Blogging for a Cause

The child and the factory (pollution)- painting by Claude 
This follows on my blog post last week highlighting the gap that exists between the United Nations and the political world as it really is  - the gap between ideals humanity strives for and the stark reality it has to live in, battered by war, pollution, inequality, and I gave the example of the President of Sudan's shameful escape from justice (he was indicted for genocide by the International Criminal Court, see here).  

Dear reader, that insufferable gap is what is pushing me to write about the United Nations.

Of course, I realize that a modest blog and my writing can't change the world. And I don't expect to be able to move many of you (if anyone) to start doing something (anything!) to improve mankind's lot. But if I can bring a little support to the many who work hard every day for a better world, that would be enough for me. That would make me happy.

That's why I've decided to consecrate my blog to the United Nations - fiction and non-fiction.

Now I'm working on two fronts:
  • non-fiction: a book about the United Nations tentatively called "Soft Power" subtitle: How Politics Play Out at the United Nations - Status: the proposal is written, I am working on the synopsis of the chapters and still gathering data; as to the sub-title, I'm still working on it, and it could change, and change many times, as the book approaches its final stage (not there yet!);
  • fiction: a new novel in an unusual setting, one of the United Nations specialized agencies; it is based on my 25 years of experience working for FAO (Food and Agriculture, one of the UN specialized agencies) but no, the novel doesn't take place in FAO but in a UN agency called UN-EHRD (Education and Human Resources Development Organization of the United Nations). Sounds good? Are you wondering where it is? It's headquartered in Paris, but no, it doesn't exist! The location and the name are both fictional!  Status:  The first draft is written - a lot of it was done while I was still working for the UN - and I am currently into the (harrowing) work of finalizing it, editing, double-checking on my sources and updating where needed. 
Tomb of Omar Khayyam by Jay Hambidge
In a way, this novel is a fiction pendant to the non-fiction book - so much of my reflections in the non-fiction book are echoed by the characters who people the novel. It is tentatively called This Day's Madness, a title derived from a couple of lines of the 12th century Persian poet and mathematician Omar Khayyam that seems to describe the political situation the world lives in today:
Yesterday this day's madness did prepare;
To-morrow's silence, triumph, or despair
My plan for this blog is to take you on trips with me as I write This Day's Madness and share with you what I discover in my research as I go along.  

And I plan to do the same with the non-fiction book, whenever some news about the United Nations comes up or when I come across something particularly interesting in my research - thought I've already started doing this many times with  articles I have written for Impakter that were published in their special section on the United Nations; it's nestled under their philanthropy section, see here, and for a  list of my contributions, click here (a partial list! I still have to bring it up to date).

Last week was really full of news related to the work of the United Nations: there was the Pope's ground-breaking encyclical about climate change - a fantastic boost for the upcoming United Nations Conference in Paris, COP21 - and the World Refugee Day that enabled UNHCR to draw attention to the plight of refugees, 60 million today, the highest number yet in History, a dismal record indeed.

Pope Francis with UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon

Where did I get this idea for blogging? From Nina Amir, a writer who has developed the technique of “blogging a book” - I read about her on Elizabeth Spann Craig's blog. Nina Amir is the bestselling author of How to Blog a Book and The Author Training Manual and reportedly some of her clients have sold 300,000+ copies of their books, landed deals with major publishing houses and created thriving businesses around their books. I wrote a blog post about her (here) and reviewed her book on Amazon (here).

My next blog post is coming up soon and it will deal with my novel...and take you to Peru! 

Any comments about the new turn this blog is taking? Do you like the idea? Have your ever tried to blog a book? Please share, I'd love to hear your experience!