Wednesday, July 30, 2008

North Korea's misery

This story was in the news today:

U.N.: Millions at risk in N.K. food crisis

And this isn't the first time.

North Korea routinely inflicts famine on its people while spending 25% of its GDP on its 1.2 million man military, all in the interests of preserving perhaps the most repressive government in the world.

The people of North Korea have no freedom of thought, let alone political freedom. Their government subjects them to a constant barrage of propaganda demonizing the West and mythologizing the "Dear Leader", Kim Jong Il (who lives in luxury and promotes a personality cult rivaling that of Big Brother). Hundreds of thousands of people languish in prison camps where they are starved, tortured, and worked to death, simply for being "class enemies".

The picture above is telling; North Korea is so backwards, they can't even afford to keep the lights on, while their vibrant neighbor below has become one of the richest economies in Asia. The continued existence of the North Korean regime is a travesty.

Unfortunately, there's very little we in the West can do about it. A war has the potential to be devastating and costly, even without the use of nuclear weapons.

The best outcome would be for the North Korean people themselves to rise up and overthrow Kim Jong Il, but it would be a mistake to underestimate the effect decades of indoctrination has had on them. Getting an accurate picture of North Korea from the inside is very tricky, due to the government's secrecy and tight control of information. But it seems as though most North Koreans have very little awareness of the world around them. It's sad that any people could be made to believe that the brutal repression and total deprivation that passes for life in North Korea is as good as it gets.

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