There is no doubt about it, we live in a perplexing and frightening world. As soon as our attention has been alerted to one or other event taking place somewhere in the world (and more often than not it is in the Middle East) then something even more alarming crops up elsewhere. Sometimes it seems best to merely shut our ears and close our eyes and leave it to the experts to resolve (which is what most of us end up doing), except that would be irresponsible, especially given the experts are incapable of sorting out the mess. While there may not be much we can do, we should at least be aware of what is going on and in my experience knowledge may inspire us to do something positive. At least that is how I see it and trying to understand is part of my global brand of community activism.
When news recently reached us that North Korea had claimed its first hydrogen bomb test (we have known for some time of its nuclear capability), it got our attention and not just by the aftershocks felt by neighbours. Given the almost universal condemnation that followed, including by those regarded as allies, we were made to realize this was something serious. Moreover, is not North Korea run my a crazy, despotic, Communist dictator, that feels it is no big deal to consign his subjects to poverty and to imprison and execute any who he considers as standing in his way, and should not this raise concerns? And given Labour has just appointed as its defence spokesman someone in favour of scrapping the UK nuclear capability, does it not beg the question what one is to do if North Korea were to use these awful weapons?
I will leave it to pundits more expert than I in the politics of the region to deliberate on the implications of this new development, which anyone looking on ought to have seen coming. The call to impose sanctions on North Korea is unlikely to achieve much, given the one regime with the biggest interest (China) will likely continue to support North Korea and therefore will unlikely be following suit. A major reason is the classic conundrum on who has the greater power in the region and it is unlikely that China would want to yield that power to USA who would love to see a North Korea being re-united with the democratic and relatively prosperous South. Meanwhile the rest of the world looks on with concern and countless numbers of North Korea’s citizens continue to suffer. Not least and of special interest to me at least, is that persecution of Christians looks set to be not just something we see in many parts of the Muslim world and parts of India with a militant Hindu majority but in North Korea too. As for me, I will continue to watch and pray!