Weekly insights into our crazy world.

Thursday, August 20, 2015



October 9th, 1952 was a glorious day for World Peace. The grand opening of the United Nations complex occurred on the East River in New York City. Colorful flags, alphabetically representing each of the 165 member-states gave way to the beautiful Dag Hammarskjöld Plaza. Here, proud fountains greeted visitors to the Grand Assembly Room and the massive 39-story Secretariat Tower. Diplomats, Royalty, Presidents and Prime Ministers alike crowded into the square for the Ribbon Cutting.

A lot has changed in the 63 years since. The once proud square is now filled with different type of people: The Homeless. Dozens of displaced folks now occupy the park benches. They bathe in the same fountain. "It's very shocking to see." noted Dogu Gnahore, the Ivory Coast UN ambassador. This from a nation whose GNP ranks 182nd out of 194 members. "We have homelessness in the Gambia" Alieu Samba noted. "But at least the social network is strong there and people are not as desperate."

You're asking: Why doesn't NYPD just go in there and kick the bums out? Well, it's not that simple. Back in the 1940's billionaire/philanthropist Nelson Rockefeller donated the land and shelled out the $9 million to build the UN. Therefore, the land doesn't belong him, nor to the City of New York...or even the USA. It belongs to the UN. This makes the United Nations technically responsible for the upkeep of the plaza and neighboring Robert Moses Playground. Unfortunately, both have fallen into gross neglect. Simply put, no legal body truly oversees the area.

Perhaps it's time to look outside the box. We here at the DUNER BLOG propose closing the ugly concrete rectangle and moving the United Nations to a new location. The UN already owns three other 'extraterritorial areas' in other countries: Geneva, Switzerland (Very Neutral), Vienna, Austria (Very Formal) and Nairobi, Kenya (Two out of three ain't bad!). We think the best option is Montreal. They made an offer in 2007 that included a fantastic, futuristic building on some docklands on the Saint Laurence River.

Let's face it. The once Grand Plaza in front of the Headquarters of the United World Nations is now teeming with homeless folks. This is a clear sign that New York really doesn't care anymore. It never made sense to have the governing body in the same nation that has the world's most powerful military. Hostile countries like Iran and North Korea don't even go to the meetings as a result. This means the most dangerous nations are not even present at the most important discussions. It's time for a change!

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