Monday, April 09, 2012

read this. now tell me how we're all supposed to just be ok with this.

hello. hello, are you hearing the sound of my voice? please - read these next few paragraphs. the world will wait:

Escape from Camp 14: One Man’s Remarkable Odyssey from North Korea to Freedom in the West (Viking, April 2) is one such story. Despite its vivid details, thriller-novel pacing, and foundation in personal memoir, the book, a product of several interviews between Washington Post writer Blaine Harden and North Korean refugee Shin Dong-hyuk, will likely fall beneath the radar of American audiences; regrettably, with greater ease than Shin struggled through a small opening in an high-voltage fence in 2005.

Born into one of North Korea’s six “complete control districts” (i.e. labor camps), which have remained virtually unnoticed by the global community in spite of their visibility on Google Earth, Shin was stripped of his humanity from the start. Classified as “irredeemable” because of an uncle’s crime against the state (fleeing the country after the Korean War), Shin was regularly overworked, abused, and starved. In Camp 14, an isolated compound about 30 miles long and 15 miles wide, Shin was taught to believe that violence was normal and snitching a duty.

When Shin, at the age of 13, discovered that his mother and older brother were planning an escape attempt, he promptly told a prison guard. Within weeks, Shin’s mother and brother were brought in front of the crowded camp and shot. Though Shin sees this betrayal as the most trying burden his life, at the moment of execution Shin was angry. “He hated his mother and brother with the savage clarity of a wronged and wounded adolescent,” wrote Harden.

What sets Escape From Camp 14 apart is that the preconditions for Shin’s imprisonment remain intact. As Harden points out in the book’s introduction, North Korean labor camps—home to 150,000 to 200,000 prisoners according to the U.S. State Department—have lasted twice as long as the Soviet gulag and nearly twelve times longer than Nazi concentration camps. The longevity of the camps, however, provides little excuse for their existence.

ok. so here we are, on the other side of this information. can you please explain to me how we all as moral human beings are supposed to be ok with this happening now, today, in the world we all live in. why isn't anyone doing anything? we're completely screwed as a species if our priorities have gotten so distorted and grotesque that we either ignore or cannot afford to address the fact that there are prison camps holding children from birth and who work and control them and warp them so badly that they don't even have compassion for their own mother's death. that happened.

this is real life. not an orwell novel. i don't understand why no one does anything about it. right now, i don't have an answer except to tell people about it. thanks for reading.

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