Phone Number: 071 343 61 11
Fax Number: 071 343 61 61
Home Address: Imbodenstrasse 17, CH - 9016 St. Gallen
Phone 071 288 39 52
Bruce C. Rashkow
General Legal Division
Office of Legal Affairs
New York, NY 10017
Trogen, 15th August 2001
Permission to Hoist UN Flag / Your Letter Dated 6 December 2000
Dear Mr Rashkow
It is with some regret that I have learnt in your letter dated 6 December 2000 that the my requested hoisting of the UN flag cannot be granted by the General Legal Division of the UN, since such a hoisting would be considered to essentially go against the purposes of the United Nations and to be, if indirectly, commercial.
I am convinced, however, that this interpretation can be traced back to a fundamental misunderstanding of my project and its intentions and moreover to certain cultural and linguistic difficulties of communication.
I would therefore ask you to consider the following:
a) "nor will it further its principles and purposes"
Preparations for my satire project and the envisaged hoisting will come at a time when Switzerland is preparing to go to the polls in 2002 on the question as to whether or not to become a UN member. I already campaigned for Swiss UN membership in 1986 , when it was lamentably rejected by a vast majority of the Swiss electorate, and will again do so in 2002. The Social Democratic Party, of which I am a member and for which I was a state member of Parliament between 1984 and 1994, has always been in favour of Swiss UN membership and will again lend its substantial support to the 2002 campaign. You can therefore rest assured that my hoisting of the UN flag intends to deepen and intensify the political discussion in favour of the principles of the UN and not against them. To underline my sincere commitment I enclose a letter of recommendation from Andreas Gross, who has not only been a national key figure for the UN membership campaign but is also a member of the Swiss National Parliament and the Council of Europe and moreover a renowned scholar in the field of international organisations, democratic participation and constitutional law. Let me add that a number of national and local newspapers have already taken up the case and have rather ironically if not unfavourably commented on the fact that the UN does not allow me to fly its flag from St. Gall's City Hall even though the city-authorities have granted permission. I enclose an article from the very popular paper "Anzeiger" of 30/31 January 2001.
b) "...will, at least indirectly, be for commercial purposes.."
I have little doubt that this goes back to my possibly careless translation of the German/French term "Kabarett" by "satirical show". "Kabarett" in the French and later German (Berlin in the 20s) tradition is an art form which involves literary texts, satirical sketches, songs, elements of stand-up comedy and drama. As I found out in some very good clubs while staying in Washington as a conference observer for "Presidential Classrom" in 1998, it is not entirely unknow in America. Moreover I should like to underline that my Kabarett-project "Louverture died in 1803" forms part of the canton-wide cultural activities for the occasion of St. Gall's 200th anniversary. I therefore enclose a letter from the "Staatssekretär" of the canton of St. Gallen, which confirms in its last paragraph that "...your project has been selected together with only 40 others from more than 200 projects submitted, because it promises to fulfil the high criteria and standards set by the anniversary committee. I also enclose a conceptual outline of our project, which explains why it perceives the anniversary of the canton of St. Gall in a wider, international (!) context.
In view of the foregoing, I should kindly ask you to either review your decision of December 6 , 2000 or refer my case to the successive institution of appeal within the UN legal system.