North Korea: the nightmare of living under a god

April 11, 2014

North Korea Yeonmi Park

There’s an interesting and frightening interview posted to Business Insider today with Yeonmi Park, a woman who escaped from North Korea with her family as a teenager, but needed years to get over the brainwashing she endured there. An indoctrination so intense, she believed the late Kim Jong Il could read her mind:

Yeonmi Park grew up in North Korea, under the watchful eye of then-leader Kim Jong-il.

Though she escaped with her family when she was 15, it took her years to get over the intense brainwashing she experienced. In a recent interview with Australian public broadcasting channel SBS, Park went into unbelievable detail about growing up in the totalitarian state.

Growing up in North Korea, according to Park, was like “living in hell.” She describes constant power outages, no transportation, and watching classmates and friends disappear without a trace. While that may be unsurprising, the most interesting part of Park’s experience is her admission that she believed Kim Jong-il to be “a god” who could literally read her mind.

“I had to be careful of my thoughts because I believed Kim Jong-il could read my mind. Every couple of days someone would disappear,” Park said.

Ms. Park’s story is part of a larger program on mind-control shown by SBS, the Australian public broadcaster.  The whole show is worth watching.

In an article at SBS, she tells more of her own story:

I lived in North Korea for the first 15 years of my life, believing Kim Jong-il was a God. I never doubted it because I didn’t know anything else. I could not even imagine life outside of the regime.

It was like living in hell. There were constant power outages, so everything was dark. There was no transportation – everyone had to walk everywhere. It was very dirty and no one could eat anything.

It was not the right conditions for human life, but you couldn’t think about it, let alone complain about it. Even though you were suffering, you had to worship the regime every day.

I had to be careful of my thoughts because I believed Kim Jong-il could read my mind. Every couple of days someone would disappear. A classmate’s mother was punished in a public execution that I was made to attend. I had no choice – there were spies in the neighbourhood.

George Orwell’s 1984 depicts the UK after an atomic war and a Socialist revolution. Big Brother is a de facto god to the people: his every word the undeniable truth, no matter how it contradicted what he might have said just the day before. Your innermost thoughts known to him, and he held the power to make you willing to accept your own death and the deaths of those close to you as just. His Animal Farm is a parable of a just revolution hijacked by an anti-democratic cadre, who maintain power by turning the other animals against each other and all into slaves. Both are taught as works of fiction, but Yeonmi Park’s story reminds us that they were more like docu-dramas and that the story hasn’t come to an end.

It reminds me of a saying of John Adams:

“It is weakness rather than wickedness which renders men unfit to be trusted with unlimited power”

Our second president was right, but left something out: it’s not just that Mankind is too morally weak for any one person to hold absolute power, but there is also the weakness that makes us willing to surrender our responsibilities as citizens and entrust a small group of people or a single person with unlimited power. It is dangerous because, eventually and inevitably, that power will fall into the hands of evil men.

And then what is to stop them from proclaiming themselves gods?

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


North Korea: Kim III orders execution by flamethrower

April 10, 2014
"I've got some bad news, boss..."

“Really? Let’s hold a BBQ…”

Sometimes I wonder if Kim Jong Un, a reputed heavy drinker, doesn’t sit around late at night nursing a bottle of scotch and fantasizing about the various outré ways he can whack people who have ticked him off:

A senior North Korean official has been executed with a flamethrower after Kim Jong-un branded him an ‘enemy of the state’, it has been claimed.

O Sang-hon is said to have been brutally killed for his close ties to the communist leader’s uncle Jang Song-taek, who was himself publicly tried and executed in December after being found guilty of corruption and ‘counter revolutionary’ activities.

Mr O is thought to be the latest of 11 senior Workers Party figures to have been executed this year over their links to Mr Jang, with South Korean media reporting that Kim Jong-un has plans to execute or imprison hundreds more of his supporters and extended family members.

Mr O had been Mr Jang’s deputy at North Korea’s ministry of public security, and his execution by flamethrower took place after being found guilty of helping his boss turn the state department into a personal security division and hide corruption, South Korea’s Chosun Ilbo newspaper reported.

The ministry of public security has since been closed, with all 11 of the most senior officials said to have been either executed or sent to one of Kim Jong-un’s concentration camps in a second wave of vengeance following conviction of Mr Jang.

I’m not so sure a life sentence in in the North Korean gulag is much better than death, in fact I’m certain it’s in many ways worse, but execution by flamethrower? Mind you, that’s after we’ve had reports of execution by mortar and by being thrown to the dogs.

Use of a flamethrower brings a whole new meaning to “firing squad.”

Take this news with the usual caveats about “if it’s true,” but, regardless of its verity and in spite of its egregiousness, Kim’s savage, quixotic tyranny is a “teachable moment” for advocates for advocates of limited government, because it shows quite clearly the dangers posed when government is not restrained and its powers are not carefully limited. And when the Rule of Man replaces the Rule of Law, no one’s life, rights, or property is safe.

No need for flamethrowers to prove it: just ask the Sacketts of Idaho.

PS: I fully expect Kim to up his game — the next execution just has to be by tac-nuke.

