, we must remain ever vigilant.  Let us all have the courage to care, so we can build a safer, better world today.

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