Zehdi Labid Terzi, the Palestine Liberation Organization observer here, grins when he considers the dizzying events of the last week.
"If the PLO had budgeted $10 million, it wouldn't have bought this amount of publicity," a friendly diplomat tells him, and Terzi plainly agrees.
The Palestinian whose secret meeting with U.S. Ambassador Andrew Young led to Young's resignation and a new flurry of criticism of U.S. Mideast policy, has been caught in the media whirl that has him spending at least 70 percent of his time talking to reporters, doing exactly what he was sent here to do; explaining the position of the PLO.
"After this tempest," Terzi said in an interview in the U.N. delegates lounge he uses as his headquarters, "there is a demand from the American people to know about the PLO. We think this is really positive."
Terzi has been at his U.N. observer post since June 1975. Until now, reporters and American citizens hadn't exactly been beating a path across the lounge's soft brown carpet to see him.
"Now, they want to know, what is this PLO" Terzi said.
He describes this moment as a welcome opportunity to correct what he says he believes are fundamental misunderstandings about the Palestine problem.
"Americans are, if not ignorant, at least hostile and brainwashed by the media," Terzi said.
Terzi hesitates to predict the long term result, but he says the America's thinking about the Middle East. America's thinking about the Middle East.
Monday, Terzi played host to a group of black leaders from the Southern Christian Leadership Conference [SCLC]. He said that other black and white Americans have contacted him since Young's resignation to ask for meetings.
The PLO has two U.S. offices, in Washington and New York, which have also experienced an upsurge in contacts from Americans in the last week, Terzi said.
From July 26, when he held his now famous meeting with Young, until last week, Terzi possessed one of the hotest secrets in town, but he takes a wry attitude toward secrets at the United Nations.
"You know," he remarked, "there are no secrets here. Maybe for half an hour, but then everyone knows what you are doing."
Terzi, perhaps because it would suit his organization, said he firmly believed that Young came to meet him only after getting permission from Washington.
"Nobody believed for a minute," Terzi said, "that Young was acting on his own." Ambassadors don't do impulse buying, the PLO representatives said, and "the United Nations is not a boutique."