Thursday, August 11, 2005

Textual Variants at ASEAN

 
After their recent meeting in Laos, the ASEAN foreign ministers issued a Joint Communiqué (via the Vietnam News Agency):
    1. We, the Foreign Ministers of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), met formally on 26 July 2005 in Vientiane, Lao People’s Democratic Republic (Lao PDR), for the first time since the Vientiane Action Programme (VAP), the successor to the Ha Noi Plan of Action (HPA); the ASEAN Security Community (ASC) Plan of Action; and the ASEAN Socio-Cultural Community (ASCC) Plan of Action were adopted at the 10th ASEAN Summit in November 2004 in Vientiane. It was also the first time that Lao PDR hosted our regular annual meeting where we reviewed regional and international political, security, and economic developments, and intra and extra-ASEAN cooperation, including cooperation with our Dialogue Partners as well as wide- ranging issues as we move towards the establishment of an ASEAN Community in 2020 as envisioned in the Declaration of ASEAN Concord II (Bali Concord II) adopted in October 2003 in Bali, Indonesia.
And so it goes, with 94 more numbered items of diplospeak boilerplate. But an alert and dedicated reader might find his way to the “Counter-Terrorism” section and item #20:
    20. We reiterated our strong condemnation of all acts of terrorism in all its forms and manifestations and emphasised the need to address the root causes of terrorism. We continue to reject any attempt to associate terrorism with any race, region, nationality or ethnic group. In this context, we are fully committed to enhance our cooperative efforts to combat international terrorism at national, regional, and international levels. We looked forward to continuing our determination to enhance coordination and cooperation with the international community in combating international terrorism. We believe this will ensure peace and stability, create an environment conducive to our efforts to attain sustainable development, progress and prosperity in ASEAN. We also reaffirmed that the fight against terrorism should be conducted in accordance with our obligations under international law and in respect of sovereignty, territorial integrity and the principle of non-interference in the internal affairs of other states.
Let’s engage in a little counter-terrorism fisking here.

…strong condemnation of all acts of terrorism in all its forms and manifestations…

This is the little door that usually opens into “the terrorism practiced by the Zionist entity on our Palestinian brothers” routine. It is also popular for introducing “state terrorism as practiced by America”.

… need to address the root causes of terrorism.

Ah, yes, we know this one. Time to hand out the Yankee dollars to those poor starving Saudis; otherwise they might blow themselves up in Sydney or Taipei.

We continue to reject any attempt to associate terrorism with any race, region, nationality or ethnic group.

Why would that be? Is there some race, region, nationality, or ethnic group that predominantly commits terrorism is the 21st century?And if you disregard that group, is there any terrorism being committed in the world? Oh, yes, those vicious Norwegian Lutheran suicide bombers…

We believe this will ensure peace and stability, create an environment conducive to our efforts to attain sustainable development, progress and prosperity in ASEAN.

“Sustainable development” is a popular code-phrase for burdening private enterprise with elaborate environmental regulation and shaking down corporations so that they cut the green NGOs in on a slice of the pie. Cue the UN one-world music…

But the most interesting thing about this is a textual variant. The full communiqué excerpted above is from the Vietnam News Agency, but excerpts posted in other sources differ on the wording. The Kazakh Information Agency and the Maylaysian National News Agency both agree that
    “several of the ministers emphasised the importance of avoiding the identification of terrorism with any particular religion or ethnic group or nationality.” [emphasis added]
What religion might that be? Perhaps it is The Religion That Must Not Be Named. Presumably also The Religion of Peace.

5 comments:

airforcewife said...

Why, when there is talk of addressing "root causes", does no one ever mention that so many of the worst offenders come from relatively middle or upper class roots? Seems to me that rather than using "root cause" as a reason for us to fork over more money for nothing in return, we might want to cut them off totally, as unearned privilege seems to be a "root cause" of it's own.

Newvictorian said...

Baron, I can only express my admiration for a person who is such a close reader of texts. As one who in his career has been responsible for reading variant G of a 200-page legislative bill, I don't think I could have made it through the whole thing. "Alert and dedicated reader," indeed!

itslex71 said...

"We continue to reject any attempt to associate terrorism with any race, region, nationality or ethnic group."

Anyone else notice that the word religion is missing from this statement?

Baron Bodissey said...

That's what I was looking at -- it looks like the "li" was left out of "Religion" in the communique, so as to make it "region". I don't know if it was accidental or not -- very peculiar.

Wild Bill said...

Just another example of how nuance can render something null and void.. Completely useless.. 200 hundred pages of utter nonsense, that resolves nothing, defines nothing, and has absolutely no excuse for its existence.. All it does do is acknowledge that, yes, there is terrorism, and that they dont have any earthly idea what to do about it, and that if possible, they will blame someone else, other than the actual guilty parties responsible for it.. Seems as tho the U.N. is a very effective teacher, is it not ??