Despite what some of you half-dozen people who actually read my blog might think, I'm actually a very mild-mannered guy. Sure, I abuse Roh Moo-hyun once in a while but my barbs are basically good-natured.
However, I came across Anne Applebuam's article "See no evil, stop not evil" a few days ago that really hit home. A search and a few clicks later, I came across this report by the U.S. Committee for Human Rights in North Korea.
Here are some highlights:
Political Penal Labor Colonies kwan-li-so
In political penal-labor colonies known as kwan-li-so, tens of thousands of political prisoners are banished and work as slaves in mining, logging and farming enterprises. Along with the political prisoners, up to three generations of their families also are banished without trial—usually for lifetime sentences.
Ethnic Infanticide and Forced Abortion
Perhaps the report’s most shocking finding is that repatriated pregnant women imprisoned in the jip-kyul-so are subjected to forced abortion. In the cases of advanced pregnancy, babies were killed immediately after birth. The goal of the regime is to eliminate children that may have been fathered by Han Chinese men.
Detention Centers Near China Border for Repatriated North Koreans jip-kyul-so
....Returning North Koreans are sent to the jip-kyul-so detention centers, police station jails and other facilities where they are interrogated and tortured to reveal information about contact with South Koreans, Christian missionaries, or exposure to television and radio programs, movies or music produced in South Korea – all deemed political offenses. While prisoners in jip-kyul-so generally have short sentences, usually not more than six months, they have extremely high death rates from inadequate food and excessively hard labor.
There's more. Go to their web page and read some of The Hidden Gulag(pdf file).
"Terminate three generations of the seed of reactionaries." That is the North Korean policy towards those who are not politically correct (something that I'm sure anti-free speech groups at Berkley wish they had the power to do). There is more documentation out there than I can go over. Just check out a few of these testimonials.
Since it is becoming apparent that the Korean government is cracking down on those who would protest against the Norks, and Kim Jong-il will eventually get a regime-saving deal, is seems that the North Korean government will be around for a long time.
But change will eventually come to North Korea. And it won't be gradual (Side note: anyone who thinks that the Norks would ever voluntarily give up power in a unified Korea deserves to be taken out back and pistol-whipped, and they would be in North Korea). When change comes, it will be a revolution. The world will try to keep the North Korea government propped up as long as possible but the revolution will come one day. I don't know when, but it will happen just as sure as the Moon rolls around the Earth. I don't know what will happen when the revolution comes but I have a few ideas:
When the revolution comes, there won't be enough lamp posts in Pyongyang for all the government officials that are going to get strung up. 100% this will happen. After killing tens of thousands of political prisoners in "work" camps, killing up to two million more in a famine they cause and making life in North Korea a living hell, I don't expect that the leaders of North Korea will get much sympathy from their people.
When the revolution comes, those North Korean cheerleaders won't look so good. All of those cheerleaders are communist party functionaries and loyal supporters of the Kim Jong-il Regime. As such, they will be lucky to escape the fate of their masters. At the very least, they will be remembered as a pretty face pasted on an ugly system. They might cheer for unification but their real purpose is to dupe South Koreans into propping Kim Jong-il and his cronies up.
When the revolution comes, any member of Hanchongryon stupid enough to admit it to a North Korean will promptly get his face pushed in. For most South Koreans the pro-North Korean group Hanchonryon is an irritant. For most expats here they are a joke. But what are they going to say to North Koreans who have suffered so much under the regime that Hanchongryon supports? One hopes that they would close shop soon after the revolution, out of prudence if not shame.
When the revolution comes, a lot of people are going to be deeply ashamed. Remember reading accounts of how people in Germany felt when they were forced to look at the concentration camps? There are a lot of people who will feel the same way after the North is finally opened up.
I hate to say it but I will have to count myself among them. Why? Because I think we should eventually cut a deal with North Korea. It is not because millions of people would die because of war with North Korea; millions of people have already died because we chose peace with North Korea. I support making a deal with North Korea because keeping peace with North Korea means that it will be North Koreans who die, not us. I don't want the young men that I teach dying on a battlefield near Kaesong. I don't want my fiancee's family being killed in a gas or nuclear attack. And frankly, I don't want to be killed either.
So I support making some kind of deal with North Korea. But I recognized that a deal with Kim Jong-il is a deal with the Devil and that by making a deal with him we are sentencing hundreds of thousands, if not millions, more North Koreans to misery and death. That is what a deal with Kim Jong-il is: not peace in our time; not a step towards unification; not hope for the future. It is a death sentence for the people of North Korea and when we make that deal, we will be buying the bullets for the executions. That's all it is.