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


I’ve heard of drunk dialing, but drunk executing? Updated.

December 24, 2013
"I've got some bad news, boss..."

“I did what last night?”

North Korea’s Kim Jong Un, aka “Tiny Psycho Dictator III,” is not what one would call a happy drunk:

North Korean leader Kim Jong-un was drunk when he ordered the execution of two aides close to his uncle Jang Song-thaek, the Japanese newspaper Yomiuri Shimbun reported on Saturday.

The Yomiuri cited a source that claimed Ri Ryong-ha, the first deputy director of the administrative department of North Korea’s ruling Workers’ Party, and Jang Su-gil, a deputy director of the department, were executed because they did not immediately follow an order by Kim to hand over their control of a profitable business to the military. 

The newspaper said when Kim made the order, Ri and Jang responded that they first had to report to director Jang – the man in charge of the administrative department – which made the young leader “upset.”

When Kim ordered the execution of the two aides, he was “very drunk,” the source told the Yomiuri. 

It seems Jang may have been skimming from the money Kim gave him to buy presents bribes with which to buy the loyalty of others in the North Korean hierarchy. If he had known about that before the incident with the two aides, we can imagine why he was in a bad mood and why it was a bad time to tell him “no.”

By the way, under the “justice system” in the world’s largest prison camp masquerading as a nation, collective punishment is the order of the day: Kim also ordered a purge of the director’s aides and, according to reports, had his family and relatives arrested. No word on if they have been executed.

via Bridget Johnson

UPDATE: Thanks to reader Crosspatch in the comments, this article from The Independent seems to confirm that “administrator Jang” is the same “Uncle Jang” who was executed by his nephew. Apparently people close to the aides who were shot called friends and family overseas and forgot the lines were tapped:

The paper said that it was intelligence from the first two deaths that made the South Korean government aware Jang’s own execution was “inevitable”. “Those who were close [to the two aides] were surprised by their execution, and made phone calls to their friends living abroad, and the South Korean government [spy agency] wiretapped their phone conversations,2 the newspaper said.

In all, at least eight people from Jang’s circle were executed in the purge – alongside the director himself.

Kim had better be careful: he keeps whacking random people when drunk, some general might decide it’s safer to launch a coup, and Kim won’t wake up from his last drunken stupor. Then again, given that we’re talking about North Korea, perhaps the best thing for the world and their own people would be for this nightmare regime to turn on itself.

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


Because nothing says “reset” like a statue to a KGB chief

December 9, 2013
"Hero of the new Russia"

“Hero of the new Russia”

Boy, that Smart Power diplomacy of Obama and then-Secretary of State Clinton worked wonders, didn’t it bring light and peace to the world? So effective was it, in fact, that the Russians are about to re-erect a statue to Felix Dzerzhinsky, the murderous revolutionary who founded the Soviet secret police:

The statue of Felix Dzerzhinsky, the founder of the Bolshevik secret police, may be restored to its “rightful” place in Lubyanskaya Square in downtown Moscow, a senior Moscow lawmaker said.

The Moscow government has announced plans to restore seven famous monuments, including the statue of Dzerzhinsky, better known under his nickname as the Iron Felix. The restoration cost is estimated at over 50 million rubles (some $1.6 mln).

“I think it could be restored and returned to its place,” deputy speaker of the Moscow City Duma, Andrei Metelsky, said in an interview with the Russian News Service radio on Friday.

“If they say they are ready to allocate the money, then the process must be completed,” Metelsky said.

In 1958, a bronze statue of Dzerzhinsky by Soviet sculptor Yevgeny Vuchetich was erected in Moscow’s Lubyanskaya Square (renamed in his honor into Dzerzhinsky Square) directly in front of the KGB headquarters.

This is some of what the Wikipedia entry has to say about “Iron Felix:”

Lenin regarded Felix Dzerzhinsky as a revolutionary hero and appointed him to organize a force to combat internal threats. On 20 December 1917, the Council of People’s Commissars officially established the All-Russia Extraordinary Commission to Combat Counter-revolution and Sabotage—usually known as the Cheka (based on the Russian acronym ВЧК). Dzerzhinsky became its director. The Cheka received a large number of resources, and became known for ruthlessly pursuing any perceived counterrevolutionary elements. As the Russian Civil War expanded, Dzerzhinsky also began organizing internal security troops to enforce the Cheka’s authority.

The Cheka undertook drastic measures during the Russian Civil War. Tens of thousands of political opponents were shot without trial in the basements of prisons and in public places. Dzerzhinsky said: “We represent in ourselves organized terror—this must be said very clearly.” and “[The Red Terror involves] the terrorization, arrests and extermination of enemies of the revolution on the basis of their class affiliation or of their pre-revolutionary roles.”

“Cheka” was the original name of the organization that eventually became the KGB we all knew and loved in the Cold War. Honoring a guy with this resume ought to send a clear message to political opponents of the regime, eh? (Come on. Sure, it’s the Moscow city council, but you just know this wouldn’t happen without President Putin’s approval, himself an ex-officer of the organization Dzerzhinsky founded.)

