This year’s Human Rights Day passed by quietly. For this special day to fall on a Sunday is definitely a big disadvantage. There are still a few interesting reads to follow up:

But the major news today is United Nations Secretary General, Kofi Annan making his final speech at the Truman Presidential Museum and Library in Missouri before he leaves office at the end of this year. Annan selected the Truman library as the location because he considered Truman as the champion for the United Nations during the organization’s early years. His speech was definitely critical of the US. And he intelligently quoted President Harry Truman several times to convey the main points of his speech:

On collective responsibility:

“If we should pay merely lip service to inspiring ideals, and later do violence to simple justice, we would draw down upon us the bitter wrath of generations yet unborn.”

On the rule of law:

“We all have to recognise, no matter how great our strength, that we must deny ourselves the licence to do always as we please.”

On multilateralism:

“The responsibility of the great states is to serve and not dominate the peoples of the world.”

But the best part of his speech was Annan’s own words: “My friends, our challenge today is not to save Western civilisation – or Eastern, for that matter. All civilisation is at stake, and we can save it only if all peoples join together in the task.” While many people do not think Annan is a strong leader for the United Nations, I feel that he was the right person for the job because the UN is not about being dominant, it is about working together for a better world. And I hope we would one day achieve what he said today.

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