Sunday, May 15, 2005

The World Fiddles While North Korea Burns

The San Diego Tribune today has a series of pieces detailing the horrifying story of North Korea's hidden gulags and the other terrifying conditions facing its people. Kim Jong-Il is starving his people and committing atrocities of a sort not seen since the worst excesses of Stalinism and the Nazi Holocaust. He rattles his nuclear saber and feeds his cult of personality while unimaginable suffering surrounds him.
Grandsons are condemned to life-long terms as slave laborers alongside their grandfathers, both equally helpless in the brutal surroundings. Prisoners are arbitrarily murdered by security guards. Women suffer from forced abortions at the hands of unlicensed doctors. Newborn babies are beaten to death. And sons and daughters are publicly executed in front of their mothers.
If Stalin and Hitler were the twin princes of evil of the 20th century, Kim Jong-Il is surely their successor. Yet relatively little is being done.

The U.N. is largely silent, more concerned with reviving the image of its hopelessly inept leader than tackling an issue this messy. China is not applying the pressure it could bring to bear; the Left is more concerned with vilifying the Bush administration, the same administration that has done more to bring hope to the Middle East than any other in our lifetime. Regardless, America's military commitments in Iraq preclude the use of force to bring about North Korean regime change, never mind those nuclear weapons Kim has.

Kim is a psychopath. He is evil, or evil has no meaning. He must be stopped. We must use all of our influence with China, whatever goodwill remains in the U.N., and more than anything, we must have more pieces like these to make sure the world is aware of how truly desperate the situation has become. I applaud the Tribune for this series. This blog has a small voice, but it's a voice that will be watching the situation and reporting on it from time to time.

Wouldn't it be nice if the Frank Riches of the world, those who have the benefit of a large platform such as the New York Times, could use that enormous influence to talk about a real issue other than their hatred of George W. Bush? Will Maureen Dowd say at the end of her years (long may they be), well, millions of North Koreans died, but I really stuck it to that Wolfowitz? The petty squabbles that surround us daily pale in significance when one considers the living nightmare that millions of North Koreans wake up to daily.

Silence is an option the world cannot afford.

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