Posts Tagged ‘UN headquarters’

sod_logo_smallThere are times when I really miss the daily blogs followed by instant reactions that usually developed into full-on electronic dialogues. But for better or worse, I can only count on a few minutes here and there to post my regular (or nowadays “irregular”… My bad!) updates. Not surprisingly, though, it takes me so long to actually get to the computer for these overdue “news blogs” that I tend to forget half of them by the time I’m typing away yet again!
So, first things first… Earlier this afternoon, we heard from our European counterpart that the authors of “Is It True” (Christopher Neil, Oskar Pall and yours truly) performed most gloriously by Yohanna, have been awarded for the #1 Eurovision Song of the Decade as voted by the ESC viewers and ESC Today readers worldwide. Did we really beat some of the greats, such as Andrew Lloyd Webber, Diane Warren, Ronan Keating, Patricia Kaas, etc. to name but a few? I’m still reeling from this, to be honest!
And from Sweden – this very song was performed at the Swedish Idol semi-finals (and won the semi’s!) by Erik Gronwall last week… which, by the way, you can hear (and see) right here.
Now, on a political note… As I’m getting ready to return to the UN Radio HQ next week to resume my weekly UN Uncovered show on Progressive Radio Network (it’s been over a month, I can’t believe it!) I am still trying to keep up with international political affairs… Believe it or not, I do read the Financial Times – still, even a year after the August War back home… So…. The other day, as I was surfing the web and reading the online Friday edition of the FT, I came across this article:
“Iceland after a year of financial crisis
Financial Times – London, England, UK
‘Is it true? Is it over? Did I throw it away?’ Seldom can the words
from an entry in the Eurovision Song Contest be more appropriate…”
To read more, please go to: FT.com
If you read on, you’ll be equally surprised by the sudden twist – a pop song lyric in a heavily political piece? I couldn’t be more excited, though, I admit!
And pop songs aside, I can proudly confirm that I am about to start working with the great Timothy Graphenreed, who wrote my very first song for me back when I was 16 years old, on our Broadway-themed concert to take place in NYC (theater, date, etc. TBC) in the new year – a variety of songs, ranging from American standards and some of my own tunes… Quite a challenge, but I’m extremely excited and really, really psyched!
While brand new material is on its way, I can already give you a quick hint – there’s about 4-5 new tunes that I’m dying to post on here asap, but it will have to wait until it’s been sent to my publishers at Kobalt Music and straight onto my homepage.
Please do stay tuned for more news and I promise to keep this blog up to date as much as possible… But for now, happy holiday to everyone (Columbus Day, if you haven’t noticed – some of the stores are closed today…. Brrrr…..!)

Read Full Post »

Sitting in Conference Room 1 in the General Assembly section of the UN building, waiting for Russian Ambassador Churkin’s special conference to begin.

The Ambassador to the UN has invited the press corp to attend the session on “Tragedy in South Ossetia, August 2008”.

Following my UN radio show on Tuesday morning, I made my way to the conference room after a brief lunch with an old friend and former UN colleague. Incredible how short the internships are for the young people here. Wouldn’t it be smart to recruit more enthusiastic youngsters and enhance the youthful outlook of the organization as a whole?

As I’m typing this blog article on my blackberry, the Permanent Representative of the Russian Federation at the United Nations takes center stage… I have no other choice but start taking notes on a piece of recycled paper of what used to be a GA resolution – one of many…!

The introductory speech of Ambassador Churkin was not in any way different from the previous statements by the Russian government and the Russian media, with particular emphasis on “Georgia’s aggression against South Ossetians”.

Fluent in English, Vitaly Churkin chose to speak Russian instead during his remarks, urging those “not yet fluent in the great language” to use the headsets with sync-translation into English.

The introduction was swiftly followed by the promised documentary compiled by the Russian Mission to the UN for a special screening to mark the 40 days since the tragedy.

Ambassador warned those present that the footage was in parts so graphic, it needed severe editing beforehand. That certainly goes to both the Georgian and Russian media images and documentary shots.

Following a minute of silence in the memory of those who perished, mention Ossetians, Georgians and Russians, V. Churkin joined the auditorium to watch the documentary in 3 parts with the music of Adagio playing in the background.

As for the images – nothing new and particularly revealing that we haven’t yet witnessed on TV and the press covering the events in Georgia and the Ossetian breakaway region during the past few weeks.

Two separate documentaries previously broadcasted on Russia Today satellite channel were replayed back to back, while those of us in the room either made notes hastily (very few, though) or just simply couldn’t take our eyes of the footage. A special segment of Ossetian-born pro Russian conductor Valery Gergiev’s performance in Tskhinvali immediately following the week-long war was also shown amidst other footage filmed in Ossetia.

One particular segment caught my eye immediately – it’s undiplomatic cruelty and animosity was clearly somewhat out of place, especially for a venue such as the UN headquarters and Conference Room 1 in the basement of the General Assembly. A dead Georgian soldier lying on the ground completely unattended while two middle aged women standing several feet away from the scene watched the corpse deteriorate on the spot and spat on it from a short distance.

Truly staggering that a big TV company would even air this piece. Whether you’re a Georgian, a Russian or a representative of any other ethnicity, people are people and this was one more proof that we haven’t yet integrated into the 21st century if we are still behaving like cavemen. These were civilians, you see, not even the politicians.

45 minutes after the presentation had begun with Mr. Churkin’s speech, the lights went out and the conference came to an end somewhat unexpectedly. No usual Q&A following most UN conferences and briefings of all sorts, nothing at all. Perhaps it was for the better, as the footage we had just witnessed could have stirred all kinds of negative emotions coming from varying perspectives, and as a result, provoked unpleasant interactions for some of the attendees. Although, most of those present were Russian delegates and press representatives. I have a feeling I must have been the only Georgian in the room. Not easy, not easy at all.

And that raises one very last observation: a few months ago before the conflict had erupted, there really was no difference whether you were a Georgian correspondent, a Russian one or a Pakistani journalist – we were all a part of the same press corp covering the same organization with equal rights and mutual sympathy for each other.

Today, for the first time after over 2 years spent at the UN, I realized that the world is once again on the verge of going backwards – what happened to the much anticipated democracy and globalization?

Sadly, I’m wondering if it’s all a dream and not our very own reality. Couldn’t get this thought out of my mind as I walked out of the UN building and onto 1st Ave, strolling down the street on my way to a music-oriented meeting – at last!! 🙂

Perhaps the following generations will find themselves co-existing in a multi-colored, international society? Probably not for a long time…unless we realize the urgency of overcoming our nationalistic egos and personal as well as political power-struggles.

Maybe only then we will see what’s beyond the war…


Read Full Post »