In the struggle for human freedom, people will never care how much you know, until they know how much you care.
On Tuesday April 21, as I sat in the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington DC listening to the names being read of those murdered in the Holocaust – those whose lives were taken just because of who they were, I saw how much the readers truly cared. The reading of the names of the Holocaust victims was done by diverse people each with a list. The readers were young and old, Caucasian and black, Asian and other ethnic backgrounds, women and men. But they had one thing in common – they all cared. The Holocaust was over 60 years ago, certainly some may have still known some victims, but many did not. And still they cared – they stopped their day to remember. Some cried. One young Asian girl could barely make it through the list of names through her tears.
We don’t cry enough, and that is so sad for the human race. We need to cry a lot more often. We have gotten so tough; I fear sometimes that our hearts are becoming stones. We see the endless cacophony of horror stories against humanity around the world, and our hearts get so tough. The losses just become nameless numbers, another news story, and we forget how horrible it truly is. Many of us just can’t face it. We avert our eyes, change the subject, change the channel, and turn off our hearts. We choose to forget what those numbers mean as a “coping” mechanism. But denial of human suffering is an unhealthy and inhuman “coping” mechanism that we need to leave behind as a mature society. We need to grow up and face the real “monster in the closet” that is the suffering of humanity and the shared human threat of institutionalized hate.
We need to spend more time with our hearts and remember that our fellow beings aren’t just numbers. So as they read the names, I saw them in front of my eyes. The brothers and the sisters, the mothers and the fathers, the loners, the brave, the desperate, and most of all the helpless children – as I listened to each name – I saw their lives extinguished one by one like the flames of candles.
Over 6 million… human beings. And every one – was somebody. They weren’t a number, they weren’t a statistic, they weren’t a “fiction,” and they weren’t just “victims.” Each one was a HUMAN BEING. Each one was a person whose life was stolen by institutionalized hate.
In the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum’s Hall of Remembrance, where the names of those murdered were read on April 21, phrases from the Torah have been placed on the walls. One was from Deuteronomy 30:19, concluding “Choose Life – that you and your offspring shall live.” Until we accept the value of our fellow human beings and show love to each other, we will continue to fail to grasp this fundamental message in choosing life over institutionalized hate, choosing life over denial of human suffering, and choosing life over craven indifference to our fellow human beings. In choosing life, we also recognize that our lives do not begin and end with just our own personal happiness, but extend to our responsibilities to love our fellow human beings as our neighbors, brothers, and sisters in humanity. We have a choice – we must choose life in humanity loving our fellow human beings. Choose life and choose love.
When humanity is threatened by institutionalized hate of its universal human rights, it is our responsibility to speak out. It is our responsibility to act in defending the human rights of our fellow human beings. If we choose life as part of the human race, then we must share the obligations and responsibilities in protecting the human rights of our brotherhood and sisterhood of humanity.
“Silence is death” is the message of the North Korea Freedom Coalition that is also remembering an estimated 3 million North Koreans that have died under North Korea’s brutal dictatorial regime since the mid-1990s, and who continue to die today. Again – every one… was somebody – they were a human being.
The North Korea Freedom Coalition is holding a rally at the West front of the U.S. Capitol in Washington DC on Tuesday April 28 at 12 noon; it will have a North Korea genocide exhibit on display. The North Korea Freedom Coalition is trying to remind us that the genocide of humanity continues to happen today. This rally is part of “North Korea Freedom Week,” which is a series of events planned in the Washington DC metropolitan area to raise awareness about the North Korean totalitarian government’s attack on humanity.
Many in America’s governmental leadership are deeply concerned about the efforts of the North Korean government and its leader Kim Jong Il in developing nuclear weapons. Our diplomats have sought to negotiate with North Korea on these tactical security issues of grave importance. But we will never have any type of security that isn’t built on a foundation of respecting the universal human rights of equality and liberty. We will never successfully negotiate a “security” position with a Communist nation like North Korea while it starves its people, denies them human rights, and holds its citizens in concentration camps. We will never successfully achieve “peace for our times” with North Korea while it holds humanity’s fundamental rights in contempt.
