I was delighted, yesterday to stumble across Ban Ki-Moon striding purposefully around in the bowels of the United Nations Head Quarters in New York. I was, at the time, bossing around a handful of Senior Public Information officials, ushering them back into a conference room to listen to my words of wisdom on strategic communications. I nearly dragged him inside to say a few words, as I already knew he would loom large in today’s weblog, but he looked busy, so I let him be on his way.
By chance, I was in the same city as the UN Secretary General a few days ago, when he stood on the roof of BBC Broadcasting House in London and dedicated a memorial to journalists who have been killed while carrying out their work. When he commented that it was "a tribute to all those who have sacrificed their lives so that the rest of us could be informed", I felt that this didn’t quite go far enough. Having been amongst the worlds most courageous journalists at a conference in Bonn a few weeks ago, I felt it was a little bland. One delegate had described journalists as the “spokespeople for those who sufferer human rights abuses”, and for many such journalists it is about a lot more than informing people, it is about revealing atrocities and shedding light on unspoken truths and yes, even changing things. Informing sounds too passive – these are dynamic and driven people.
This week I have the privilege to be working with another bunch of dynamic and driven people – the peacekeepers. Whilst journalists may be motivated by a quest for the truth, the group I am working with (and I hope they won’t mind me saying this) are generally motivated by a quest for peace. A nobler cause I know not. I am sure the Secretary General pays due homage to his people, however I would like this weblog to be dedicated to those who have lost their lives in the quest for peace, and for those who continue to work in such difficult circumstances (and some, ironically, like my friend from Sierra Leone with difficult journalists!). If I could commission an appropriately sized beam of light like the one on the roof of the BBC I would, but as I left the UN building yesterday evening (feeling more than slightly jet-lagged) I was greeted by a giant rainbow hammering its promise of gold across the East River and onto the Queensboro Bridge – a fitting memorial if ever I saw one.
Photo Credit: Flickr User from a second story