So.... I entered a poetry contest
I doubt I’ll win but anyway, it’s about this man.
I wrote this poem for my English class. It is written from /his/ perspective and recounts his struggle in life after escaping the camp.
If you want to read it, here’s the link. Evolution. If you do read it, please message me, anon or not, and let me know what you think (:
Media trivialisation of North Korea masks the horrific extent of its crimes against humanity
Jack Hands 10.25am
The North Korean state is responsible for systematically carrying out some of the darkest crimes against humanity this world has ever seen. Yet media and political reaction to the latest diplomatic tensions has predictably focused very little on the regime’s horrific human rights record.
The trivialisation of the North Korean problem is characterised by the media focusing on the quasi-religious cult of Kim Jong Un, its mythical propaganda induced tales and the enormous, grandiose public gatherings and predictable rhetorical flares of staged hatred against the United States. Recently, the escalating tensions and the restoration of its nuclear weapons programme have seen the eyes of the world focus on North Korea’s potential threat to peace.
North Korea relishes this of course. If the regime has proven anything since the end of the Korean War in 1953 – a war which never officially ended, it has shown it is adept at strategically turning up the tension to help consolidate its own power.
North Korea’s shadowy elite are fully aware that with its military-first policy backed up with a nuclear threat, it would be foolish for its enemies and indeed the world’s media not to take any such threat seriously - however unlikely and self-defeating of its own interests launching an all out war would be.
It does so because it knows it is an effective tactic in diverting attention away from its domestic failings, human rights abuses and crucially in consolidating the position of the insecure leadership of the young Kim Jong Un. Therefore, North Korean aggression acts as the perfect smokescreen and diversion tactic for the regime’s real aim, self-preservation.
This is shown by the regime’s extreme sensitivity to the discussion of its horrific human rights record. In our own Parliament, as at the United Nations, any attempts to raise human rights abuses have been met with emphatic, aggressive responses. The UN General Assembly and Human Rights Council have tabled several resolutions on the matter and on 21 March announced they will be setting up an official UN Commission of Inquiry on North Korea Human Rights abuses, a significant move.
It is estimated there are five political prison camps called “Kwan-Li-So” in which an estimated 200,000-300,000 prisoners are today incarcerated. That figure is growing.
While many people are aware of the political prison camps there is a lack of coverage about their extremity. These are no ordinary state-driven crimes against its people; these camps are quite possibly the worst state-led systematic abuse of human rights anywhere in the world.
A report by Christian Solidarity Worldwide tracking known prisoners show some of the horrors, these people face. Take, Keum Joo Huh, a 29-year-old female Taekwando teacher who was sent to a camp for ‘collective punishment’ over her mother’s illegal job of brokering for those searching for family members that had been separated by the war. Keum Joo died from malnutrition in May 2002.
Shin who was born in the camp, and like Keum Joo Huh his only crime was being born into a family seen as politically dangerous. Crime by association is an effective tool in suppressing enemies which helps to explain how the North Korean regime has lasted for so long in comparison to other authoritarian rules. Mass torture, starvation, rape, killings, slave labour are a daily experience for prisoners. Nor is there any discrimination between the old, young, healthy or sick. These are crimes against humanity, yet still coverage focuses predominantly on the trivialisation of Kim Jong Un.
The UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Navi Pillay, rightly said in January that the huge issue of North Korea’s nuclear program should not be allowed to completely overshadow the horrendous human rights situation, which “has no parallel anywhere else in the world,” and where “self-imposed isolation has allowed the government to mistreat it citizens to a degree that should be unthinkable in the 21st century.”
George Orwell once observed, “The war is not meant to be won, it is meant to be continuous. Hierarchical society is only possible on the basis of poverty and ignorance“.
In isolationist North Korea, people are forced to believe this but in the West we have the freedom to see beyond. We have the power to make the world’s people and governments to deplore these crimes and place this issue at the top of the agenda in future diplomatic talks. Put simply, we need to provide the voice for the voiceless.
Only one position that makes my stomachache bearable. Like I’m lying in bed right now. It looks ridiculous but I can’t do anything about it. I look like a weeping, wrinkly, pathetic worm.
Whenever I feel uncomfortable, I call my parents. They’re not home. I’m waiting.. So I’m writing this post.
Last week, I went to an art museum in Zürich calles Kunsthaus. I suddenly remembered going there with my kindergarten class. We had a Claude Monet week or something. When I saw this painting, memories flashed back. I sat there for a while beholding the water lillies. As a kid, I didn’t know anything about how beautiful it in fact is.
After a few minutes, I felt like in the new James Bond movie where 007 waits for Q to secretly bring him the gun and plane tickets to Shanghai. That was a cool feeling. Then I started fantasizing about how to steal this painting like in one of the Ocean’s movies. I looked at the security thingies on the ceiling and imagined the painting being protected by a laser huddle during the night. Then I’d have to wear a tight black costume to sneak my way through.
Shin Dong Hyuk
A North Korean refugee. He was born in Camp 14, an internment camp. Due to the “3-Generation-Punishment”, he hasn’t seen anything outside the camp where he grew up and lived for 24 years. Freedom, equality, human rights. Some word he has never heard of or even knew how it works. Not even has he seen people wearing different clothes than the prison uniform. At the age of 14, he was forced to watch his mother and brother being executed. After starving and getting beaten up for his entire life, he decides to escape at the age of 24. He describes the outer world as heaven since he has never seen a different world than the bounded and highly controlled camp before. While watching a documentary about his life (there are some on youtube) I had to cry like a retarded baby.
When you watch a video called “BORN AND RAISED IN CONCENTRATION CAMP” (provided by Google Tech Talks), there’s a speech at the beginning by Adrian Hong that takes like 30 minutes or something. I highly recommend everyone to watch it. After talking about the situation in North Korea, he talks about helping others in general. Something that impresses me my whole life through are altruistic, selfless people. People who use their intelligence and privilege not to rule but give love and help others.
The reporter asks if he is happy now that he lives in South Korea and is able to eat whatever and whenever he wants. He says that deeply, he’s not happy. And he will never be. Everytime he’s laughing and having fun with his friends, whenever he is eating a delicate dinner, he’s conscious about that the people he left behind struggle the same tragedy every single day. It’s because he has seen the reality. I mean, how can he forget?
His real name however is not Dong-Hyuk. He simply took the name of the certain reporter that helped him immigrate to South Korea. Due to tensions between North Korea, South Korea and China back then, the reporter got fired. But a more important fact than that, he saved a life.
The lazy days are over!
I’m going to New York on Thursday. I will try to make a video there because I’m missing video classes. I hope my stomachache will be gone until then..
No songs today.. Recommend me some good songs! And tell me about your inspirational moments. Make me cryyyyy!
North Korean Defector
TONIGHT at 7:30 EST on 60 Minutes, Anderson Cooper will be sitting down with North Korean defector Shin Dong Hyuk to talk about his experiences in the hermit kingdom and how he escaped. Here’s a preview.