While many of us say “Never Again” to the Holocaust, in fact genocide is happening again – in North Korea, in Sudan, and in many parts of the world. This is why we must accept the lesson that “Never Again” means promoting love for our fellow members of humanity and their universal human rights.
On Sunday April 26, I was privileged to join supporters of the North Korea Freedom Foundation at a candlelight vigil at the International Calvary Church in Springfield, Virginia – a suburb of Washington DC in Northern Virginia. If you ever want to meet a group of people who truly “fear no evil,” this is where to find them. They held a candlelight vigil to remember and pray for North Koreans who have been beaten to death and publicly executed, and the policies of North Korea and Communist China that have resulted in the murder of these individuals. Like the names read out at the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum, each one murdered was also somebody – each one was a human being whose life was also stolen by institutionalized hate – Lol Kil Sung, Ms. Ko Mae Hwa’s daughter, Lee Ock, Kim Jin Ock, Sohn In Kuk, and many others, including countless others we don’t know if they are alive or dead.
At the vigil and prayer service, I was privileged to see defectors who stood fearlessly to show their commitment to human rights, and I was privileged to meet a true champion of human rights, Suzanne Scholte, who has led the efforts of the North Korea Freedom Foundation coalition in campaigning for human rights in North Korea. At a banner in the International Calvary Church, its members are told to “Love Neighbor,” even as thousands of their neighbors are indifferent to the suffering of the millions of North Koreans. As many testified on April 26 during the vigil and service, the answer to the institutionalized hate of the suffering North Korean people – is love. Love is the universal language of humanity.
Many believe that Communist totalitarianism in North Korea, Communist China, and other nations is about statist “control,” not hate. This confusion shows how much we still have to learn as human beings about our shared responsibility for the universal human rights of equality and liberty. Just like Hitler’s Nazi Germany, Communist totalitarianism also hates humanity. Communist totalitarianism hates humanity because it completely rejects the truth of humanity’s universal human right to liberty. Communist totalitarianism doesn’t hate because it controls — it controls because of its hate and contempt for humanity’s most fundamental right of liberty.
Institutionalized hate seeks to control human beings and deny their universal human rights of equality and liberty, because love is really a dangerous thing for them. If you love your fellow human being, how can you deny their equality, their liberty, their freedom? Institutionalized hate can’t tolerate such love, because when people start loving each other then they will start calling for each other’s human rights, and institutionalized hate just can’t have that.
Now as someone with a degree in political science, I will tell you that we political science types have fancy names for the different shades of institutionalized hate. We like to call such institutionalized hate names such as totalitarianism, supremacism, and whatever-you-want-to-call-it “ism.” I know that I do it, and that’s what happens when you get a political science degree. We do that because the study of political science is to understand diverse political systems, behavior, and philosophies – and that is how we catalog variations of institutionalized hate. What we don’t do is universally recognize such anti-humanity ideologies of repression as institutionalized hate.
But as a human being, I will also state that there really is no meaningful difference between the shades of institutionalized hate, no matter what we want to call it. As human beings, we must not get caught up only in the detailed political science argument or the right-left argument, and miss this fundamental point. There is no real difference between “right wing” hate and “left wing” hate; there is no difference between “racial” or “religious” hate. There is no difference between the atrocities of the Nazis or the atrocities of the Communists. Murder is murder. Hate is hate. Institutionalized hate is the same – no matter what political, racial, social, or religious label that it chooses to wear. Institutionalized hate is the common enemy of all of humanity.
This is why we can’t “choose our battles” when defying institutionalized hate. An attack on our human rights anywhere is an attack on our human rights everywhere. When we believe that we can only care about the human rights of those like us, or only those whose cause we find appealing, then we miss the point. It is our consistent responsibility for equality and liberty and our consistent commitment to love our fellow human beings that is the foundation for challenging institutionalized hate. We cannot love one another, and be indifferent to institutionalized hate in areas that are “not our cause.” Our love for humanity, like our human rights of equality and liberty, must be universal. So must be our action in defying those who would deny such universal human rights.
