Along the Tracks

Tuesday, April 12, 2005

A job interview at the UN

From Saturday's Northwest Signal:

The office was huge. An exquisite Tiffany lamp shone in amber on the deep red mahogany desk, as large as a Mercedes and worth twice as much.

“Welcome, welcome, my boy,” said the man seated behind the desk as he looked up from a copy of Tea Connoisseur magazine.

“Please, have a seat.”

I strode to the beautifully spun wicker chair, and settled comfortably on the deep cushions.

“Real goose down, plucked from the majestic black birds they raise along the Nile,” the man said. “Their honk is like a baby’s cry.”

“Fascinating,” I responded.

“Now, let us see. You would like a position with our international peacekeeping teams, is that correct?”

“Yes, Mr. Secretary.”

“Perhaps we could find a good fit for you. Could you answer a few questions?”


“Are you good with numbers?” he asked.

“Well, um, well ...” I stuttered a bit, “I can do basic math. I’m good with a calculator.”

“That should be fine. The key is to never write the numbers down - at least not the real ones. As long you fill in all the official United Nations forms, it really doesn’t matter what the actual numbers are.”

“Well, I guess that sounds easy,” I responded with some discomfort.

“Some of the people we need to work with in these places are rather unsavory,” he continued, then smiled. “That won’t be a problem, will it?”

“No, sir. I will form relationships with whoever can help get the job done.”

“Wonderful! There are several characters who can deposit money directly into secret bank accounts of, how should I put it, ‘friends,’ for supposed services rendered to the mission, but these men may pose some publicity problems, should their names come forward. You can keep them confidential, right?”

“I suppose that may be acceptable if it furthers the goals -”

“Absolutely! Our goals are the same: To become wealthy and powerful. These men can help.”
I objected.

“Those aren’t exactly the goals I was -”

“Pishposh, minor details,” the man interrupted as he eased out of his chair, stood and circled to the front of his desk. He sat back against the wood.

“Now, what kinds do you like?”

I sat silent momentarily, trying to divine the subject of his query.

“Come now, my boy, you can be honest with me,” he purred. “Do you like them dark? Maybe you prefer Europeans, like in the Balkans. Or perhaps Arabs. We also have many Asian opportunities. Does that excite you?”

“Sir, I’m not quite sure what you are suggesting,” I finally admitted with trepidation.

“Oh, perhaps you prefer the men. Or children. It doesn’t matter. We can find a position for you where the perks of the job will keep you satisfied all day - and all night!”

“Why, sir, I object to this suggestion! I would never take advantage of those under my watch!” I sternly stated as I stood.

“Of course not, my boy! Do not be offended. We do not take advantage of anyone,” he attempted to reassure.

“We pay them the going local rate. Fortunately, in most of these devastated countries, the going rate is a pittance!” he laughed as he leaned back.

“I will not be a party to abuse or corruption,” I said flatly.

“None of us will, if we play our cards carefully,” the man said. He placed his hand on my shoulder and firmly pressed me back into the chair.

“My boy, you seem to have some misconceptions about the ways of the world,” the man lectured. “The United Nations is a prestigious organization with challenges far beyond the capabilities of its resources. In such a situation, the best we can do is improve the living standard for those few people within our scope of influence. Those people are United Nations administrators.”

“But what about justice?” I asked. “What about the innocent? What about peace?”

“What can be more just than giving our dedicated world servants some of the good things in life?” he asked without a hint of sarcasm. “Who is more innocent than one who gives his best years to the internationalist cause? What is more peaceful than the United Nations Organization itself?”

“But sir!” I objected one last time as I stood, ready to leave. “There are people who need protection!”

“That, my boy, is our primary purpose,” he responded with confidence. “And we will provide that protection to our people at all costs - even if it requires extortion and embezzlement, even if it requires solicitation and abuse - even if it requires the deaths of thousands!”

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