Obama, Ahmadinejad dominate UN headlines, poorer nations ignored
The United Nations General Assembly debate is a seven day gathering of nearly two hundred countries. The annual meeting provides poor nations like the Congo, Palestine, Afghanistan, and Mongolia with the opportunity to promote their foreign policy agenda and concerns.
However, when heavy hitters like US President Barack Obama and Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad left the stage on September 24, the camera's, flashbulbs, and media attention followed. This left all the smaller countries that need the most, receiving the least amount of attention.
"People don’t care anymore. So it’s kinda sad. They care about what Spain will say. Iraq. Iran. The big countries and then they’re out," said international producer Nico Maounis.
Come the morning of September 25, with 124 countries left to address the international body, the press prematurely pulled the plug. The front of the UN was desolate. No live trucks. No reporters. Only tourists pointing camera's at the building.
More than 2,000 journalists were accredited at the UN, but by September 27, less than 20 were seated inside the media center.
"This emptiness that you see here today also reflects the US suddenly doesn’t draw as much attention as global governance. It seems to have so many challenges to address," said Rafeal Maehusruiz, a reporter for the Mexican newspaper, Reforma.
According to a Gallop poll, nearly 70 percent of Americans think the UN does a lousy job at solving global problems and it found most felt the Presidential political circus was annoying.
“Maybe they should move it somewhere else. Governors Island, where no one can be affected by it. It’s definitely an inconvenience for everyone." said Luiz Yorres, a doorman working in New York City nearby the UN.
However, most of the world criticizes Americans for neglecting to understand or care about global problems.
"We only know what we hear. We don’t exactly know what’s going on. We should know. It should be the same for everyone," said Yorres.
If not the same, then the United Nations may remain a place where everyone continues to talk and neglects to listen.