For example, many people would rather ignore that Communist China practices such institutionalized hate of humanity through its denial of universal human rights. It is terribly inconvenient for many people, and certainly inconvenient for many business interests. Communist China’s history of Communist totalitarianism, repression, concentration camps, and brutal treatment of its citizens is an inconvenient truth for many Americans who depend on products and goods developed by a repressed Chinese people who are denied such universal human rights. Turning a blind eye to Communist China’s atrocities is a good “business” practice for many.
Too many ignore the Communist Chinese government’s history of murdering 20 to 80 million of its own citizens through Mao Zedong’s policies of repression, the Communist Chinese government democide, and Mao’s intimidation of dissent leading to murderous famines resulting from the “Great Leap Forward.” In Mao: The Unknown Story, Jung Chang and Jon Halliday estimate that perhaps 27 million people died in prisons and labor camps during Mao Zedong’s rule. Once again, every one… was somebody – they were a human being.
Too many ignore the Communist Chinese government’s Laogai forced labor concentration camps that continue to exist today, which the Laogai Research Foundation states there are 1,045 such concentration camps holding an estimated 6.8 million prisoners. I challenge those who believe in human freedom to look at the map of these Communist Chinese concentration camps and say that we believe in “Never Again.” I challenge those who believe that such concentration camps exist only in history to visit the Laogai Museum, located at 1109 M St. NW, Washington DC, and see the reality for themselves.
Too many ignore the endless series of atrocities from Communist China – the organ harvesting of prisoners, the forced abortions, and the affront to the dignity of human bodies by selling and displaying human corpses. Too many believe that human rights in Communist China are not a priority for America’s foreign policy objectives.
I ask you – would you buy a product labeled “Made in Nazi Germany”? If not, then why is it any DIFFERENT for a product “Made in Communist China”? We need to recall our ambassadors of denial, ignorance, and amorality from representing America in globalism. We need to restore conscience to capitalism. “Never Again” does begin with love for humanity and our consistent responsibility for its universal human rights.
Twenty years ago, in 1989, something important happened in Communist China. Something happened that we must never ever forget. In the capital city of Beijing and in other parts of Communist China, its citizens began to call for freedom on April 14, 1989. For a time, the power of human freedom was rekindled in the hearts of the Chinese people. From April 14 through June 4, 1989, protests were held for freedom around China and in a place known as Tiananmen Square. To those of you who are old enough remember, I hope that the very words “Tiananmen Square” make your heart ache and make your eyes water. We must remember the Tiananmen Square where students of freedom stood up to Communist soldiers, where students of freedom chose to go on a hunger strike, and where students erected a brief statue to liberty that looked so achingly like our own. We must remember the Tiananmen Square where those who stood for the love of humanity’s universal rights of freedom paid the ultimate price for defying hate, and many died on June 3 and 4, 1989. Finally, we must remember the Tiananmen Square where, on June 5, 1989, a solitary man stood against a row of tanks. One fearless hero of freedom loved his fellow man and his country that much. One unarmed man stood with nothing but his defense of freedom.
Some things you never forget.
So it saddens my heart, during this time of remembrance of those who stood against institutionalized hate in Communist China, to see so many who seem to be so readily willing to forget.
On May 5, at the Washington DC embassy of the ironically named “People’s Republic of China,” an organization named the Institute for Education (IFE) is holding a “Civility Award” cocktail reception and dinner at this Communist Chinese embassy. The IFE seeks to “foster civility” and “intercultural understanding.” Tickets to the dinner at the Communist Chinese embassy cost between $1,000 and $50,000. According to the IFE, a series of notable individuals are listed as confirmed “opinion leaders” who will be attending this exercise in “civility” with the Communist Chinese ambassador at the embassy. You will no doubt recognize many of the names listed by the IFE: Tom Friedman (The New York Times), Bob Woodward, David Broder (The Washington Post), Eleanor Clift (Newsweek), Ed Henry (CNN), Judy Woodruff (PBS), John Harwood (CNBC), Jerry Seib and Gerard Baker (The Wall Street Journal), Morton Kondracke (Roll Call), Hugo Gurdon (The Hill), Juan Williams, Jim Angle, and Jennifer Griffin (FOX News), Norm Ornstein (American Enterprise Institute), and Congressman Mark Kirk.
