USA, Brazil | 56 MINUTES | English, French, Portuguese, Khmer |
EN ROUTE TO BAGHDAD
On August 19, 2003, when the United Nations' headquarters in Baghdad was bombed, envoy Sergio Vieira de Mello was among those killed. U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan called his death "a bitter blow to the United Nations," and added, "I can think of no one we could less afford to spare than Sergio." More than a tragic loss of life, Vieira de Mello's death signaled the shape of things to come in an occupation that has defied U.N. convention and arguably suffered greatly as a result. Vieira de Mello's history is in many ways a recent history of the U.N. itself. Time and again he traveled to countries torn apart by dictatorships and civil war, working for organization, cooperation, and stability. He showed equal respect to peasants in Mozambique, teachers in East Timor, and royalty in Cambodia-all testaments to his astounding ability to bring people together under a single cause. Interviews with Kofi Annan, Richard Holbrooke, Cambodia's former Cambodian King Norodom Sihanouk, and more show a man whose pragmatism was matched by his sense of dedication to humanity. En route to Baghdad captures the man's passion and provides a compelling illustration of how the U.N. has quietly but doggedly shaped our world. Like Vieira de Mello, the organization has not sought the spotlight. And, more often than not, when allowed to work the way its administrators know it should, the U.N. gets results where unilateral diplomacy does not.