Human Rights,  International,  Media

Brown and the worried Wired World

“We’re at a unique moment in history. We can use today’s interconnectedness to develop our shared global ethic — and work together to confront the challenges of poverty, security, climate change and the economy”

This is what Prime Minister Gordon Brown said in an address to TED, an organisation devoted to “ideas worth spreading”.

It’s the most prime-ministerial I’ve seen him. Inspiring even. It’s a quarter-hour address well worth watching.

It is easy to get carried away with the moment and hard not to respond to the emotional buttons Mr Brown could not avoid pressing. It is true that Internet and cellular technologies have amplified the voices – the screams – of millions of people suffering. It is that much harder today to avert ones gaze and to block one’s ears.

He tells the story of a 10-year old Rwandan boy called David who died in the genocide that claimed over a million lives. He was tortured to death. The last words he said to his mother, who was also being tortured, were: “Don’t worry, the United Nations is coming.”  The sneering murderers knew then as we know now: they never came.

“There is a moral sense that not only do we share the pain of others… but that we have a duty to act when we see things wrong that need to be righted, injuries that need to be corrected and problems that need to be rectified,” he says. It’s not the most elegant or poetic way of putting it, but it does point to a principle. The strong have a duty to intercede on behalf of the weak.

Too often, we are paralysed with doubt. We stagger backwards after body blow after body blow by isolationists on the Right and moral relativists on the Left. We do nothing at first, and when we do something it is too late or what we do is not enough. This in itself is taken as proof we should have done nothing.

“Don’t worry, the United Nations are coming” is a phrase that warlords and murderers should fear. It should not be – and never should have been – an idle threat, a threat to be mocked and ridiculed by killers and terrorists over the bodies of their victims.

We have long since reached the moment to call ‘time’ on the United Nations, that absurd and grotesque organisation that rubber-stamps oppression, puts the most monstrous offenders on Human Rights committees and allows countries run by criminal gangsters to form blocs to block any concerted action against the enemies of Humanity. A new coalition of Democracies will be needed if Gordon Brown’s inspiring words ever move from video podcast to the real-world.

The millions broadcasting their suffering via the Internet and capturing their stories on cellular phones will use the same technology to watch us. We should not forget that this is a two-way technology. It is push and it is pull.  They can see what we are doing, so let’s make what we do meaningful. Let it be more than words.