Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Quest for Decolonization #8: Taigue Ta'lo

In the United Nations there are various ways of "protesting" or challenging something. At the regional seminar this year, like most years, the usual verbal sparring took place between countries and colonies. The Falkland Islands or Malvinas are off the coast of Argentina, but are a longtime colony of the UK. A war took place over them several decades ago, which Argentina soundly lost. The Argentinian delegate to the seminar always asserts the right of his country over the islands. The representatives of the Falklands always challenge and counter that. The Latin American countries will always come to the aid of Argentina, all proclaiming that the Malvinas are part of Argentina! Sometime these exchanges wake up the attendees, sparing them from more dreary diplomatic time gnashing. Other times, they are so used to the angry spitting of accusations that this is more boring than the usual tame speech reading and droning posturing.

But the more passive aggressive way of protesting something is to simply disengage, to either not show up and participate, or to participate and engage until your time arrives and then to disappear. This is, sadly the approach that the two major administering powers or colonizers today take. Instead of working with the UN and participating in the cooperative process of decolonization, they ignore it or make a show of ignoring it. People who have gone to the United Nations in New York to testify on the question of Guam regularly attest to this. During the testimonies for other non-self-governing territories before the Fourth Committee, the delegate from the United States is usually present. But when it comes time for Guam to receive its 15 minutes of international decolonization-related fame, that same delegate will often times leave the room and return as soon as the Guam-based testimony is finished. I experienced this in 2007 when I went to the UN. I kept my eye on the US delegate and noted their getting up to leave the room just prior to me testifying.

At the regional seminars, the US and other powers often times just don't show up. As evidenced by this image, where the US and UK, who have the largest responsibilities in terms of aiding their colonies decolonize, were both absent this year. But that is to be expected, as they rarely show up and sometimes will still take the same stance of leaving the room when their obligations to their colonies is discussed.

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