Sunday, September 27, 2009

UN General Assembly 2009

For the third year in a row, I perched myself at 46th and 1st Avenue and watched the procession of world leaders and their delegates going in and out of United Nations General Assembly meeting.

Its hard to describe what a wonderful international experience this is. So many faces from so many nations all there rushing by. So many colors, so many outfits. Its impossible to figure out where everyone is from, but here they are all together talking, sharing, venting (I guess that is what Qadaffi was doing), and trying to find solutions to the world's issues.

My leader highlights were the Latin American trifecta: Evo Morales, President of Bolivia who I have seen for 3 years in a row, Lula de Silva, President of Brazil, and Hugo Chavez, president of Venezuela, and general rabble rouser, who was walking with a gigantic delegation and making a real show. I also saw diplomats including Richard Holbrooke and Nobel Peace Prize winner Wangari Maathai from Kenya TWICE!
Lastly the protests that happen to in Dag Hammarskjold Plaza always make a splash. This year the two highlights were one welcoming Qadaffi with signs saying things like "Long Live the King of Africa" and a HUGE Hasidic Jewish rally protesting the existence of the secular Jewish state of Israel and the poor treatment religious Jews get there. (This was particularly interesting to me after my trip this summer to Israel.)

All and all I am always proud that my city can host an amazing event like this in a peaceful way. What a privilege it is that the world comes to us! People are allowed to express their opinions. Police seem friendly, professional, and easy going in a very NY way. It gives me another reminder of what an incredible place NY is and of the privileges I have as an American.

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