The United Nations has “failed not just the United States, but it’s failed the world,” according to Ami Horowitz, producer, co-director, and host of the documentary film “U.N. Me.” “We’re tackling what I think is a fundamentally important issue which is our relationship with the United Nations and the abject failure of the U.N. to live up to its founding principles."
According to Horowitz, the U.N. has “failed not just the United States, but it has failed the world.” To illustrate this point, the film looks at the U.N.’s role in Rwanda as well as other “peacekeeping” missions that ended in tragedy for native civilian populations.
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In Rwanda, the U.N. was “there to protect, to make sure that this didn’t happen. They were already on the ground with a military team that was armed. They had all the tools necessary to stop this and they told the team to stand down. And to the horror of the world, 800,000 Rwandan Tutsis were slaughtered while the U.N. watched.”
An interviewee cites the U.N.’s difficulty with determining which side is the aggressor in conflicts, and Horowitz says that’s a fundamental problem with the organization. “It is this moral relativism, this moral blindness that they have that they refuse to be able to apply judgment to other people, other cultures. And, ultimately, that’s why we find ourselves in this situation, and that’s only the good part of the U.N.
“The other side of the coin [is] the bureaucrats and the nation states in the U.N. who are fundamentally evil. These are people from the governments of Iran and Sudan and North Korea, and these people populate the bureaucracy. They’re fundamentally trying to move the world into a darker place.”
One example from the film: the U.N.’s Human Rights commission. “Libya chaired the Human Rights Commission. Sudan was on the Human Rights Commission. Today, as Syria is slaughtering these people, Syria sits on one of the U.N.'s human rights bodies.”
There is, however, one country that the U.N. has no problem singling out: “They could pass judgment on one country, the state of Israel. That’s the country they look at as somebody that they have to take action on. Not Syria, not Sudan, not North Korea — the state of Israel.”
Another striking point in the film is the U.N.’s inability to define terrorism, and the effect this has on operations: “They don’t want to define terrorism because once they do, that means people have to be accountable to that definition and the last thing in the world they want to do is have to call out member nations or groups for engaging in terrorism.
“God knows they don’t want to call the Palestinians in Hamas out for terrorism against Israel. So the best way to do that is by not being able to define it.”
In the time since Horowitz commenced making the film, the Middle East has undergone monumental changes that have altered the political map. In terms of the effect on production, “The fundamentals of the U.N. haven’t changed at all.
“Unfortunately, we could have made this movie 10 years ago — probably if this movie wasn’t made now, 10 years from now and nothing would have changed. We’re just trying to highlight it in a really funny, entertaining, Michael Moore-style way.”
Asked if the U.N. should be disbanded, Horowitz asserts, “I’d like to think that we could give it one last chance. But the only way it could possibly work, and I don’t know if it will, the only chance we have is we got to stop giving these checks with no strings attached. And I’m talking about this administration, I’m talking about the Bush administration.
“We have not said to them, we’re going to cut off your funding, unless you reform . . . We have to have an organization that’s really whose ethos is founded and grounded in liberty.”
While the film champions what is often associated with a conservative stance vis-à-vis the U.N., the team behind the production drew talent from sources as unlikely as “The Daily Show,” The Onion, and Michael Moore’s writers and editors.
“Our editor edited ‘30 Rock’ and ‘Fog of War,’ our cinematographer shot ‘Borat.’ Really, from the beginning, we wanted to put together an absolutely best-of-breed, talented team to make a movie like this. I wouldn’t call it a traditional documentary in any sense of the word.”
While Horowitz borrows aspects of Michael Moore’s style, his ideology is decidedly different from the controversial documentarian's. “From our side of the aisle, the conservatives, we’ve done a really bad job with entertainment outside of talk radio and cable news.
“In the film arena — documentary, feature films — we’ve really failed abysmally to really catch fire and to create high quality entertainment. It’s unfortunate. We really try to reverse that trend.”
‘U.N. Me’ is in theaters, and available online through iTunes. See the trailer and more at UNMEMovie.com.
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