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England or N. Korea?


PVTony

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I thought I had a good idea of what was going on in North Korea until I listened to Michael Kirby, Chair of the UN Commission, interviewed on Al-Jazeera TV today. It was a gripping account and truly shocking in its depiction of the scale and cruelty of the North Korean regime. Here is a flavour of the UN report, just published:

 

"These crimes against humanity entail extermination, murder, enslavement, torture, imprisonment, rape, forced abortions and other sexual violence, persecution on political, religious, racial and gender grounds, the forcible transfer of populations, the enforced disappearance of persons and the inhumane act of knowingly causing prolonged starvation,” the report says, adding that “Crimes against humanity are ongoing in the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea because the policies, institutions and patterns of impunity that lie at their heart remain in place.”

 

The Commission's findings have been referred to the International Court of Human Rights in the Hague on the grounds that the regime's leadership should be indicted.

 

The UN's summary of the report can be found at:

 

http://www.ohchr.org/EN/NewsEvents/Pages/DisplayNews.aspx?NewsID=14255&LangID=E

 

There is clearly still a long way to go to overthrow this odious regime but exposing its ongoing cruelty in such detail is a big step forward. Let's hope that international pressure will bring an end to the torment of the long suffering people of North Korea.

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I dont find the photos particularly shocking, its what life is like in much of Asia.

 

It is what life is like in much of Britain too, and th US, and many other western countries not to mention many East European, African or South American nations.

 

If there is proof of mistreatment or wrongdoing, then show us that, but facile photographs of 'possible homeless woman' or the like - go and look on the Embankment in London, or just about any other city. I'm not supporting NK particularly, but there is no way this load of dross will convince anyone with any sense of judgement.

 

It reminds me of when I was much younger and had been told what a terrible place East Germany was, hunger, state terror, lack of freedom, no food, no clothes etc etc. and crossed over what was then the Berlin Wall just before it fell, and managed to talk to a dozen random people who lived in East Germany and found they were reasonably happy with their lot.

 

Shops were full with (unfashionable) clothes, rents were fixed and so low it was unbelievable and jobs were for life. Some told me that people who had 'escaped' to West Germany were often doctors, teachers, scientists, even footballers and the like who had received all their training at no cost to them but massive cost to their state but wanted higher wages - an interesting take on the situation that was never even considered in the West.

 

We went to an East Berlin disco (admittedly it closed at midnight) and ate in a restaurant where good food was available at very cheap prices.

 

In my experience, the most horrific thing I could find was that the leaders induged in massive amounts of hunting of wild animals, and actually made some species short in numbers.

 

Generally though, people lived quite well, far better than some of the poorer black people in the worst parts of Detroit for example.

 

Propaganda comes from both sides of the divide, and provoking North Korea with films about assasination attempts (only the US could describe killing someone as a comedy - try being brave and making one that pokes fun at the prophet mohammed next time Sony) will never liberalise that regime and just get them to dig their heels in. They will continue to spend what little they have on developing more and worse evil weapons if they feel they are under permanent threat from the US.

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I'm sure there were people in East Germany who were happy with their lot but there were a considerable number of folk who literally risked their lives to escape to the West. And it was the Soviet regime who built the wall to keep their people in, not keep the West Berliners out. There are always two sides to every story though. I still won't be booking me holidays in Pyongyang.

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I still won't be booking me holidays in Pyongyang.

 

Oh, go on, they might offer to give up their nukes if you book but then promise not to go.

 

:hello:

 

(Just kidding).

 

Yes, the Germany one was more complex as most of the people who 'risked lives' and I realise a number lost their lives were trying to get to relatives in the West. with some others, it was sheer greed of massively higher wages after they had milked the state for their education and years of training.

 

The West German regime was not exactly a bunch of good-hearted liberals though (with a few notable exceptions like Willy Brandt). Bavaria especially was very right-wing and still is, and had its share of Nazis who somehow managed to cover their past up.

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