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Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Last chance to defeat Farouk Hosny

The fourth-round ballot for Director General of UNESCO was a 29-29 tie on Monday night, with the final ballot to be taken Tuesday evening. If no decision is reached, the question will be referred to the General Assembly, where it is believed that Farouk Hosny (pictured), the former Egyptian culture minister who once said he would burn any Israeli book in the Alexandria library, would hold an advantage over Irina Bokova, the Bulgarian ambassador to the agency. Unsurprisingly, the game has been rather dirty.
The original field of nine candidates has been slowly thinned, with Ms. Bokova, who comes from a family that was prominent in the old Communist government, becoming the alternative to Mr. Hosny, 71, who has been Egypt’s culture minister for 22 years.

President Hosni Mubarak of Egypt has pressed hard for his candidate, who had hoped to win with 30 votes in the first round.

But some of the countries that had pledged to Mr. Mubarak to vote for Mr. Hosny — like France, Italy and even Israel — have not felt obliged to keep that commitment in later rounds.

Some American Jewish organizations and civil libertarians have fiercely opposed Mr. Hosny.

In the Egyptian context he is considered liberal, but last year, in a parliamentary debate, defending himself against charges that he was soft on Israel, he said he would personally burn any Israeli book found in the Alexandria library, Egypt’s most important.

Other charges have surfaced. Mr. Hosny has been accused of keeping restrictions on Egypt’s carefully edited press and censoring some films and books, while Unesco is supposed to defend press freedom.

Elaph.com, an Arabic-language Web site, published Saturday what it said were private admissions by Mr. Hosny that when he was the Egyptian cultural attaché in Rome, he helped to organize the escape from Italy in 1985 of the hijackers of the Italian cruise ship Achille Lauro. In that episode, a retired American Jewish tourist in a wheelchair was shot and pushed into the sea, horrifying much of the world.
I am still hoping Mr. Hosny will be defeated Tuesday night. Anyone who was involved in the Achille Lauro hijacking has no place holding a prominent position in the international community.


At 10:05 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I so much want Hosny to win.

It's only fitting that such human garbage have a "distinguished" position at the UN.

At 10:16 PM, Blogger Andre (Canada) said...

He could be a child rapist. He could be an arsonist. He could be a murder. As long as he is anti-Israel, he wins.
Pure and simple.

At 10:22 PM, Blogger NormanF said...

And Hosny is unsuitable for the UNESCO cultural job because he's in favor of censorship and restrictions on freedom of expression. He wielded a heavy hand over Egyptian culture during his tenure as that country's Culture Minister.

At 11:21 PM, Blogger NormanF said...

The UN is indeed full of human garbage. Why Israel insists on remaining in it - I will never understand. Just what does Israel see in a guy who would burn Israeli books if it was up to him. Heinrich Heine warned us that those who burn books, burn people. In that he was prescient.

Israel has no business remaining in the UN, especially with the likes of Hosny. I rest my case.


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