Kofi Annan to reporters at his end-of-year news conference, speaking about the character traits his successor will need:
They need a thick skin. They need a sense of humor, and they should laugh a lot inside and outside and at themselves ... and be able to reach out and work effectively with leaders across the world.Then, British journalist James Bone, reporter for the London Times, asked him about his son's involvement in the illegal importation of a Mercedes Benz into Ghana. Annan, displaying the aforementioned sense of humor, thick skin and laughing a lot on the inside, said,
I think you're being very cheeky. Listen James Bone, you've been behaving like an overgrown schoolboy in this room for many, many months and years.Well, Kofi, we're all laughing on the outside. What Annan really meant to say about character was:
You are an embarrassment to your colleagues and to your profession. Please stop misbehaving and please let's move on to a serious subject.
They need a sense of humor, except for me, and they should laugh a lot inside and outside and at themselves but NEVER at me ... and be able to reach out and work effectively with leaders across the world, with the exception, of course, for the recalcitrant and bellicose leaders of the world's richest, most powerful and most generous nation, as well as those of the Jooz.UPDATE: Reuters tries to whitewash Annan's statements, but fails. Reuters leaves out the tirade Annan directed at James Bone. Reuters quotes Annan as saying:
I hope you ladies and gentlemen of the press will also do some reflection of your own as to how you covered that event, how you allowed deliberate leaks and others to lead you in one direction," he said, after refusing to answer a question from a British reporter.UPDATE II: Much more from Claudia Rosett
"But I leave you to reflect on that. It is not up to me to tell you how to do your job," Annan said. "But we all have to be careful, whatever responsibilities we have, not to be fed by people with agendas."
I just now corrected the missing link to Claudia Rosett. Sorry, Claudia.
TAGS: Kofi Annan, James Bone, character