If this doesn’t give you an idea of the depth of our bipartisan, national problem in consistently being responsible for equality and liberty, I don’t what will.
The adults going to the May 5 cocktail reception and dinner at the Communist Chinese embassy aren’t some young teenagers who never heard about the Tiananmen Square massacre of 20 years ago. Most of them remember – all of them know. More importantly, they know better.
The IFE will argue that this cocktail reception and dinner is to spread “civility.” I disagree. It sends yet another signal of legitimizing and appeasement to the leaders of oppression. It sends yet another message that we will ignore the institutionalized hate that Chinese Communist leaders have for the universal human rights of humanity.
I argue that there is nothing civil about having cocktails with representatives of a Communist totalitarian nation that has over 1,000 concentration camps today. There is nothing civil about legitimizing those who support oppression and those who have contempt for humanity’s fundamental human right of liberty. The civil answer to offers to socialize with totalitarians is “no, thank you, not until you recognize human rights.” I would hope that the “opinion leaders” listed by the IFE come to this conclusion, and I urge you to contact them and ask them to publicly boycott this event on May 5. Perhaps they could truly serve as opinion leaders on issues that really matter.
I can still be civil and speak for human equality, liberty, and justice. You will see me doing so on June 4 at the Communist Chinese embassy. But I will be outside, on the street, where I belong – with free people, not inside legitimizing totalitarianism. I will be outside remembering those millions who have lost their lives to Communist China and remembering those who lost their lives in the 1989 Tiananmen Square massacre. I will be outside the Communist Chinese embassy as I was on June 4, 1989 in support of the Chinese martyrs for freedom then. I hope you will join me. We are all responsible for equality and liberty.
Civility truly does matter – but it starts with love for your fellow human being. If you love your fellow human being, then you have no choice but to defy those who would hate them, and you have no choice but to defy institutionalized hate of the universal human rights of equality and liberty.
If we must defy hate with love, we must not even hate the oppressors in their civil war against humanity itself.
The cancer of hate attacks all who are touched by hate, even those who advocate it. In the disease of hate against humanity, the practitioners of hate are also victims themselves. That is why we must pray for and we must plead with them to see the error of their ways. We must seek them to end their institutionalized hate against humanity and rejoin the family of human beings. In challenging institutionalized hate, we must acknowledge the humanity of even the oppressors and the hatemongers, and it is with our love of humanity that we plead for them to change.
We must also acknowledge that those who are indifferent to such human suffering are also in our family of humanity. While we may be hurt by their indifference, we must consistently show our love to remind them that they are our brothers and sisters in humanity.
Love is the foundation of all human rights. None of us should claim to have all of the answers to humanity’s problems. But we know that the answer to most problems starts with love.
You intuitively know what’s right. Your children know what’s right. You know what is right begins with love. Your heart knows that our love for each other is the foundation of our natural human rights. We need to start listening to our own hearts. By loving our fellow human beings, we find no choice but to defend their human rights. We need to find the courage to make ourselves consistently responsible for such human rights in our lives.
We are all part of something bigger than ourselves – the human race. No matter our religion (or lack thereof), no matter our race, no matter our gender, national origin, etc., we are all human beings. We are all part of one family of humanity. You don’t choose your family of humanity. It includes those who are brave and those who are afraid. It includes those who seek freedom and those who oppress. Regardless of all of their differences, they remain your family of humanity. We are all a part of each other. When you hate members of your family, you hate a part of yourself. Hate is never an answer to hate. Indifference is never an answer to indifference.
There is only one answer to hate and indifference towards the universal rights of your family of humanity – the answer is love.
Ultimately, Love Wins.
For details of what you can do in our common cause, see RealCourage.org.