What’s next, the re-institution of Siberian gulags and psychiatric imprisonment?

via John Schindler


North Korea: Dictator executes ex-girlfriend for doing porn, owning Bible

August 29, 2013
"I've got some bad news, boss..."

“She did what??”

I’ve figured it out: North Korea is the only nation founded on a bad acid trip:

Kim Jong-un’s ex-girlfriend was among a dozen well-known North Korean performers who were executed by firing squad on Aug. 20, reports said Wednesday.

Sources in China said singer Hyon Song-wol as well as Mun Kyong-jin, head of the Unhasu Orchestra, were arrested on Aug. 17 for violating North Korean laws against pornography and were executed in public three days later.

The victims of the atrocity were members of the Unhasu Orchestra as well as singers, musicians and dancers with the Wangjaesan Light Music Band.

They were accused of videotaping themselves having sex and selling the videos. The tapes have apparently gone on sale in China as well.

A source said some allegedly had Bibles in their possession, and all were treated as political dissidents.

According to reports (and we don’t know how reliable they are), Mun and her colleagues were mowed down by a machine-gun firing squad, which I suppose is merciful compared to dropping a mortar round on top of the condemned. And, really, who among us hasn’t at some time, however briefly, fantasized about doing the same to a pain-in-the-neck ex?

The families of the victims were all sent to North Korea’s hellish gulag, par for the course for the world’s largest prison camp masquerading as a nation.

It is good to be King psycho-dictator.

At first glance, the “porn and Bible” angle made me think this was some sort of fake, but it does make a weird sort of sense. Think about it: you live in a police state that takes most of your income and rations how much food you get. You get more than most, but you want more. Well, porn sells.

Plus, and here’s where the Bible comes in, these are acts of rebellion and defiance. Could it be that the sex-videos and Bibles were some weird equivalent to a teen “acting out” against a parent, giving them a sense, however fleeting, of a bit of freedom and individuality? We’ll never know. But, in an atheistic, puritanical, Confucianist-Stalinst state, both uncontrolled sex and religion threaten the totalitarian rule of the individual by the government — they become thought-criminals, a la 1984, and have to be destroyed.

In this case, instead of being grounded, they were shot and their families swept into non-existence.

Final thought: North Korea has to be one of the most thorough internal-surveillance states on the planet. I find it very hard to believe that no one knew this was going on and that it didn’t get back to Dear Leader III before now. As a friend asked, did Kim know, but tolerated it until the new wife found out and demanded “something be done?”

Again, we’ll never know, but anything twisted is possible in North Korea. Especially if it’s twisted.

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


Of Lenin and Muhammad, or, “Why totalitarians hate Jazz”

February 15, 2013

It turns out Robert Spencer (1), noted critic of Islam and the danger to human liberty posed by the spread of Sharia law, is also, like me, an avid jazz fan. In addition to his own blog and a column at PJ Media, he’s started a new column in PJM’s “Lifestyle” section on the intersection of jazz and Islam. His opening piece examines why totalitarians, whether atheists such as Vladimir Lenin, or religious believers, such as Muhammad, hate music, particularly that most American music, jazz.

I think he nails it in this passage:

It isn’t hard to see why the creators of martial polities and new, aggressively expansionistic political and societal systems such as Lenin and Muhammad would disdain music. For music is an expression of the human spirit – the very thing that these totalitarians were trying to master. And no music so fully expresses the anti-totalitarian impulse, and the dignity and value of every human person, than does jazz.

For jazz is not jazz if it doesn’t contain a considerable element of improvisation, and improvisation is an expression of the individual soul par excellence. A musician who is improvising has nothing to fall back on except his own inner reservoir, and that is why jazz at its best is so immediate, so personal, and so affecting. Miles Davis and John Coltrane improvising on the same piece couldn’t sound more different from one another, not just because one plays trumpet and the other tenor sax, but because they are so very different from one another as human beings, and in their improvisations, one can hear into their very hearts and souls. One may learn their solos note-for-note (as I did back in the pre-9/11 days when I played a bit of saxophone myself), but this is just a musical exercise; the music itself can be copied but never replicated, for their individual expression is inherent and essential to it.

Totalitarian collectivists hate that individual expression. They are only interested in the individual not for the expression of his own soul, but as a cog to fit into his great machine that is marching toward the worker’s paradise, or the Sharia state, or whatever the outcome of their reign of terror is called today. As such, jazz music, a unique product of the nation that has enabled a flowering of the individual spirit unparalleled in human history, is a rebuke to collectivism, and a defiant and joyful reassertion of the one thing that totalitarians fear most: the individual.

Emphases added. And it probably explains why Muhammad hated music’s literary equivalent, poetry. (2) Like jazz musicians, the best poets are individualists, and totalitarian control freaks just hate that.

I look forward to further installments.

Footnote:
(1) Robert’s a prolific author, and I highly recommend his books on Islam. I reviewed his (so far) most recent work, “Did Muhammad Exist”, a few months ago.
(2) Hated to the point that the founder of the Religion of Peace and Tolerance had several poets assassinated for daring to criticize him. If he couldn’t control them, he had to eliminate them.

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


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