Rat Heads and Horse Tails 

Rat Heads and Horse Tails

I was thinking last week that the only real impact the UN General Assembly was having on my day-to-day life was the traffic. Iím living on the same side of New York as the UN buildings are. Never mind that itís some 60 blocks south of me. Manhattan is a small island, and pressure on one part of the island bulges out to the rest of it. So I know the UN delegates met because all their armoured cars and police escorts were delaying my cross-town bus by at least an hour each day.

And then I thought that Iíd known that they met because the street I was walking down last Monday night was closed. And I had to go around. I figured that was because some diplomatic what-what was hobnobbing in some posh NYC penthouse. But, I learnt today, that wasnít it at all. Apparently my neighbourhood is one of the preferred locations for shooting the US mafia television show The Sopranos. Iíve never watched it. But it seems they close down our streets all the time for filming. Who benefits from that? What if you live next door? Are you stuck inside all day? Never mind. I have no idea.

The other evidence I had that the UN was meeting was the exciting kerfuffle on Thursday afternoon when a whole section of the Columbia University campus was closed off and two police cars, an ambulance, three SUVís and a limousine came screeching down the schoolís main pedestrian thoroughfare, sirens screaming. The convoy slammed to a halt, six large men in suits leapt out of the SUVís, sprinted to the black stretch limo, and hustled a man in a white military uniform the 25 metres from where they were parked to the back entrance of a campus theatre.

Evo Morales, the coca leaf bearing, resource nationalizing, imperialist decrying president of Bolivia had arrived to give a talk at the university. But whatís with the pomp and ceremony? Does he really think someone is going to leap out from behind the oak trees and give him a klap?

If even the ďgoodĒ presidents get motorcades like that, whatís ever going to make robert mugabe change his ways!

Anyway. The politrixians keep meeting. And the rest of us keep muddling along. My best friend tells me even the IMF is estimating inflation in Zimbabwe to be on its way to 4000% next year. But itís not like those esteemed heads of state gave baba chatunga the cold shoulder. The US might have travel bans on selected members of zanu pf, but they donít apply for UN meetings.

As far as I can tell, the best thing to come out of the whole shebang was Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez calling US President George Bush ďthe devil.Ē And watching the conservative press foam at the mouth in rabid astonishment.

In an interview on Democracy Now radio on Friday, I heard Evo Morales reckon heíd ďrather be the head of a rat than the tail of a horse.Ē That may well be true. But give me the horsesí tails over the heads of state any day.

United Nations, Zimbabwe

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