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I have been in 6 different MUNs (And a sort-of ICJ) and what I've seen as a pattern is that MUNs are an elitist system. I know we are high school students who simulate the UN, meaning that the UN is not necessarily elitist, but so far, in my experience, MUNs are elitist. Since the very moment we mock someone because he is Syria in UNHCR or North Korea in any committee, we are showing how elitist we are. I remit myself to an article I published beforeDeadly Combinations of Committee-Country / MunPlanet, where it is exposed this first instict of denominating a country "bad". This is a prejudice I personally have, and I believe it heavily contributes to elitism in MUNs.
I will share you my story in MUNning, which shows why elitism is a tacit principle in Model UN. The G5 is God while the other 187 countries... well, they have a vote. It is supposed to be a principle of the UN the "equality", but at the very end... it is not. I would like to point out that my performance in MUNs has improved with time, but the differences of my results are so sharp, that it is evident that it is not me... it is sometimes my country. I had always said that the factors of performance in a MUN aren't the country and the committee - not even the topics. It is the delegate. But since the same delegate has played extremely different roles, therefore, the country does affect performance.
Syria and its attempt for Democratization
Incursion of Children in Armed Conflicts
This was the first MUN of my life, so I was a little bit freaked out. I was 13, not having quite an idea of what I was going to do. My teachers who prepared me for this MUN said quite intimidating stuff, like that every other delegate was in highschool, like 16 years and older, that if I said wrong information, or if I didn't say correct information, I would be humiliated. Well, so I walked into the room and saw other twenty delegates (the organizers added more countries than necessary to make the debate "intense"). I remember everybody was a bit scary, but I kept my chill. I was going with other older students from my school, and they seemed pretty good when we rehearsed. But that day they barely spoke. We chose first topic A, the one about Syria. When I went up the front to read my position paper, one of them propose a question session. I got nervous, but when he said "Does Morocco support the human rights?" I realized they weren't that good. I politely said that morocco indeed supported the human rights. But then France took the next question. He asked me whether Morocco supported Bashar-Al-Assad or not. I answered that Morocco aimed for a ceasefire and, eventually, the resign of Al-Assad. However, France called on a subsequent question to ask me where did I get that information. He assumed because Morocco had a majority muslim population, it had to obviously support al-assad, or to be "evil". I gave my source - a press release from the Moroccan king - and returned to my seat. This first two questions firstly revealed to me the prejudice existing against muslim countries. I thought it would only happen every now and then, but it just worsened.
The committee, during the debate, followed France's proposal to make a France-led plan for intervention in Syria. Its first point was to somehow take weapons out of Syria (The delegate didn't know what was an "arms embargo") I opposed, because my policy wasn't supportive of armed intervention. Nobody listened to me. They even, again, attacked me, telling me that I should support them, not telling me one reason. Once again, the assumption that muslim are violent. I got mad, and during a moderated caucus, I asked france why would he support his own plan if his chancellor said that the only way to achieve peace in Syria was increasing the amount of weapons of the rebels and that France already selling weapons to Syria, and eventually that amount would increase. Until then, France shut up. However, the proposal remained on the floor thanks to the US. I was supposed to support the US, but because I didn't agree with the proposal, I allyed with Russia.
The proposal of the France-UK-US and co. turned to put a foreign provisional government in Syria. Of course I opposed. The chair didn't say anything, but I did. I said it violated the sovereignity, a principle recognized by the UN and so... but they didn't listen to me.Then, at some point, the UK got tired of me attacking their proposal that he said:
"If Morocco doesn't like the current proposal, he should have one better"
And so I answered
"Morocco calls on countries in this hall to unite for a stabilization roadmap, whose priority would be humanitarian aid and geneva convenants accomplishments"
Not until Russia said "I support Morocco" the committee paid attention on me.
But peace didn't last for long.
France stole my idea and made his own, saying that only european countries would help. He left african and muslim countries out of the question. When we could sit by blocks, we had three: the France-led block, the Russia-China-Morocco and Brazil, who was neutral. At the end of debating, the committee looked like this:
The US, UK and france on the left, Russia, China and Morocco, and the rest in neutrality. I was more or less a guest in the Russia-China block, but since I was the who proposed the ideas first, Russia allowed me to be with him. Again, I was just a guest, not a leader, even when the proposals were mine.
Then, I was as important an observer. During an Immoderated Caucus the G5 wrote the resolution, included themselves in everything, let aside my ideas, and so Morocco became a delegate more.
This was my first MUN, though. I wasn't as good as it seems in this narration. I made many mistakes, but what was a block for me, it wasn't my lack of experience: it was the prejudice against muslim countries ( we were only 5, so we got bullied the same). Of course, at the time it didn't bother me much. I was just learning. But now that I begun to write this journal-analysis, it turns out that muslim countries have always some prejudice against them. Also, because I didn't have much money to sponsor any great movement. This was the main reason the G5 let me aside.
So these are the first characteristics of MUN elitism:
- Stereotypical perception of cultures (Muslim=violence)
-Amount of Money that the country has.
And this ressembles pretty much to discrimination to people nowadays.