With their first commemoration of the Holocaust yesterday, the UN has demonstrated they are capable of viewing the atrocities of our history and respecting the importance of those violations. They did this not only by commemorating the Holocaust but also by concluding the session in only a day, whereas similar gatherings often last for days at a time.
There could be an argument that such a commemoration should have taken place long before now and that the lack of such recognition indicates a failure on the part of the world to adequately respond to crimes against humanity. This is an instance, however, where people need to acknowledge the occasion, and not rush to remind governments around the globe they are still far behind where they need to be in protecting their citizens.
In a world overflowing with bitterness and anger for all the right reasons (i.e. war, starvation, poverty, disease and genocide), it’s easy to point fingers at every government official in a suit and blame them for the state of things. Part of the reason this is so easy, is a lot of these people actually deserve a good part of the blame.
Another reason has more to do with the fact that we’ve grown so accustomed to holding these people and institutions accountable, that we can’t conceive of developing any type of trust in them. The most popular recipient of this criticism is the United States, and it will likely remain that way for some time. Whether it’s because foreign countries think George W. Bush is an incompetent baffoon or that the U.S. is the epicenter of elitism and materialism, outsiders will always focus the majority of their frustration on the world’s wealthiest country.
Maybe the best reason people come down on the U.S. is because, as a wealthy, democratic and capitalist society, its government should have a better handle on how to make the world work together. At least, if there were a greater effort on their part, there might be a more unified sense of optimism. That said, this isn’t just about bashing our neighbours to the south. No, the world has had more than enough time to clear out its conflicting political ideologies and figure out how to integrate itself into a productive global village.
This isn’t suggesting we all follow the same system of government or religion. Afterall, diversity is what should be helping to make the world into a more beautiful place; we get an idea of this on a smaller scale in Montreal. However, the major problem has stemmed from the reluctance of many countries to make necessary sacrifices to work with other countries that haven’t been willing to modify their systems to work within a peaceful coalition. But it seems like a change might be on the horizon.
When thinking back to the Holocaust, or the Rwandan Genocide of 1994 the lack of attention they received and the way that the entire world failed to respond, there has been a significant improvement in terms of the light being shone on the plight of the third world. The tsunami disaster has served to put media attention on the affected areas, and will hopefully reveal other problems that plague the region after the initial catastrophe has been dealt with.
There has also been increased coverage of the crisis in the Sudan, as society is finally provided with the opportunity to become more informed from mainstream media. It can only be hoped that this will spark some form of chain reaction that will draw attention to similar problems in the world.
If these efforts by government are being made simply to pull the wool over our eyes, they surely won’t succeed in blinding the critical and untrusting society that exists in Canada. Hopefully, that won’t prove to be the case, as an opportunity such as this probably won’t present itself again for a good long while.