Sunday, 23 March 2008

Happy Easter! here's someone to pray for.

No soundtrack. This is sad stuff.

the North Korean Arirang Games: a propaganda gala that might just be the biggest spectacle on earth, performed yearly.

The Ryugyong Hotel, maybe the ugliest building in the world, and certainly a contender, was never completed. It would be one of the world's tallest, and during one year of the 1990s, North Korea put a full 2% of its entire GNP into its building, but bad engineering, no money, and low-quality concrete doomed it to never being completed.

Things are getting worse in North Korea. The food shortage has reached the capital, and Kim Jong-il's reign might be entering its death throes. That throws a wildest of wildcards into East Asian geopolitics, and meanwhile, people in NK are starving.

I went there once. . . you can read about it if you like.

These kids were chosen for the propaganda video, and probably trained brutally, because they looked healthier than the other kids in Korea. This article might make you cry: the reporter describes a hospital in NK, and the health care adults and children receive.

Follow these links. Read them. Let them break your heart, and then go call your local government representative, write letters, and ask them what they're going, and what your government can do, to help these people.

This is a series called "The Vice Guide to North Korea" -- an utterly fascinating account of a TV crew that entered North Korea as tourists, and poked around, surreptitiously recording things on camera (despite the risk of being arrested and detained for doing so). Their take on North Korea is really eye-opening, and sad as hell.

also, while you're writing letters:

Get mad, real mad, about the way China has stifled criticism about Darfur, Tibet, North Korean refugees, religious prisoners, rampant deforestation and pollution, and every other topic, in the lead up to these Olympics. It's EMBARRASSING that the Olympics are going to Beijing, given China's human rights record, and it's pathetic that no country is willing to step up, say "We're willing to pay more for cheap plastic toys, because China's behaviour is not fitting for a developed nation, and we will not send our athletes to such a violent, repressive, country, where groups and entire countries and cultures are dehumanized and repressed without accountability.

Every time China has been criticized, they're responded NOT by changing policies or improving the situation, but by counterattacking, smearing the critics, and increasing export tariffs to those countries, using its economic clout to stifle criticism.

Instead of discourse and reform, we get bullying and intimidation, and bullcrap like this.

The more I think about it, the more upset I get.

Ya gotta respect China for what they're doing (unheard of growth), but the way they're doing it just cooks my grill. And blaming the Dalai Lama for the violence in Tibet is the biggest load of bullshit I've ever heard. . . this is a world leader, IOC? Seriously? (yep, that's right. I'm putting the SH-poop-word on here. I'm that fucking mad.)

This is an award-winning documentary about North Korea.

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