21 June 2012

The United Nations - Fighting for World Peace

The United Nations play a huge part in fighting humanitarian issues across the world, using their peacekeepers to restore calm in places like Palestine and Libya. I decided to take an unplanned trip to the United Nations Headquarters in New York to see for myself what Ban-ki Moon and his colleagues are doing to make the world more peaceful. Somehow I do not think I'll forget this day of sightseeing in a hurry! I think we all need to do something to help!

Sitting on the banks of the East River the Headquarters of the United Nations stands proud with a procession of flags flying for each nation that plays a part in this non-for-profit organisation. Generally speaking its not the most traditional pick for visiting during a holiday or in my case a day off. I was going through another stressful time at work and my Brit lads had finished working at Hallmark so I needed something to take my mind away from things. I found that the security at the Headquarters mirrored the procedures at any international airport. Baggage screening and body scanners checked each visitor, there was even a whole different entrance for visitors to enter due to the nature of the UN's operation, no person could enter without their purpose of visit defined.

I look back and think to a time where I tried to write a series of short stories about a group of peacekeepers who are called the 'Bedazzlers' these strong women are sisters and fight peacefully with power of their spirituality. Visiting the United Nations Headquarters made me think that if I was talking about real life 'Bedazzlers' what would they be like? Eh! They would be glamazons! I may have transitioned my writing into my Blogs, but I shall revisit the lives of the heroine I created one afternoon when I have nothing better to do. Belisha and her girls were watching over me, I'm sure I saw one glamourous employee who could of been a Bedazzler?

I was all cleared to enter the visitors centre, so I took some time to view the exhibits on display, most of which could be described as thought provoking and somewhat sobering. Its not difficult to work-out that our world has troubles that affect people in the poorest corners of the globe, to see the facts in large print was quite an eye-opener to say the least. I really found the exhibits really quite something that made me take stock of my sheltered and trouble-free life because the world isn't such a happy place for lots of people in other continents. The amount of tourists capturing photos on their cameras almost seemed disrespectful because their manner was just so rude and quite inconsiderate comparing to what issues that were on display. Such issues like poverty, terrorism and past atrocities such as the Holocaust were highlighted for visitors to see as a reminder. I think you would agree that these sensitive issues deserve a little bit more respect. I know that I conducted my behaviour in a respectful manner and took my photos with a level of knowledge that they would be used appropriately for this blog publication.

My wait was finally over as the audio tour which, I booked the previous day was about to begin. As shown in the picture captured to the left, I got the chance to sit in the assembly room that's used for debates and conferences to solves global humanitarian issues. Unfortunately, I didn't see the United Kingdom's desk but Turkey's was in clear view so all was not lost. It wasn't exactly Times Square but I want to believe that I'm quite a cultured soul with an appreciation for things that are a little deeper than the norm. This value for money tour lasted just over one hour, showing me various visuals and displays that showed hope for the future. Such issues like sending school boxes to remote places around the world to ensure children are literate showed that the United Nations has a clear and concise plan to help specific problems facing a large magnitude of people. Listening to some of the terrible things that have now been stopped by the United Nations with the help of their peacekeepers was great to witness.

As my afternoon drew to a close I sort of knew that I would have visited a place like this, one could say the outcome was nothing but positive. From the fluttering flags to the ever so predictable gift shop it was a pleasure to have seen the things that were on offer that day. In actual fact the Headquarters of the United Nations is currently undergoing a major overhaul, captured to the right is a photo of the ongoing construction work. I loved that some of the cement mixers were from Portuguese contractors, I live in an area that's highly populated with Portuguese and Brazilian people so it was nice to see that. Hopefully a new chapter for the buildings of the Headquarters could well mean that more positive movements can be accomplished. New York City has a lot to offer in terms of tourist attractions and things to see but if the usual haunts like Times Square are passe to you, I would strongly recommend choosing this establishment. Looking back at my political day out I would wholeheartedly say that a visit to the United Nations Headquarters is well worth it. It might have took me an age to find this place but I suppose nothing comes easy, plus I can be dreadful with directions sometimes and I say that I work in the travel industry?!

Let's All Wish For World Peace ! ! !

Joseph Harrison

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