Silent screams rise to the sky in a country very far away; North Korea. Except for occasional news reports appearing here and there on the internet, there isn’t much we actually know about what is going on in the country. Yet, even the tiny amount of information that somehow managed to make it to the internet gives us a hint as to what’s happening in North Korea.
The country’s current leader is Kim Jong-Un, the youngest son of former leader Kim Jong-Il, who died on December 17, 2011. In the beginning, the world seemed to be optimistic about the future, seeing that the younger Kim had studied in the West and that he was quite youthful; many thought that he would have a gentler attitude. Yet the passing of time proved them wrong and the news leaked to the press portrays an even more horrible picture, depicting a harsher regime.
Going through its third generation of the Kim family as its rulers, North Korea has been a scene of constant human rights violations for the past 60 years. The United Nations has already proven on many occasions how human rights are regularly violated. No doubt, there is also overwhelming political pressure and religious discrimination.
The country is also notorious for its lack of freedom of thought and freedom of expression. Although the constitution requires the country to have a multi-party system, in reality, there is only one party in charge, and that is the Korean Workers Party (KWP) run by the Kim family. The existence of four massive concentration camps where between 80,000 to 120,000 political prisoners are confined and the torture in those camps make it almost impossible for a free political environment to exist, much less, freely express any opinion for that matter.
The country has very limited, if any, connection to the outside world. The only motorway connection to the outside world is through the city of Dan Dong on the border of China. One can enter the country either by railway or flights from Beijing, and there is no Internet aside from that reserved for the political elite. Using mobile phones is heavily restricted, except for some government officials. Television broadcasts are only limited and there is only one TV channel; there can be virtually no live broadcasts due to censorship; the only live broadcasting ever done was during the 2010 World Football Championship. People do not even know what the world media says about them. Usually there are power cuts during the night so that the North Korean people, who have some time for themselves during the evening hours, cannot get used to the Western life style watching the bootlegged movies they got through China.
Everyone dresses similarly in North Korea. It is possible to tell if a person is a student, worker, villager or a government simply by looking at their clothes. The outfit usually consists of a Mao-type jacket and pants, with professions being color-coded, which are usually khaki, gray or dark blue. Women can never wear anything that can be considered revealing, or put on make up. In this manner, the regime is trying to ensure women-men equality by curbing the intrinsic desire in women to look good. Women who should be regarded as the ornaments of the world are made to work in heavy conditions the same as men, almost masculinized.
The uniformity in life reflects on people’s attitudes and demeanor. They usually give an air of complete indifference, almost robotic in their moves, creating an illusion of a society of automatons.
Two million people starved to death in 1993-1994, and although this disaster hasn't been repeated lately, the country still suffers from famine despite its rich minerals and arable lands. Although North and South Koreans belong to the same ethnic group, researches clearly show that malnutrition adversely affects physical development and North Koreans are 10 cm shorter than South Koreans. The country has fallen back in the field of medicine, as well. Despite the famine, starvation and poverty, North Korea is spending its money on acquiring nuclear weapons, and continuously invests in its defense industry, rather than caring for its people needs. They forget that if they continue to meet the basic needs of its people, and ignore the mass deaths in concentration camps, there will be no more people left to be defended.
All of these facts actually point to the cold, soulless and violent face of a certain ideology; communism. In many countries of the world, communist groups can be seen taking part in various rallies claiming to want more democracy and freedom; yet in truth communism never brings any of that. On the contrary, it takes away peoples rights, and wipes out democratic systems. If a person says: ‘I am a communist, but I stand for democratic rights and I am against the inhumane practices in North Korea’, then he is not talking about communism. This is because the founders of communism, Marx and Engels, and later, Lenin and Stalin, who put it into practice, advocated the complete opposite. For example in North Korea, it is clear that people are endlessly tormented with various excuses. People are forced to live a single-type lifestyle, in shack- like homes, wearing soulless clothes, while they are told that they are given ‘a shelter’, or ‘tools to protect their bodies from external effects’. The masses are ironically ‘equal’ in the way they are subjected to poverty, torture, and violence and they are ruled with a herd mentality.
It is in human nature to have a tendency towards beauty, art, sophistication, modernism and diversity. Yet such a thing is considered a major crime and banned. Millions are deprived of their rights to learn about the rest of the world, their rights to express their opinions and forced to live their lives in what can only be described an empire of fear.
All this makes it clear that this atrocity has to stop. This ‘isolated life’ that has been going on for decades in North Korea has to end now. It is now high time for North Korea to become a free, modern, democratic country that respects human rights, and protects and loves its citizens by providing them a safe and pleasant, prosperous life. North Korea should shed its Cold War-era fears and stop seeing the world as a threat, and utilize the great gifts of its people, who are very hardworking and skilled in their use of high technology. Any friendly and amiable step by the North Korean administration will no doubt be responded to with a friendlier approach by the rest of the world. Furthermore, interacting with the world will help North Korea’s economy immensely.
It should be remembered that it is sufficient to spread a loving, brotherly, friendly and peaceful approach to ensure comfort, peace, equality and happiness, which are the innate desires in human nature. The biggest problem in the world today is lack of love, so the first step should be building policies based on love. Don't forget; love always and invariably wins.
Adnan Oktar's piece on Harakah Daily: