Four rows of colorful flags wave in the wind as one world in motion. Yet there is a back entrance. And a security check. Passport control. A photo is taken. And no, we are not entering an airport or US soil but a place standing for peace and security in a world that is less peaceful and secure.
Once inside, one is welcome to be lost in the hallways and corridors of the huge building complex. While the United Nations is hallowed just as much as its Genevan office, many end up lost. While the world needs a grand building reflecting the grandeur of the ideology, some prefer to aim for a grand ego. And yet this troubled world desperately needs something called a “united nations”.
As I circled around the giant three-legged chair on the Palais Nations square, I thought of how everyone tires with age. Such fatigue may not be lack of energy, but it may be redirecting the energy from dynamic decisions and actions to analysis paralysis, while carefully working out ways not to step on anyone’s toes. Being connected to the What, or the Result, and how to avoid dissonance or disruption, replaces the aim of being connected to the Reason, or the Why. And we small simple people get caught in the How, or the Process, where a long-term view of the ultimate aim can be replaced by unfortunate quick fixes. We choose personal gains, and forget to be kind at heart. And so it is easy to be lost, even in the cradle of human hope and kindness and peace.
But fortunately the UN office is well sign-posted. It is almost impossible to not find one’s way to the General Assembly Hall, where each country has a seat, side by side – and a microphone, so each and every one’s voice is heard. Here’s hoping that also the entire United Nations finds a clear and sounding voice again.