OPINION: Eerie silence about North Korea’s Holocaust-like actions

By Ariella Sassover, 11th grade

Ever since World War ll the United States has been viewed as the world’s most powerful nation, with tremendous wealth, resources and military strength. The U.S. liberated the Holocaust concentration camps in 1944, toppled the Berlin Wall ending the Cold War in 1990, and this year issued an air strike against pro-Assad forces in Syria.

Our country has become known over the years for prioritizing fighting civilian oppression occurring around the world.

So why is the U.S. ignoring the atrocious human rights violations occurring in North Korea?

When North Korea emerged from the Korean War its first dictator Kim ll-Sung modeled it to be a communist isolationist nation. Its citizens are prohibited from having any contact with the outside world, and there is very limited self-expression that is tolerated within the society.

Since 1972 North Korea has been running secretive concentration camps comparable to those employed by the Nazis, holding 120,000 political prisoners hostage. This number includes opposers to the regime and their families.

Today, North Korea is armed with Nuclear weapons and missiles, which makes it easier for its current leader Kim Jong-un to keep his people oppressed without fear of consequences from outside countries looking to provide help to North Koreans.

It is understandable for the U.S., let alone any country, to be wary about entering involvement in this situation due the nuclear repercussions that could ensue. However as the World’s leading power, the United States has a responsibility to offer support to the trapped civilians.

What is most bothersome is not the fact that America has not invaded, but is the mentality that the dilemma in North Korea is viewed as a lost cause and there is no use in offering help.

In the past, even if military action had not been taken to lend support to an oppressed population within a country, discussions and media still targeted those areas. However unjust treatment has been prevalent in North Korea since 1979, and no one appears to even recognize these horrific events.

I refuse to believe that people aren’t talking about stopping North Korea because they simply don’t care.

The government of North Korea has clearly achieved their goal of disabling all contact from within the country to the outside world.

Maybe if the victims were allowed to share their experiences through written memoirs or films the world would show more sympathy to the issue. Though this is not the possible reality, which makes it is up to us fortunate Americans to recognize the truth of the matter and be active in spreading awareness of what is occurring behind the scenes in North Korea.

Hitting even closer to home, Holocaust education is about spreading awareness about the deaths and tragedies that befell Jews and outsiders during the Nazi regime. It would go against this education to act as if we are not aware that these very same atrocities are befalling the North Koreans at this moment, by their own government no less.

I believe if we continue to sweep aside the matters in North Korea not only has North Korea taken away free speech from its citizens but from us. There is a power in our words and in our actions that is not only limited to news sources and the government. Learn what you can about the issues and talk to your family and friends about what you learn. Hopefully we can be on the right side of history, knowing we did our part to enlighten others on the importance of the North Korean communist regime.