Friday, October 21, 2011

The United Nations on North Korea: It’s the Thought That Counts

When it comes to the United Nations, expecting inanity is like expecting the sun to rise. There’s always a chance it might not happen, but it’s infinitesimal.

Today in particular though, the organization outdid even itself in demonstrating exactly what is wrong with political thought today. The Associated Press reports:

“Wealthier countries need to put aside politics to help millions of North Koreans going hungry from food shortages, the U.N.’ top relief official said Friday, renewing an appeal for assistance that has largely gone unmet.

“Speaking at the end of a five-day visit to North Korea, Valerie Amos, a U.N. undersecretary-general, said millions of North Koreans, particularly children, mothers and pregnant women, need help. The millions of hungry, she said, is borne out by UN data and by what she learned from visits to farms, hospitals and orphanages, as well as from officials.

“People’s diets, she said, consist of rice, maize cabbage, little else and no protein or nutrient rich foods.

“While she acknowledged concerns about whether the authoritarian government diverts food aid or underfunds agriculture, Amos urged donor countries to put the needs of North Koreans ahead of other considerations.

“‘This is about helping the people who are most in need. It’s not about saying that this country has made a choice about spending its resources in one way rather than another. We don’t make those judgments in other countries, on humanitarian grounds. There’s no reason to begin to do it in’ North Korea, Amos told the Associated Press before leaving Pyongyang.”

A recent news story illustrated just how bad things are over there with a photo of two malnourished North Korean children sharing a hospital bed, covered in bright purple marks. Adorable as they still were, the image of them suffering was literally sickening.

Yet even so, there are other factors to be taken into consideration, no matter how much politicians might like to think and act otherwise. The fact that any resources sent probably won’t reach their intended targets poses an enormous problem, as does the fact that, if the relief miraculously does arrive, it will be temporary at best.

It might put people in happy places to pretend otherwise, but politics not only plays a huge part in this disturbing picture, it is the main cause and sustention of it! And until North Korea denounces its poor practices, nothing is really going to change.

The United Nations, as usual, is leading the way by denouncing reality. And, as usual, little good will likely come of it.

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