Where did Kofi Annan say that small arms were weapons of mass destruction in slow motion?
August 19, 2009 9:06 AM   Subscribe

Kofi Annan is often quoted as having said that small arms and light weapons are "weapons of mass destruction in slow motion." Help me find the full text of the speech, statement or document in which he first said this.

I've also found the phrase attributed to other people, or seen it quoted referring specifically to landmines, etc. So I wouldn't be surprised if it's a misquote somehow. Nonetheless, help me find the source for all of these citations!
posted by jrb223 to Law & Government (6 answers total)
Best answer: I think it's here in PDF.
posted by Mngo at 9:22 AM on August 19, 2009

Response by poster: I don't think so, I've done text searches of that document in both html and the .pdf versions and get no hits for anything even resembling the phrase. (specifically, I searched for every instance of the word 'slow').
posted by jrb223 at 9:27 AM on August 19, 2009

Heidi Kühn said the same thing of land mines in 2005 (source, with “weapons of mass destruction in slow motion” as a quote from her acceptance speech for the 2005 WANGO Peace & Security Award). A slightly different phrase ("a slow-motion weapon of mass destruction") was used in 1995 by Under-Secretary-General for Political Affairs Marrack Goulding (source)

Variations of this phrase have been used for land mines and conventional weapons, as seen in this UN.org search.
posted by filthy light thief at 9:28 AM on August 19, 2009

I think it came from the 2001 Conference on small arms and light weapons.
posted by cal71 at 9:28 AM on August 19, 2009

Best answer: 1995 - An unnamed "representative of the United States" was talking to the First Committee (Disarmament and International Security) about land-mines, which he described as "weapons of mass destruction in slow motion".

1996 - not a direct quote, but summarized text attributed to Jorge Perez-Otermin calls anti-personnel land-mines weapons of mass destruction in slow motion.

2001 - not a clean bit of phrasing, but the notion is uttered by Kofi Annan. (While the weapons themselves were only one part of the problem, they did deserve the label that Secretary-General Kofi Annan had given them –- weapons of mass destruction. "To that I might add in slow motion", he said.)
posted by filthy light thief at 9:37 AM on August 19, 2009

Response by poster: OK, I think I was too quick to judge Mngo's link, that document does include the line, "The death toll from small arms dwarfs that of all other weapons systems — and in most years greatly exceeds the toll of the atomic bombs that devastated Hiroshima and Nagasaki. In terms of the carnage they cause, small arms, indeed, could well be described as 'weapons of mass destruction'." and filthy light thief's last link seems to suggest that the 'slow motion' bit was added in a press conference at some point (either by Annan or this other fellow, Prof. Krause.... that press statement is really poorly written). Thanks Everyone!
posted by jrb223 at 11:40 AM on August 19, 2009

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