On New Year's Eve, the Secretary General of the United Nations, António Guterres, issued a dire warning video posted to his Twitter account. He dubbed it his 'red alert for our world':
In the video, he states:
"When I took office a year ago, I appealed for 2017 to be a year for peace ... Unfortunately, in fundamental ways, the world has gone in reverse. ... Global anxieties over nuclear weapons are the highest since the Cold War, and climate change is moving faster than we are. Inequalities are growing, and we see horrific violations of human rights. Nationalism and xenophobia are on the rise.”
He went on to say that he wasn't issuing an appeal to action, but a red alert. Later, he states:
"I truly believe we can make our world more safe and secure. We can settle conflicts, overcome hatred and defend shared values but we can only do that together ... I urge leaders everywhere to make this New Year’s resolution: Narrow the gaps. Bridge the divides. Rebuild trust by bringing people together around common goals. Unity is the path. Our future depends on it."
People on Twitter quickly responded to the warning. Many agreed with the Secretary General:
Our planet, our environment, our climate are sick and our people are also sick. People should realise that their happiness, prosperity and future lies in their hands. There should be less egoism and less consumerism and even lobby their leaders if they are wrong; Kick them out.— Hugues (@huguesalcide) December 31, 2017
Thanks boss, I wish the same for the world and it’s leaders and populations, may we all unite behind common values, compassion, love, dignity. Peace is possible peace is needed!— Mark Polane (@mightydutchman) December 31, 2017
#Silvester #NewYear "... #REDALERT ... call for #unity ... #future ..."— Cornelia Spachtholz (@Spachtholz_C) December 31, 2017
Thank you for your warning words & advice ... yes ... unity gives us hope, faith, power and tools to live in a world of #Peace and #dignity for everyone - we must #overcome #inequality respecting #equivalence
Please go on with the efforts for this! We need peace and security! Adeus Ano Velho! Feliz ano novo! For a better future for our children! Please,attend this call for unity!— Dr. Arlete von Kries (@arletevonkries1) December 31, 2017
Though, his video did not come without criticism. Many criticized the UN's handling of the situation in Southern Cameroon.
The Hypocrisy of #UN is the reason why we can't get true peace#Justice is the only true path to true peace so all your double standards and hypocrisy can not achieve true peace and unity.#FreeSouthernCameroons #StopProtecting #Biya@EmmanuelMacron & Biya are killing #Ambazonia— Theodore Nfor N (@Theodorekindong) December 31, 2017
Cheap words. use your high office and call @PR_Paul_Biya to order. U should also know that schools have not been operating on #Ambazonia since 21/11/16 till date and will not bc calls for Dialogue have not been heeded by @PR_Paul_Biya pic.twitter.com/fwZqdzWHN4— @excellence.Analyser (@excellenceAnal1) December 31, 2017
Well said Sir, but let that unity start by your organization conduct a Referendum between La Repubique du Cameroun & #SouthernCameroons. You & your organization knows the truth about #Ambazonia We need freedom #FreeSouthernCameroons #FreeAllArrested #IAmManyu @innercitypress @BBC— Sarah Mechane (@neemechane) December 31, 2017
For those unfamiliar, largely English speaking Southern Cameroon has been making a push for independence from the rest of the country. This has been met with large scale violence at the hands of the government. At the heart of much of the criticism was Guterres' relationship with the current Cameroonian head of state, Paul Biya:
And we call for a General Secretary who is bold enough to criticise evil, when he or she sees it.— Cameroon Community (@Cameroon_Com) December 31, 2017
You have completely ignored the plea from Southern Cameroonians, asking for the @UN to stop the massacre by a dictator, whom you have are close to.
Man up and do your job or resign.
And of course, many took his comments about the rise of xenophobia and nationalism to be referencing a certain US politician... The President. I'm talking about the President:
Good luck with that, wish Trump would try for unity, but he is only out for himself, but Americans are trying for a new change that could help unify— Kathy Malek Palermo (@kjmpalermo) January 2, 2018
The orange clown is largely responsible for things going backwards last year.— Fizzbin (@SlapHabby) January 2, 2018
Well, he was definitely a factor. Here's to hoping our world leaders heed this alert. Otherwise...