UNITED NATIONS (AP) — So you’re paying attention to the tectonic geopolitical issues at the U.N. General Assembly, and many of them are addressed in carefully calibrated and crafted diplospeak. Then, suddenly, someone like Ralph Gonsalves steps up to the podium.
In an ocean of speakers from around the world — from the driest of the dry all the way to downright bitter and angry — the prime minister of St. Vincent and the Grenadines stood out Saturday with his use of metaphor and imagery.
The cadence. The word choice. The drama. The poetry quotations.
— “… the dangerous vanities, delusional vainglories and hubris of men and women in power, particularly in the global centers of imperialism and in the locales of those intoxicated with the quest for hegemony.”
— “Without fresh hope, a desecration of our future awaits us.”
— “I ask the relevant and haunting questions: What’s new? Which world? And who gives the orders? The future of humanity depends on satisfactory answers to these queries.”
— “We are a resilient people. We are not a people of lamentations.”
— “Trying to go up a fast-moving down escalator is a challenging exercise.”
Gonsalves is no stranger to summoning eloquence for political effect at the United Nations. Last year, months after a volcanic eruption in his country displaced 20,000 people, he came to the General Assembly and issued a clarion call in his oration.
“Across our land, the faces of men and women are strained and anxious,” he said. “Please help St. Vincent and the Grenadines in its midnight hour of need.”
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