From kicks to bombs: the most controversial speeches at UNGA, World News
One of the main parts of the United Nations, the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) is presented as a forum of equal representation. It is also widely known as the main chamber of debate of the United Nations (UN).
The UNGA debates are one of the world’s most anticipated debates that take place in the United States each year. Last year, for the first time ever, world leaders were unable to meet face to face to discuss important issues due to the coronavirus pandemic.
However, this is not the only first that has occurred in the UNGA. Over the years, there have been several instances where people have left their seats for a standing ovation… or sometimes to leave the room in anger. Speeches, well delivered by experts and world leaders, can make or break relationships, shed light and justice on important matters, and hope for peaceful mediation of disputes between governments and rulers.
Here are five of the most memorable speeches and their impact:
VK Krishna Menon
Indian UN envoy Krishna Menon is known in UNGA history for delivering the longest speech in UN Security Council history. In 1957, speaking on the Kashmir question, Menon began his speech in a loud and powerful manner which was much appreciated.
“The Security Council views this as a dispute. This is not a dispute over territory. There is only one problem in front of you… this problem is the problem of aggression, ”he boldly declared.
Menon underlined point by point and reiterated India’s position on the Kashmir issue. However, his speech lasted eight long hours. So much so that the envoy also collapsed from exhaustion and had to be rushed to hospital for a proper examination.
However, that didn’t stop him. Menon then returned to the debate room and resumed his speech, as a doctor accompanied him to ensure Menon’s blood pressure remained under control.
The former Prime Minister of the Soviet Union made history in UNGA speeches by his actions, not his words.
In 1960, Khrushchev was indignant when the head of the Philippine delegation Lorenzo Sumulong spoke of “the peoples of Eastern Europe and elsewhere who were deprived of the free exercise of their civil and political rights and who were swallowed up, so to speak, by the Soviet Union “.
This statement angered the Soviet leader, who then called Sumulong a “moron, stooge and lackeys”. after removing it from the spotlight.
The debate heated up and the room erupted into murmurs. Khrushchev continued to make his point and began to bang his fist on the podium to calm the room down, but when all failed, at one point, according to several reports (which are not supported by WION), the Soviet leader took off his shoe and hit him on his podium.
Even in his memoirs, Khrushchev made mention of the incident, but to this day there has been no conclusion as to whether or not the account is true to its events.
However, Khrushchev’s gesture of anger made history and became a famous gesture of heated conversations.
Former Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez stood out when he compared then-US President George W Bush to Satan.
“The devil came here yesterday, and it still smells of sulfur,” Chavez said. “Right here! And it still smells of sulfur today. Yesterday, ladies and gentlemen, from this rostrum the President of the United States, the gentleman I call the devil came here, speaking as if he possessed the world.”
Chavez has been openly against the United States since the start of his tenure and he made sure to repeat it in front of the world at the UNGA. The Venezuelan theater leader took the stage a day after Bush addressed the assembly and compared POTUS and its actions to Satan.
The incident took place in 2006 and Chavez referred to his comment from 2009, when Barack Obama came to power. Putting himself in the limelight again, Chavez said it “doesn’t smell of sulfur anymore” now that Obama is the POTUS.
Popularly known as Colonel Gaddafi, the Libyan leader made his UNGA debut in 2009. Gaddafi had been in power for nearly 40 years but had not even addressed the assembly once.
However, in 2009, the revolutionary decided to make up for all the lost time and gave a 100 minute speech where everyone was shocked and surprised, among other emotions.
In his famous 100-minute speech, Gaddafi raised questions about several issues such as poverty, injustice, racism and more. He also accused the United States of developing the deadly swine flu for personal gain and even questioned the official records of the assassination of John F. Kennedy, the 35th President of the United States.
He hit the ceiling when he attacked the United Nations, comparing it to the notorious and infamous terrorist organization, al-Qaeda. “It shouldn’t be called a security council, it should be called a terrorism council,” the Libyan leader said.
The name of the former Israeli leader goes down in UNGA history as a leader who used one of the assembly’s most controversial virtual aids / props.
In 2012, Netanyahu stepped onto the podium to convince world leaders that Iran was on the verge of developing a nuclear weapon. In an effort to make his point of view clear to the leadership, the controversial Israeli leader pulled out a whiteboard that featured a cartoon-style sparkling bomb illustration. This bomb was divided into three parts: 70%, 90% and the “final phase”. Netanyahu, with a red mark in the drawing, claimed that Iran was 90 percent ready with nuclear weapons.
However, Tehran has always refuted Netanyahu’s claims and has repeatedly stated that it has never developed a nuclear weapon.