I understand there was some concern at the United Nations recently. The Security Council met in front of TV cameras to discuss these concerns, serious enough to prevent tea ladies doing their round, but for Dillis, an enterprising Filipina, who pushed in and circulated with her basket around the neck.
The crisis was about stuff, you know, and that thing (I read in the papers). The Syrian ambassador observed to his American “colleague” Negroponte that the American attitude in this case was “irregular” and “possibly unhelpful” (“I'd wring your neck if you were in my prison cell and electro-prod you into saying 'yees…yees'?”, he was thinking).
The disagreement I think concerned an Israeli peace initiative to bulldoze Palestinian homes and build a shopping mall for Jewish settlers from Kiev. The Americans were backing this because, they said, the settlers had expressed a legitimate, entirely peaceful desire for a mall with a Dunkin Donut kiosk, and also a golf course and big pizza place.
“Negloponte you eat yu donut, and I give yu anudda one with jam,” Dillis interjects. She is incensed by the doughnut and its irrepressible, rotund confidence. It seems to smile at you, come what may.
She used to feed them to pigeons in the Philippines before Imelda Marcos hit her with a shoe. That's when she left the “rand of tylanny” to seek her fortune in evil America. (Imelda is back however, a senator, and while she tearfully acknowledges 'certain excesses' in her wardrobe, she insists, 'I ruvv de Firipino peepor'.)
Dillis recently asked the UN if she might reshuffle her basket contents: less doughnuts, more fizzy. “Nein, zet iss not possible vidout approval of French ambassador,” she was told by Haakon Gaagarland, the permanent undersecretary at the UN Secretariat for catering and hygiene.
The point is, the United Nations is important. It represents the hopes and aspirations of countless black, brown and yellow diplomats, bureaucrats, kleptocrats, their speech writers, translators, counsellors and Dillis.
It is above all a legitimating body. You can't just go to war, say, unless France, Russia and Syria approve (“Syria, land of biscuits” is my new, serious, song). These beautiful people detest war and the violation of international law, harmony and peace. Just don't get onto the subject of domestic law, harmony and peace or “I'll smash yar faacking face ya liddle rat”, as the Syrian tourism and hospitality minister, Halim “Basher” Falafel murmured to me at a party once.
These states have a right to be indignant at America marching around, slapping democracy in people's faces. Who wants it, who needs it? The French are now left with eight warehouses full of Moulinex rice cookers, cheese graters and nuclear reactor parts.
A recent, I understand genuine, recording of a French export hack and Saddam revealed this conversation:
“Yu like ziss rice Kooker, excellence?”
“Can it kill?” asks Saddam.
“It is for ze rice dish mainly, but maybe ve can adapt it if you buy too-touzand.”
I once listened to a fascinating debate on BBC radio. A British historian declared in his “old-world” accent that he would not holiday in Pakistan because it mistreated various minorities, like women for example, and there was no democracy (what a racist, right?). But the bleeding-heart liberal urged patience with a country like Pakistan, struggling as it was with the “nation-building” process (“So get a move on, it's not a post office queue.”)
We should not impose terrible Western values like “equality before the law” or “no discrimination”, which we know are nothing but colonialism in disguise. We should holiday there, buy their cheap machine rugs, and wait another century before they shave and help clean the house instead of running out like monkeys, throwing bombs and voting for the Taliban.
Aside a battery of hot missiles, Pakistan has a seat at the United Nations, where with pals Syria, Libya, North Korea and Zimbabwe (Axis of Local Louts), they can vote resolutions, issue notes, statements, communiqués, to better the lot of their happy (or else!) citizens, and just have fun for goodness' sake (lighten up).
(Just to say, the characters or states mentioned here have no relation to real persons or states, being entirely imaginary or whatever).
And what of Dillis? Quo vadis Dillis? Last night she thinks the last jam doughnut talked to her. “Dillis, Dillis,” it said, “you should have been a composer.”