The Book Signing Event -
A Life in War and Peace, Secretary
General Kofi Annan
Report by E. Ablorh-Odjidja
What was on Secretary General Kofi Annan's mind when in
December 2001 he said “Ladies and Gentlemen, we have
entered the third millennium through a gate of fire"?
The answer is provided in
his book, "Interventions, a Life in War and
There was a book signing
event at the auditorium of the Sixth & Eye St. Synagogue
in Washington DC on September 5, 2012. The event
was promoted by the book seller Politics & Prose.
Mr. Annan was interviewed on
stage by Mr. David Ignatius of the Washington Post.
Long before the auditorium doors were opened, there was
a long line that led from the front of the center on
"Eye" street to the side entrance on 6th street.
Mr. Kofi Annan was the Secretary General of the United
Nations from 1997 to 2006. He received the Nobel Peace
prize in 2001.
It has been some six years since Mr. Annan left office,
but you wouldn't have known from the size of the
attendance at this book signing.
The auditorium, which probably seats close to 1000
people or more, was filled to capacity. And, had the
theater been larger, it still could have been filled
from wall to wall as many people who wanted to attend
couldn't because of capacity requirement.
The subjects discussed evolved on events in the book,
gathered from personal experiences of Mr. Annan when he
served on UN mission of interventions at troubled spots
in the world..
The audience, by reaction, was not left in any doubt
about how troubled the world was, and still is, when Mr.
He commented on the wretchedness of the UN and the
World's actions and inactions to the troubles in Somalia
The UN, when it came to armed interventions, he said,
was hamstrung. It had no standing force to meet the need
for peace and not adequately structured to raise
intervention forces in timely manner.
The troubles in Libya and Egypt were small when compared
with what was taking place in Syria. Libya imploded but
Syria could explode and the spread of the explosion
would not only be felt in the Middle East but worldwide,
Mr. Annan implied.
Mr. Annan responded to questions posed by Mr. Ignatius
and others from the audience with candor.
But as much as the exchanges were very serious, the
style would not have been Mr. Annan's had there not been
some witty comments. You could tell that the humor was
coming when a smile started spreading on Mr. Annan's
face before his response to a question.
You also got a glimpse of the character that drove Mr.
Annan through the ranks of the UN to the top as
Secretary General. He was the first sub-Saharan African
elected to the post. He served two consecutive terms
from 1997 - 2006; a service of distinction that
was to win him the Nobel Peace Prize in December 2001.
The book "Interventions" can be purchased on Amazon.com.
Washington, DC, September 06, 2012