Tuesday, March 29, 2005

UN=Kofi Annan?

Paul Volcker's second investigative report on the United Nations Oil for Food scandal has been released. Kofi Annan was let off the hook insofar as he was not found directly culpable for any of the criminal behavior covered in this part of the scandal. He was, however, found lacking in securing a proper internal investigation of the matter when the issue was first brought to the public's attention.

The investigation ordered by Annan was completed in one day and, of course, found nothing to worry about.

Could it be that Mr. Annan knew that his son, Kojo, was in deep trouble for his role as an "advisor" to the chief contracting company dealing with Iraq on this matter? Was this a lame attempt at a coverup?

The new report apparently doesn't say (I haven't yet read it, or even seen a full summary of its findings).

Today, when asked if he was considering resigning from his position as Secretary General of the United Nations, Kofi Annan reportedly replied, "Hell no!"

Apparently Mr. Annan feels that the United Nations cannot function without him. Either that or else he feels that he IS the United Nations.

As a Christian pastor of a congregation, I could not imagine staying in my position under such a cloud of suspicion and inept oversight of my ministry. I would offer to step down until the matter was resolved one way or the other. My church, Christ's Church, the reputation of the Gospel, are far too important for me to in any way place myself or my own self-interests ahead of them.

I serve the church. The church does not serve me. I do not have any "rights" to my position at all. I serve on behalf of others and for their own best interests. As John the Baptist once said of Jesus, "I must decrease so he may increase."

If my holding on to the position of pastor caused division and discredit to my church my heart would be broken. I don't really care whether I am successful or not personally. I only care that the Good News of the Gospel is effectively proclaimed and encouraged within the congregation that I serve and that this same Gospel is equally well presented to the local community in as unstained a manner as possible. And I would feel exactly the same about this whether any charges brought against me were true or not.

Kofi Anna is sending exactly the wrong signal to the world of nations. He is putting himself above criticism and above the higher priority of preserving the integrity of the organization he serves. He is acting like an elected leader who refuses to step down from power when the time for them to resign is far overdue. Unfortunately, the United Nations does not have any "citizens" to demonstrate or riot in the streets to demand his removal from office. The only "citizens" of the UN are the cozy swarm of ambassadors and their staffs whose own self interests preclude them from holding one of their own's feet to the fire.

I'm sure that Mr. Annan is proving to be an inspiring example of leadership for such people as Egypt's Mubarak and Syria's Bashar Assad. There is an irony in this occurring just as democracy and government of the people, by the people and for the people is breaking out everywhere else in the world.

Perhaps someone could give him a copy of Rick Warren's book, "The Purpose Driven Life." The first sentence on the first page might give him something to think about: "It's not about you."