International Geneva

Today I’ve been in the northern part of Geneva that is home to many headquarters of international institutions. It is a bitter-sweet feeling, as these institutions have lost most of their importance in my eyes, being plagued by nepotism, inutility, bad management or bad decisions, but at the same time they are a once-in-a-lifetime visiting spot for a traveler (or nomad) like me. The photos are in chronological order and show some of the institutions that are particularly relevant for me.

The Broken Chair is one of the symbols of Geneva. It has a broken leg because it reminds us about the mines that mutilate or kill a lot of people. It is a monument built because of the human cruelty, because of our desire to kill or inflict suffering. This is what defines us, whether we want to accept it or not.

This is the perspective from beneath the chair; it is the same perspective a person without legs – a person who stepped on a mine – might see while being in the process of bleeding to death… or it is the perspective of a person being forced to live at ground level because of the loss of their legs… you choose the metaphor.

The Broken Chair is in front of the headquarters of the United Nations Office of Geneva. As you can see, the gate is closed. Heavily locked. And guarded. At a symbolical level, the ordinary folk, like me for instance, are not allowed to visit the garden; this is reserved for a political elite who is having a good time in the gardens which should be free to visit. A lot of dictators and bloody chieftains have sent their offspring to dwell in these buildings, well protected by the neutrality of Switzerland, spending money obtained by means which belong to the same category with the reasons for which the Broken Chair exists. For this reason, the “duet” between the Broken Chair and the United Nations building is also a “duet” between predator and prey.

Photo taken through the fence – Office des Nations Unies Allée des Nations. The equal height of the flags is an illusion; it is one of the farthest things from the truth.

This is Palais des Nations… or so I suppose… It is heavily guarded by soldiers and, as you can see, it has 2 barriers, one in the foreground and one in the background. I asked if I can go inside and visit, and the answer was no. I asked if I can take photos, and the answer was yes. So I did that. It is one place I believe I’d never ever return. In the meantime, dubious people were coming out of those gardens with their families with wives and many children… they looked as if they were having a good time…

From this entrance to the United Nations you can see the building of the International Committee of the Red Cross. The grass was uncut on that hill, about 1 meter high; that was wild weed, not a decent looked-after lawn. That was surprising, as Switzerland is one of the cleanest places on Earth.

Musée international de la Croix-Rouge et du Croissant-Rouge or the International Museum of the Red Cross and Red Crescent. One of the tightest places I’ve been – architecturally-speaking.

I wasn’t interested in the museum. But the sunshade was a nice idea.

This is the UNICEF headquarters in Geneva – the United Nations International Children’s Emergency Fund. What a deserted and desolate place!… The picture shows only about one third of the building. Why do they need such a gigantic building?… I don’t know…

Approaching the OMS or WHO – Organisation mondiale de la Santé or the World Health Organization – which has its main office in Geneva.

I thought I should feel something seeing the logo. Well, I remembered the forced vaccination following Covid-19 and the only thing I felt was anger and displeasure. I shall not elaborate on what I thought.

The entrance to WHO.

Yep, I’ve been there. And I left quite fast. The difference is made on the field, with each patient at a time. It is there where the real impact happens. Here is only about politics and bureaucracy. And idleness.

This is the World Meteorological Organization headquarters. As someone passionate by skyscapes, it was a must to see this building. And I felt joy, probably the emotional climax of today’s voyage.

The World Trade Organization headquarters. En français, Organisation mondiale du commerce. When you’re fed up with politics, you do business. Connects people better, avoids wars.

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  1. Been to Geneva many times (the company I worked for from 1999 to 2013 was headquartered there) and always enjoyed my visits – while preferring Zurich, in my view a more vibrant and entertaining city. But I love them both, and Switzerland generally.

    I too wandered around that area, and admired the architecture while feeling distinctly uncomfortable about some of the people who visit there and are treated like royalty….. I missed the WHO and UNICEF buildings and agree they do seem a bit on the large side….. I guess it’s symptomatic of the way an in many ways broken UN spend its vast budget. I do take issue with your comment about the COVID vaccination program though. Certainly where I live (Warsaw) it was voluntary and not forced, and believe that to be the case in most countries. I also believe the program, and continued booster availability, has saved an awful lot of lives – I caught the virus twice within a period of six months, the second time coming close to ICU admission, and I have no doubt the inoculations I had before and after saved my life, despite still suffering after effects from the illness two year later.

    Good article, though, I enjoyed it!

    1. Regarding Covid vaccination, I wasn’t against it but I was against the fact that it was forced, compulsory, required by law. I had no choice as a doctor but to accept it, otherwise I would lose my job. I believe I am intelligent and responsible enough to know the risks and make a choice myself, as an adult. I do not need the WHO to impose things on me as if I were a child. France was probably the most aggressive country in this matter, as it forced me to be vaccinated 3 (three) times for the same disease, although I was not in a group at risk. I believe that the vaccination was necessary and one dose was enough. And by the way, I never had Covid, although many of my patients who were 3 times vaccinated, caught the disease after, proving the entire vaccination campaign completely useless.

      1. I take your point, Cezar. I had my initial two jabs and boosters for the last couple of years, and (touching wood…) have had no further issues. The Covid hangover problems – I hesitate to use the Long Covid term because I’m not sure it’s what I have – are also lessening and I’m feeling much fitter and healthier than I have for years. For me the vaccination program was a success, and I would never call the vaccines (as there are more than one available still) completely useless – although some are clearly better than others.