Yesterday the UN released a report that compared the prison camps in Korea to the concentration camps of Nazi Germany and the gulags of the former Soviet Union. The UN has also threatened to bring their findings to the ICC and petition the court to have the rouge regime investigated for crimes against humanity.
Ten days ago, the Chief Prosecutor of the ICC, Fatou Bensouda, initiated a special investigation into suspected war crimes and crimes against humanity in the strife torn country of Central African Republic. While the situation in both of these countries are beyond grave, they in no way compare to what Bashar al Assad has done to his country, Syria, in an all out attempt to stay in power. Or can they?
No doubt, all three of these cases need to be referred to the ICC. Warrants issued for the suspected parties and Interpol involved to issue their "Red Notices." It is beyond tragic what each of these countries civilians are going through, it is literally Hell that they are going through. I do not envy those tasked with the job of determining which crisis is more urgent than the others and therefore must be acted on sooner.
Rastafarian and reggae musician, Bob Marley, once said,
"The people who are trying to make the world worse never take the day off, why should I? Light up the darkness."
One of the best quotes ever spoken in regards to the enormous effort that each one of us, the famous and not so famous, the rich and not so rich, the powerful and not so powerful, must continue to make to shine that spotlight on the darkness. The missing, or the disappeared, whether it is Razan Zaitouneh in Syria, or Kenneth Bae in North Korea, are owed Bob Marley's attitude towards their plight by the rest of us. Telling their stories and doing what we can until someone listens.
It is all too easy for me, or anyone else to shout "double standards" in regards to how each and every region of suffering around the world is prioritized, rather than to say they are all equal in sense of their urgency. Syria will mark the completion of its third year of atrocities come the middle of March. While entire generations in North Korea and CAR have experienced the same. What difference does it make how long? For in each of these inferences one day is too long, one life is too many. There are not enough NGO's or good guys to aid those who need aid, to protect the vulnerable innocents from monsters like Assad or Kim Jong-un. Nevertheless, we must try where and when we can.
Believe it or not, the people who are suffering forgive us despite ourselves. The victims are more understanding than any of us can ever hope to be. They wait, and they wait some more, until finally all of the indifference, the bureaucratic red tape, the diplomatic road blocks are overcome. But we must not be so forgiving of ourselves for it is not within our place to excuse ourselves from taking action. Whatever our own social crises may be, they pale in comparison to the three mentioned in this article.
A famous actor, Scott Wilson, recently spoke these words, albeit in a fictionalized apocalyptic television show. I could not help but put arrange them into context of what is happening to people living under these dictatorships. Wilson said,
"You step outside, you risk your life. You breathe, and you risk you life. You don't have a choice. The only thing you can choose is what you're risking it for."
Those lines are brilliant in how they illustrate, and can be applied to everyone's dilemma who is suffering through the horrors of real life man-made disasters which is Syria, CAR and North Korea.