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Samantha Power „The Envoy

Ein unaufgeregt erzählter Krimi. Nüchtern und spannend. Die Rekonstruktion einer Nachricht, die jeder erinnert - die Ermordung des UN-Gesandten im Irak -, hier wird sie als Erzählung zum Leben erweckt.  Die Reportage ist ein Auszug aus Powers soeben erschienenem Buch Chasing the Flame: Sergio Vieira de Mello and the Fight to Save the World".

Endlos lang ist das Stück, der New Yorker eben. Aber ich habe es gern bis zum Ende gelesen. Auch, weil unter dem Bett die Bombe tickt. Von Anfang an weiß man, dass es schlecht ausgehen wird. Der Titanic-Effekt.

Aufgebaut ist die Erzählung strikt chronologisch, sie beginnt mit dem Einmarsch der US-Truppen in Bagad und endet mit dem Attentat auf den UN-Gesandten Sergio Vieira de Mello. Dazwischen: Detallierte Schilderungen eines absurden Machtspiels, zwischen der UN, den Amerikanern, den Irakern. Große Politik, die Geschichte eines Scheiterns. Die Gewalt nimmt zu, die Tragödie ihren Lauf, das Büro des Gesandten ist kaum geschützt:

"Security at the Canal was dearly inadequate. Members of Vieira de Mello`s ninemember "close protection team" were given only 9-mm. pistols. Seven weeks after Chergui pleaded with New York for submachine guns, they arrived-handme-downs that had been used by U.N. peacekeeping forces in Bosnia. Three of the seven guns were useless, lacking the pins required in order to fire. Meanwhile, the U.N.`s internal threat assessments grew darker."

Dann das Bomben-Attentat. Die Explosion. Gerade hier merkt man, wie minutiös, wie besessen die Autorin recherchiert und noch Dialoge rekonstruiert hat. De Mello ist eingeklemmt unter den Trümmern seines Büros:

"A rescue worker asked Vieira de Mello whether he could move his toes. He said yes. "How about your fingers?" He could. "What day of the week is it?" "Tuesday," he answered. "Is Carolina O.K.?" Larriera, who had heard that Vieira de Mello was still alive, climbed the rubble and poked her head inside a gap. "Sergio, are you there? It`s me," she said, in Spanish. "Carolina, I am so happy... you are O.K.," he answered. "My legs, they are hurting. Carolina, please help me." She replied, "Be still, my love. I am going to get you out of here." Realizing that a more industrial rescue effort was needed, she told him that she had to leave to get help. "I am coming back very soon," she said. However, after she left the Canal, U.S. soldiers established a cordon around the crime scene, and she was prevented from returning to his side.

Ninety minutes after the blast, two Iraqi fire engines pulled into the Canal complex. But critical rescue implementssledgehammers, ladders, Sheetrock pullers, crowbars, rappelling rope, and backboards to transport the injured-were missing. "Where the hell is everything?" a U.S. captain raged. The Iraqi driver shrugged. "Ali Baba," he said, using the Iraqi slang for thief. Looters had taken the fire department`s equipment."


Ariel Hauptmeier

The Envoy

The United Nations’ doomed mission to Iraq.

On April 9, 2003, when a U.S. Marine tank helped topple the towering statue of Saddam Hussein in Baghdad`s Firdos Square, many officials at the headquarters of the United Nations, in New York, averted their eyes from the celebratory images unfolding on CNN. A few days later, when a wide-shot photograph revealed that relatively few Iraqis had participated in the statue demolition, U.N. employees rapidly disseminated the image through e-mail. "We didn`t wish bad things for the Iraqis," a U.N. official recalls. "But we were terrified that if the Bush Administration got away with walking all over international law it would jeopardize everything we stood for."

The Security Council had withheld support for the invasion, and Secretary-General Kofi Annan and U.N. diplomats had warned of the human suffering that it would cause; they were chastened by the ease with which the American-led Coalition had reached Baghdad, and by the relative bloodlessness of the battle. A swift victory, U.N. officials worried, would establish a dangerous precedent, emboldening member states to go to war even in the face of firm international opposition. Annan, speaking with colleagues, lamented the possibly irreparable loss of U.N. relevance.

French, German, and Russian diplomats cared less about the U.N. charter than about their own national interests. Having opposed the war, these countries had severely strained relations with Washington, and the diplomats feared the economic and political consequences. On May 22nd, the same countries on the Security Council which had refused to condone the invasion ahead of time joined the United States in voting for a resolution giving retroactive legitimacy to the occupation. These countries were eager to signal their support for a stable, democratic Iraq; to insure that they were not shut out of economic opportunities there; and to force the Americans to acknowledge that, under international law, they were formal occupiers, not "liberators." They also wanted to try to give the U.N.-which they trusted more than the Americans-a significant role in shaping the new Iraq.



Samantha Power

Samantha Power, Jahrgang 1970, ist Politik-Professorin an der Harvard- Universität und war außenpolitische Beraterin von Senator Barack Obama. Sie begann ihre Karriere als Journalistin. Ihr Buch "A Problem from Hell: America and the Age of Genocide" gewann 2003 den Pulitzer Prize in der Kategorie General Non-Fiction.
Samantha Power: The Envoy (pdf)

erschienen in:
New Yorker,
am 15.01.2008



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