I met Shin for the first time over Skype, a few days before we’d meet in person. From the video screen, I could look into his eyes and know his life and the horror he has witnessed. You always know those who have been through the same.
For those who do not know Shin Dong-hyuk, he is a remarkable man rich with history similar to mine. He is a North Korean-born human activist who is the only man known to escape from “total-control zone” grade internment camp in N. Korea.
While my story of survival in the Nazi concentration camp spans five years, and was horrific, I can’t help but ache for Shin and his time, around four times more than what I bore.
There’s an atrocity taking place in North Korea. Unspeakable acts. Unspeakable horrors. And, the world remains eerily silent about them. With shockingly similar parallels — a dictator and a military who listen — political concentration camps are filled with reports of between 120,000 and 200,000 people. One camp is the size of Manhattan.
Let’s let that sink in for a moment.
The. Size. Of. Manhattan.
More than ⅔ of the population were born into that life. How? Why?
In the late 1940s (the same time as the Holocaust took place) camps first took in prisoners. Today, there are three generations surviving inside walls no human should ever live within. The ultimate punishment for speaking out isn’t death; it’s living a life filled with torture. With witnessing others torture. With witnessing public executions.
As a Holocaust Survivor and founder of ZACHOR, I’ve made it my mission to make sure the world never forgets, that the conversation about why the Holocaust happened and how we can make sure it doesn’t happen again, is always top of conversation.
But, it’s not working.
Sure, we talk here in the US about the Holocaust Survivors. We talk about Survivors of the genocide in Rwanda. In the former Yugoslavia. We swear up and down we won’t let it happen again.
Only, it is.
Right under our nose.
Why has the world remained silent?
Shin mentioned in our meeting that it isn’t just the bullies, the dictators, those who carry out the wish of the evil, who are to blame for what takes place in our world. It’s also the good people, because even though they aren’t making bad decisions, simply being good isn’t enough.
We have to strive to be more than good. We have to strive to be advocates. To speak UP. To speak OUT.
How does this torture continue in a world today where we have so clearly said “enough.”
Because we don’t speak loud enough for people to take notice.
I ask everyone of you today, SHOUT-OUT. And, then keep shouting out. To the media. To your friends. To your public on social media. Talk about what’s going on in places outside of the safe confines of the four walls you live in. Don’t just be good, be an advocate for change.
We cannot sit idly by as yet another Holocaust takes place, can we?
How can you help?
The problem with WWII era was that everyone was silent. It did not concern them, what happened on the other side of the world. Many students who listen to me or read my book say: “I’m just one person, so what can I do to help make this a more peaceful and tolerant world?”
My answer is always the same: you can go viral. Let your voices be heard. You can SHOUT-OUT for tolerance, against racism, against discrimination, to stop the prejudice in many others. This is exactly why the ZACHOR Holocaust Remembrance Foundation started a movement to let your voices be heard.
Speak up for what you believe in.
We’re looking for 6 million SHOUT-OUTS to compensate for 6 million silences voices. We are hoping that when the press gets a hold of our movement and they see our hundreds of thousands of SHOUT-OUTS (which will remain on our website for generations to come) that they will support and promote it to where we will reach our 6 million and beyond.
Your SHOUT-OUTS will echo beyond borders.
This is something everyone can do, so what are you waiting for? Imagine, your great grandchildren will be able to punch in your name on our site and your SHOUT-OUTS will appear. So take a stand today, enter your name with your SHOUT-OUT and it will be documented for eternity.