The Nazis of Korean Peninsula
A North Korean named Kim Gwang-il spent two years in his country’s prison camp, eventually escaping to South Korea. The sufferings he and others endured inside the camp were depicted in a sketch, which showed how the prisoners were held in stressful positions and how they were starved enough, to eat snakes and mice. Mr. Kim, one of the 80 defectors, testified before a commission of inquiry (COI) set up by the UN’s Human Rights Council, said that sketches was nowhere nearly as graphic as the reality of the prison camp.
When the Allied nations defeated Germany and entered all those concentration camps, they were horrified by what they saw. In those days, nations said that they had no way of knowing the extent of the crimes. But, today even in the Internet age, many nations do not care about what’s happening or happened in countries like North Korea, Sri Lanka. May be the lives of these people are not as valuable as the headlines-garnering Ukraine or Crimea crisis. But, surprisingly the UN has produced a report entitled “Commission of Inquiry on Human Rights in the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea,” which strongly points out the depraved nature of North Korean leader Kim’s regime, drawing parallels with the crimes committed by Nazis and their allies in the Second World War.
For decades, authors and journalists have consistently tried to talk about the denial of basic human rights for North Koreans. However, Kim (before Kim, his father) have repeatedly steered the Western nation’s intense looks one way or other. The one great advantage for Kim, for these past years, is the support of China. China has the penchant for disliking anyone, who talks about human rights. May be it is thinking, ‘What if I condone the abuses in North Korea or Sri Lanka, which in time might invite scrutiny on my own country?’ If you could look from the inhumane perspective of huge global player China, it might seem sensible. China is supporting North Korea in the form of oil and food shipments – vital things for the survival of Kim’s government. Apart from this help, Chinese officials near the border, apprehend and repatriate North Koreans who illegally enter China.
The inquiry chairman of the UN commission was a retired Australian Judge, Mr. Michael Kirby. His detailed report (372 pages) has documented crimes including murder, torture, slavery, rape and other sexual violence, and persecution for political, religious and racial reasons. The main targets of the Kim regime’s cruelties are the Christians and groups promoting other subversive beliefs; people trying to flee the country; and finally politicians. The number of imprisoned politicians alone is said to be between 80,000 and 120,000. Among those prisoners, who fled from the camps, one inmate recounted that his duties involved is to burn the bodies of those who had starved to death and using their remains as fertilizer. One particularly disturbing part of the report is said to be the experiences of pregnant women who are forced to return from China. When it is believed that they are pregnant from a Chinese man (which conflicts from the regime’s idea of racial purity) forced abortions are held or else surgical procedures are conducted without anesthetic, and at times they also drown the newborn baby.
The North Korean government neither cooperated with the investigation, nor allowed any of the panel members into North Korea. The countries’ diplomatic mission in Geneva, later said that such abuses “do not exist in our country,” and called the report as an “instrument of a political plot aimed at sabotaging the socialist system.” The UN commission recommended that the International Criminal Court in Hague take up this case. But, seeing Kim Jong-un and his cronies brought to trial for human rights abuses is not at all possible. As I previously mentioned, North Korea’s ally, China sees the words “crimes against humanity” as some kind of tool or weapon, the Western nations use to persecute them.
Despite all these atrocities, the latest bizarre news from North Korea is the ‘Dear Leader’ haircut. The state-run TV channel is said to have launched a campaign against long hair recently (following the shaved sides look of Kim), declaring: “Let us trim our hair in accordance with the Socialist lifestyle.” Last year, Nuclear-missile tests; last month, the North Korean elections; and now these bizarre reports from TV channels. It looks like we are seeing an Orwellian vision of totalitarian government, but for its unlucky inhabitants, the country is independent men’s vision of hell.