Tormented by new UN classmates, Switzerland already wants to go home.
"The Swiss voted Sunday to join the United Nations, moving their country warily but decisively closer to the international community after centuries of neutrality and independence." — L.A. Times, March 4, 2002
TORMENTED BY NEW U.N. CLASSMATES,
SWITZERLAND ALREADY WANTS TO GO HOME
"Everybody's Mean to Me, and the Food Sucks," Says Tiny Nation's Ambassador
Picked on by bullies like the United States and China, and constantly taunted by its other new peers as "Neutrality Boy," Switzerland, which Sunday decided to join the United Nations, is already regretting its decision, and wants to go home.
According to U.N. school nurse Martha Kelly, the Swiss ambassador to the U.N. has visited her office no less than three times in the past 24 hours, twice complaining of a stomach ache, and once sporting a pair of black eyes.
"I think the tummy aches are just nerves; you know, the new kid worrying about not fitting in," said Kelly. "But when I asked him who hit him, he wouldn't say, the poor dear. It's not my place, but I'm betting it was that Wang Ying-Fan, (China's U.N. ambassador). That boy is trouble. Always picking on the little ones."
However, the Swiss ambassador, Francois Nordmann, refused to fill out an incident report, and U.N. Secretary General Kofi Annan sloughed off Switzerland's apparent run-ins with peers as just, "diplomats being diplomats. I'm sure they'll sort it out themselves."
In a sorrowful letter home, however, Nordmann pleaded to have someone come and get him. "It's awful here," he wrote. "They put me in the same dorm room with Germany, and right away, their ambassador says, 'Hey, Mr. Impartial Pants, you're finally going to take sides. You're going support me as a permanent member of the Security Council!'
"Then he short-sheeted my bed and stole all my Ricola," Nordmann added.
The Swiss ambassador found it no easier outside, where relentless South American diplomats teased Nordmann about being popular with babies, since he was a "such a big pacifier," while a voting bloc of central African nations ran his underwear up a flagpole and declared Nordmann the ambassador of Sissyland. But the most harrowing incident took place at recess.
"I was talking with Kamalesh Sharma, (India's ambassador to the U.N.), whom I had met on the train," Nordstrom wrote, "when (Chinese Ambassador) Wang comes swaggering up and sneers, 'Hey Switzerland, you're getting off to a bad start, making friends with losers. Maybe I should teach you a lesson.'"
Nordmann tried to diffuse the situation, nervously explaining that Switzerland would not technically be a member until the fall, and even then would not declare anyone as "friend" or "enemy," but would continue to covet neutrality, as it has since the 1815 Treaty of Paris.
"But I don't think Wang could hear me," Nordmann wrote, "because all these guys from the Balkans were standing around us yelling 'Fight! Fight! Fight!'"
Fortunately, U.S. Ambassador John Negroponte walked up at that moment, and told Wang to leave the Swiss alone. According to Nordmann, Wang glared at the U.S. ambassador and made a snide comment about "someone getting too big for his trade deficit," but eventually skulked off.
Nordmann thanked the U.S. ambassador for his help, and in return received a slip of paper and a sly wink. Nordmann then asked Sharma what the paper was for.
"It's how the U.S. expects you to vote," Sharma explained. "Everybody gets those."
According to witnesses, moments later Nordmann was punched in the left eye by the Pakistani ambassador, who was upset that the Swiss was talking to an Indian. Nordmann then reportedly asked the Indian ambassador to punch him in the other eye, so as not to appear to be playing favorites.