Lest we forget…

Ahhhh…my run today was long and filled with heavy thoughts. Yesterday I hadn’t planned on writing this post but now it seems I cannot focus on anything else.

Late last night, I watched an Anderson Cooper report about a man who was born into a political prison in North Korea. His story is haunting. I was appalled to see the level of depravity and violations of human rights that exist in that country, these camps and that are happening this very minute. I always knew the basics of North Korea’s issues but had never heard details as horrendous as I heard in this report.

North Korea has a policy of 3 generations of imprisonment for offences such as trying to defect. 3 generations. That is a lot of grandchildren being born, existing and dying inside a prison that should really be called a concentration camp. Not only was I appalled at his story but I was shocked there doesn’t seem to be anything being done about others currently living in the same situation.

If you have not heard this story I urge you to learn more. His name is Shin Dong-hyuk and he is alive today despite all odds. He deserves to be heard worldwide. 

http://www.cbsnews.com/news/anderson-cooper-on-north-korean-born-in-prison-camp/

So as I went out for my run today , I looked up at the sky. A beautiful clear blue sky. And I thought of the people inside these camps who look up at the same sky and live a life that can barely be called a life. I thought of these people and others around the world who are suffering from similar and other awful realities that give them only an existence and not a life. I thought of my own family, many of whom died in concentration camps during the 2nd World War. I thought of slavery, both American slavery and other forms of slavery throughout history. I thought of the countless civil wars in the name of religion.

So many of these horrors still exist today. Everyone knows about it and in the case of countries with nuclear power such as North Korea, very often there is little that is being done about it. That in itself may just be the biggest crime against humanity. Places like this are left to themselves to continue their cycle of crimes hidden away from the rest of the world.

In Canada and other countries of the Commonwealth, today is marked as Remembrance Day. On this 11th day of the 11th month and at the 11th minute of the 11th hour, millions of people observed a few minutes of silence for the war heroes of past generations. In America it is Veteran’s Day, a day that honors all those who have served in the Armed Forces. November 11th is recognized all over the world as a day to thank those who fought for the freedoms that we enjoy each day.

Today we wear the poppy, hear the bagpipes and quote from the famous poem-In Flanders Fields

Inscription of the complete poem in a bronze "book" at the John McCrae memorial at his birthplace in Guelph, Ontario, Canada.
Inscription of the complete poem “In Flanders Fields” in a bronze book at the John McCrae memorial at his birthplace in Guelph, Ontario, Canada.

However so many in this world do not have the rights and freedoms that we do. They have no cause to celebrate today. So today instead of just giving thanks and remembering those who have passed on in the name of our freedoms. I would like to challenge myself and everyone I know to do something more. Today let us honor the past but also make a plan for the future. After watching that report last night, I feel as though I cannot go forward with my life and continue to live in a bubble with no regard for these atrocities.

There are so many worthy human rights causes. My challenge is simple. Find one the speaks to you and do something. If every person in the free world took a stand, changes would happen. So get involved. Join a group, write a letter, give your time and resources. Everyone has something to offer. There are many people out there working hard for human rights causes but they need more support in order for real changes to happen.

We are all human and we all should have the same rights and freedoms, no exceptions. 

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