23 October, 2011

UN (FAO) bends with the wind to please those that have the dollars- Part I

As a result of the experience I gained in Somalia as project manager training Somali nomads in animal health care I was asked by the FAO-UN (1991) to write a training manual for animal health care workers. FAO wanted to produce a manual, similar to the WHO’s Primary Health Care Worker, that covered all aspects of the care and reproduction of domestic animals that could be used in developing countries throughout the world.
The illustrated, A4 size manual, consisting of over 300 illustrated pages with sections for the trainee to make notes, was published in 1995, the 50th anniversary of the formation of FAO, and the front cover carried the green medal emblem denoting that the manual had been published to mark the organisation’s 50th anniversary. The book was published in the four languages used by FAO namely English, French, Arabic and Spanish but my name, as the author of the manual, did not appear on the second page as was normal with FAO publications but was to be found on the preface (see attached).
This lack of prominence given to my name as the author was done as at that time FAO was negotiating for the Oil for Food program in Iraq, worth US$250 million, and it was known that I did not support the Iraqi government. Indeed at one point it was decided not to put my name on the book at all but then the decision was made to put my name alongside that of the illustrator so belittling its importance.
In 1996 I was transferred from Somalia to FAO’s Regional Office in Cairo as the Officer for Animal Health and Production for the Middle East and North Africa. The training manual was in use throughout the third world and FAO now agreed to publish it in Somali and Persian. I asked that it was also translated into Kurdish but my request was refused as again FAO did not want to do anything that would annoy Saddam’s regime. This decision, and the relegation of my name as author to the bottom of the preface, was a form of prejudice and harassment.
I was in Somalia from 1988 to 1996 and my work for FAO lead to me reaching the Director scale and I became the FAO Representative to Somalia for the UN. I was based in Mogadishu during almost 6 years of the civil war and became accustomed to living in the threatening and unstable situation while carrying out my work for FAO. The other UN agencies were present in Mogadishu too and I worked with many staff from the different agencies. It was known that if people worked for these other UN agencies and stayed for four months or more in Mogadishu they would be promoted by one or two grades in appreciation for working in such conditions and sent elsewhere. That did not happen to me.
I was sent to the FAO regional Office in Cairo and downgraded to P4, step 15, which was equivalent to taking 15 years of service from my employment record. At the time FAO was overly eager to get the Oil for Food contract and would do anything to please Saddam’s regime. I had to accept this victimisation and I spent the remaining 12 years in the same post  with the same grade in Cairo. What else could I do with a family and children to educate? My home country was under the rule of a butcher called Saddam while my adopted country of Britain showed no concern over my treatment. In almost a quarter of a century with FAO I came across forms of prejudice time and again and noted how the UN bends with the wind to please those that have the dollars. Yet one could say that I am used and lived with prejudice and discriminations.

FSA ( FAO Field StaffAssociation-Somalia-Egypt)
FUNSA (Federation of UN Staff Associations-Egypt)

No comments:

Post a Comment