The decision by the United Nations to lower their flags to half-mast for the death of Kim Jong Il is a vulgar and all-too-predictable display of that global body’s immorality. That an organization ostensibly dedicated to peace and human rights can mourn the death of a brutal dictator who starved an estimated one million of his own people is an offense to common decency and disgraces the UN and the diplomats who ordered the public display of mourning.
Rejoice not when thine enemy falleth, scripture says, and I’m not calling for parades for the death of Kim. It is not good that Kim died because it would have been better had the tyrant never lived. His death cannot bring back all the innocents he brutalized and slaughtered. But to mourn the death of a mass murderer is to inflict the final indignity on his innocent victims by trivializing their deaths. If anything, the flags of the UN should be lowered for the victims of the regime rather than the meglomanical, crazed, bouffant-haired, movie-obsessed, maniac who robbed them of their lives, dignity, and freedom.
Unfortunately, the UN lauding or protecting tyrants has become so commonplace that the story of the public display of mourning barely made news.
I just completed Edmund Morris’ masterful third and last installment of the life of Theodore Roosevelt where the creation of a League of Nations – much discussed by the political leaders of the early twentieth century and finally brought into being by Woodrow Wilson at the conclusion of the first World War – was the culmination of centuries of human longing to have a world body that served to uphold human dignity and freedom. The weakness of the League ultimately led to its dissolution and the outbreak of the Second World War and the creation, at its end, of the United Nations. But even the toothless League didn’t publicly mourn mass-murderers or put people like Kaddafi on its council for human rights. These and so many other actions have led a majority of American citizens to wonder why our hard-earned tax money is funding a full fifth of the UN budget. And if these are its morals, should it continue to be headquartered on US soil? What New Yorker wants to drive on 1st Avenue by the East River and see a global tribute to one of the world’s most evil men?
How would we Americans feel if, after the death of Osama bin Laden, random nations around the world lowered their flags to mourn his loss. Surely that is the way every Korean who continues to suffer under the world’s most brutal regime – including South Korea which continues to live under constant nuclear taunts from the North – must feel when they see the United Nations lamenting the fall of their murderer.
The UN has long been compromised by its inability to identify, rally against, and defy evil. That is bad enough. But celebrating evil has brought even this curious international organization to a shameful new low.
Shmuley Boteach, “America’s Rabbi,” was the London Times Preacher of the Year at the Millennium and is the author, most recently, of Ten Conversations You Need to Have with Yourself. (Wiley) In January he will publish Kosher Jesus. Follow him on Twitter @RabbiShmuley.