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Thursday, May 07, 2009

Doublespeak from the UN

A press release from the United Nations in Syria:
Palestine refugees in Syria support peace through football

Thousands of Palestine refugee football fans gathered across the region last night to witness a moment of historic proportions as the Palestine national team competed valiantly against Belgium team FC Molenbeek Brussels.

Closer to home, in Yarmouk, over two hundred Palestine refugees gathered at Jarmaq school alongside representatives of the local community to watch the live broadcast. This event was one of many planned for 2009-2010 to pay tribute to six decades of UNRWA achievement.

“Tonight’s game demonstrated the power of sport in bringing together diverse groups of people who have a common interest in enhancing the welfare of Palestine refugees in Syria”, said Ms. Lisa Gilliam, Acting Director of UNRWA Affairs in Syria.

Dubbed ‘Goal for Peace’, the event saw emotions running high amongst spectators, most of whom were relishing in their first opportunity to see their national team play live. Although the Palestine national team fought determinedly, victory narrowly eluded them in the second half of the match, scoring only three goals to the Belgians four.

Supported by member states of the European community, the event was incorporated into the broader ‘EU–UNRWA Partnership for Peace and Humanity’ initiative.

In addition to the excitement generated by this match in Yarmouk, 7,000 people gathered in Brussels to promote sport as a tool for development and peace. Proceeds generated from a performance by Sabreen, a popular Palestinian musical group, will go directly to support the UNRWA Scholarship Endowment Fund.
The word "peace" is freely used, but what exactly does it mean in this context? Certainly not peace with Israel. Is it peace with the EU? Peace between Palestinian Arab factions? Hard to say.

Also, think about the phrase "six decades of UNRWA achievement." If the UNRWA is meant to solve the refugee problem from 1948, the fact that it still exists sixty years later is hardly an achievement - it is a colossal failure.

Unless you consider the establishment of a huge bureaucratic welfare system dedicated to perpetuating the stateless status of a single group of people and their descendants, unique among all the refugee groups in the history of the world, to be a great achievement.