…at least as far as I am concerned, is that he’s simply too controversial for something like UNESCO.
The local newspapers, according to some Egyptian bloggers, are calling Hosni’s loss the product of an Israeli/American conspiracy. For sure some Jews and Americans opposed Hosni’s nomination. Elie Wiesel said today that the UN organization “escaped disaster.” And the Anti-Defamation League had nothing good to say about Hosni. They resented his comment about burning books and that’s, you know, really not unreasonable.
But the truth is there wasn’t even that much pressure from the US or the Israelis over Hosni. If the United States really wanted to pull the plug on his candidacy, they surely could have. The US is, as far as I know, the biggest donor to UNESCO. If they wanted to make an issue out of this it would have been a lot less ugly.
Meanwhile, there are other good reasons to oppose Hosni’s nomination. I read that he is the longest serving minister in the Egyptian government. He’s a toady, responsible for banning books and censoring art. Reporters Without Borders came out against his nomination because he has sat by (in fact presided over) the oppression of journalists.
Zenobia, an Egyptian blogger, has her own reasons for opposing Hosni. She writes:
Let him cry , let him whine like a lady ; already I am waiting for him to act like a man and resign as he promised !!
I dedicate his defeat to the soul of those people who were burned alive in Bani Sawif theatre, to all those monuments stolen from Egypt in the past 22 years where as he was busy in his arts !! To all those historical palaces and houses destroyed in Egypt in the past 22 years !! To all those rare paintings stolen from Egypt !! To all those museums neglected and to the citizens of Egypt whose public money was wasted and stolen in the ministry of culture in the past 22 years.
Do Not make your hate to Zionism and Israel mislead you , Do not make him a hero, he got what he deserved.
But is that what kept Farouk Hosni from the top job at UNESCO? Did the voters feel so strongly that Hosni is an oppressor of free speech? Or was it because of the bad job he did as the culture minister of Egypt? Did he get what he deserved?
No, unfortunately that’s not really why he lost either. They are all good objections to rewarding Farouk Hosni, but I doubt that any sincere dedication to freedom inspired UNESCO’s voters.
It was a combination of the two, really, without being either one. He was just too controversial. UNESCO is not–should not be–about controversy. As far as the UN goes, it should be quiet, a place where country’s can just sit and smile, talk about art , and ignore non-proliferation and climate change. The fact that Hosni aroused any controversy at all was a good enough reason to keep him from the job.
(I’m back from Eid vacation.)