What’s in a name? If you work at the United Nations your name is important. That’s why I found this article in today’s LA Times rather comical.
Apparently if you want the job of UN Secretary-General, you deny wanting it. One diplomat likened it to the infamous Monty Python skit in “Life of Brian” when a commoner is mistaken for the Messiah.
("I am not the Messiah!" the man says. "Only the true Messiah denies his divinity," a woman says. "All right! I am the Messiah!" he says, and they fall to their knees. "He is! He is the Messiah!")
Heh, heh. Funny stuff, especially given that it came from a diplomat.
Current UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan of Ghana had this to say about his successor in the UN’s top job:
“They need thick skin," he said last month, moments before lashing out at a contentious reporter. "And they need a sense of humor."
More than that, I believe they need a good name. It should be written into the job description that the Secretary-General’s name must rrrrooolll off the tongue. And it should be complex enough that it gives pause to even the most confident print reporter, forcing them to look up the spelling (Is there a hyphen and if so where? O-U or just U, is it two Ns or one?) for each story. But it's great fun for broadcasters. Just think of Sylvia Pogglioli of NPR or Christiane Amanpour of CNN rolling the name.
I submit the names of past leaders UN leaders as evidence of the need for a good name: There was U Thant, of what was then Burma and is now Myanmar. Who could forget that “contentious” Egyptian leader Boutros Boutros-Ghali?
Then of course there’s Kofi Annan. But my all-time favorite in name is Javier Perez de Cuellar of Peru.
Say it with me now: “Javier Perez de Cuellar.” See? It just rolls off the tongue. Very important.