Friday, September 25, 2009

Former Communist is more acceptable

Or so Ivo Indzhev, a Bulgarian political blogger, comments about the appointment of the Bulgarian diplomat Irina Bokova to become UNESCO's first woman Director-General.
Those who dislike communism in this country are not happy about her promotion. For people in this region, her appointment sends the message that the West can swallow someone’s communist past very easily but can’t abide an Arab who is anti-Israel.
It is not entirely clear whether this means that Mr Indzhev thinks it would have been a good idea to appoint a man who is not just anti-Israeli but downright anti-Semitic and who, as Egypt's Culture Minister, has presided over a destruction of any semblance of free media in that country or whether he is just incensed at the idea of Comrade Madame Bokova getting the position.

It is true that Madame Bokova comes from a privileged Communist apparatchik family and, as so many of them, she made the transition to a privileged post-Communist political and diplomatic life with great ease. She is, needless to say, a great supporter of European integration and, indeed, of all transnational organizations.

Farouk Hosni did not appear to be a good loser:
Meanwhile, the Egyptian culture minister defeated by Bokova has blamed her victory on "Zionist pressures". Last year Hosni said he would burn "Israeli books in Egyptian libraries". He later apologised for the remark.

"The organisation has become politicised," Hosni told reporters at Cairo airport on arrival on September 23. "The reality is that we waged a fantastic battle. The Egyptian candidate had the newspapers and Zionist pressures against him every day," he said, referring to himself.

The Egyptian press echoed Hosni's remarks. Opposition weekly Al-Ahrar wrote on its front page about "a ferocious campaign against him by the American administration, under Jewish pressure".
I am, of course, shocked to find that anyone should think that any organization to do with the United Nations can have been politicized but I do think that Mr Hosni can rest assured that Zionism is not a strong force in any of them. For one thing it strains credulity to imagine Madame Bokova to be a Zionist.

It is, however, interesting that the only two serious candidates were a highly oppressive, anti-Semitic Minister of Culture and a former Communist, whose own attitude to such matters as freedom of speech must be doubtful. (Incidentally, there are some curious gaps in the lady's career. Just exactly how long did she spend at the Moscow State Institute of International Relations?)

According to AFP, Egypt may grumble but is unlikely to change its foreign policy because of this outcome. Or its culture policy, one must assume.

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