Documentary Exposes Bureaucratic Corruption Running Rampant in U.N.
- Thursday, May 31, 2012
Each year, U.S. taxpayers give the United Nations $8.5 billion for peacekeeping and humanitarian purposes – that’s a whopping $5,073 deposited in their account in just the time it took you to read this sentence.
But what exactly is the U.N. doing with all that money?
Nothing close to what it set forth in its charter as its founding goals more than 60 years ago: “to save succeeding generations from the scourge of war … to reaffirm faith in fundamental human rights ... to maintain international peace and security.” No – today, with some of the West’s staunchest enemies holding leadership positions, and with flagrant human-rights abusers and known terror-funding nations still held as members in good standing, the U.N. could not be more of an antithesis to the aforementioned principles.
A new documentary exposes just how deep the bureaucratic corruption and the enablement of evil runs within the organization. In U.N. Me, conservative investment-banker-turned-filmmaker Ami Horowitz takes viewers on an eye-opening and utterly shocking tour through a number of places in the world where the U.N. has intervened. Striking a skillful balance between sharply sobering and wryly humorous, Horowitz discovers along the way the massacre of unarmed protesters by a peacekeeping force stationed in Cote d’Ivoire, the astounding number of sexual abuses committed by U.N. peacekeepers, the counter-terrorism committee’s almost laughable inability to define terrorism, the purportedly humanitarian Oil for Food Program devolving into a scam – with the main culprits going undisciplined – and the prolongation of the Darfur genocide by the U.N.’s Human Rights Council, among other atrocities.
Horowitz likens the style of his self-described “docu-tainment” to that of Michael Moore – and, in fact, he even hired some of Moore’s own writers and editors. There is certainly no shortage of entertaining and outright funny moments along the way in this detailed exposé, with some of the best moments coming as Horowitz fearlessly charges a government checkpoint in Cote d’Ivoire, sneaks into a meeting to corner an elusive official, and lets various U.N. bureaucrats all but admit their own corruption as they talk circles around themselves in response to his incisive questions.
Also weaving in exclusive interviews from former U.N. ambassador John Bolton, former CIA director James Woolsey, former U.N. weapons inspector Charles Duelfer and Nobel laureate Jody Williams, among others, U.N. Me delivers an unforgettable account of how the organization’s failures have turned it into “the clubhouse of dictators, thugs and tyrants.” This must-see documentary will challenge everything you thought you knew about the U.N., leave you appalled and outraged at what is really going on behind the scenes, and amaze you at all you learned during its fast-paced 90 minutes.
In the days leading up to U.N. Me’s June 1 release in select theaters and nationwide on Video on Demand, I had the chance to speak with Horowitz about the making of the documentary, what can be done regarding the U.N., and what he hopes viewers will take away from the film.
You were an investment banker for 13 years – what inspired you to investigate the U.N. and make this documentary about it?
I had an epiphany, actually. I literally was sitting around watching Michael Moore’s Bowling for Columbine, if you can believe that. I’m actually a big fan of what he does – not a big fan of his politics at all, but his use of the medium. I had seen it before, so I was just drifting off and thinking about the United Nations for some reason which I can’t explain why. I was becoming very upset; I was thinking about the bias against Israel at the U.N., I was thinking about Rwanda, I was thinking about Sudan, where there’s genocide happening right now. So while I was sitting in my Upper West Side apartment watching the movie, there were people running in terror in the night. And I had two emotions: one was anger – infuriation – and the other was that I felt really small. Here’s these big issues out there and I can’t do anything about them – no one cares what I have to say. I can’t change anything. But then I looked over at the screen and I saw Michael’s documentary, and – say what you will about Michael Moore the man, but Michael Moore the filmmaker knows how to take a topic and make it entertaining and engaging and can change things. And I thought, “This is what I want to do.” And that was it. I quit my job literally the next Monday.
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