Alan Moore.

We all share our sympathies with the people being killed in Libya and those affected by the revolutions in the Middle East. We feel pain whenever we hear about innocent lives snuffed out by evil oppressors.

However, it seems like we forget about North Korea sometimes with the exception of news accounts covering the occasional aggression perpetrated by the Kim Jong-il regime. To lose sight of the atrocities in this Asian country is one of the greatest mistakes of our time.

To be blunt, the only major difference between North Korea and Nazi Germany or Stalinist USSR is geography. And yet no one ever does anything about it aside from the occasional slap on the wrist.

North Korean citizens are facing a starvation epidemic, despite the United Nations food distribution network, which itself may be running dry in a few months. But it’s not because there is no food available.

The government is hoarding in anticipation of a 2012 celebration for the birthday of Kim II-sung, the founder of the police state. The rest of the hoard goes to feed the massive military which is used to keep control of the citizenry. The BBC reports that up to 2 million people have died of starvation since the middle of the 1990s.

For those who don’t starve to death, many die in concentration camps. Estimates of imprisoned Koreans range from 150,000–200,000. Inhabitants, most of whom are held as political prisoners, are tortured and abused in these death camps. Women are used to breed new slaves who remain in these camps — many have never tasted freedom for a minute of their lives.

The regime is also constantly warmongering. They recently shelled a South Korean island, killing four people. In March, they sunk a South Korean ship, killing another 46. The world responded with shock, said some big words and then promptly forgot all about it. North Korea’s continued nuclear program is a constant source of concern.

So what can we do about it? It’s a tricky situation; North Korea is protected by China — a foreign power with enough influence to keep the atrocities going forever. China is the only country with enough influence to make changes. Sadly, getting them to play ball on this matter is almost impossible.

Sanctions don’t work either and any foreign aid never gets to the people. North Korea has built up their military so an invasion is impossible. There’s also nothing to prevent them from killing their own people en masse as a last desperate act to spite a foreign invasion.

This is why the situation has been hopeless for so long and why no one ever does anything about the country that most resembles George Orwell’s dystopia in “1984.”

Sadly, I don’t have the answer. But I do know the first step is to start talking and caring about what is going on in that repressive regime. If good people choose to act then maybe some real change can occur and the Koreans can be freed from the largest prison in the world.