to watch what they risked their lives to procure.
Hat tip to OneFreeKorea, the blog where I found links to this documentary.
People have been sneaking video cameras into North Korea to record what actually happens there. If caught, the camerapersons would be tried for espionage, and almost certainly either executed, or punished by being sent, along with their parents, family, and children, to a work camp/death camp.
We owe it to them to see what happens there.
Parts 1 and 5 are especially shocking.
thanks, CNN [correction: thanks, BBC].
Part 3: the sequence (near the beginning) showing about a dozen dead bodies lying out in the street is shocking and sad.
Rice sent as aid for citizens is being sold for profit, or channeled into the military.
It's becoming impossible for Kim Jong-il to keep outside information out.
The reporter hired someone to track down a person she met years before, a boy who used to sneak into China, beg, and bring the profits back to his family in North Korea. The tracker found him, and she chats briefly with him on the phone. Having that cellphone is dangerous in North Korea. At one point she asks, "Is there something you want to say to me, but are afraid to say over the phone?" "Yes."
For talking with her on the phone, he is arrested and questioned for three days.
When China finds North Korean refugees, it arrests them and sends them back to North Korea, to near certain death, or life imprisonment in a work camp, if they don't have the cash to bribe themselves out of their pickle.
This is where Canada will send its Olympic team: to a country that sends refugees back to this, and nobody says anything about it, because then China might block up the flow of cheap, outsourced merchandise into whatever country dares to defend the oppressed.
Rather than fixing the human rights situation, China has criticized news organizations for covering their repression of Tibetans in a bad light, leading the BBC to publish this, a letter that I admire, defending a free press.
I don't like this Olympics, and it's disingenuous for Hein Verbruggen and the other IOC folk to say the Olympics is a non-political event, when THEY chose this host city (after being given vague assurances from China that they'd do, y'know, something, about that human-rights-ish stuff), and when China has shown no wish to do anything of the sort, and has continued acting with impunity and without accountability. Mr. Verbruggen may even have traipsed into self-congratuation mode by saying, "Awarding the Olympic Games to China has elevated international dialogue on the situation in Tibet." (Yeah, because everybody's debating exactly how big of a hypocrite you and China's president Hu really are.)
Well, buddy, you're on the world stage now, and if you pass the buck, then who IS supposed to take a stance? Everybody's waiting for someone ELSE to say something, sort of like the awkward pause around the dinner table when somebody makes a racist joke, and I'm afraid nobody but bloggers are gonna feel any outrage about this.
Saying nothing is taken as tacit approval of things like organ harvesting on religious prisoners, that stuff about Tibet and Darfur. But keep your eye on the air quality, over in Beijing, boys! Don't want those athletes to get a scratchy throat! That would be terrible, and we'd have to reprimand Beijing. . . if we can get a hold of them while they're so busy organ-harvesting Falun Gong practitioners and coordinating "pay no attention to the man behind the curtain" tours of Tibet for foreign journalists, and deporting North Korean refugees to life in a death camp and stuff.
I guess the Olympics are about sport and not politics, sure whatever . . . but if the IOC sticks to that stance, they're basically telling me that there are no ideals other than "Higher Faster Stronger," that they don't really care if the Olympics helps make the world a better place or not -- let's just watch some people throw some stuff really far, and jump over some other things really fast. I'm afraid I'll stop caring about something that started off seeming to me like a song for world peace, and has ended up ringing out as just another race for TV advertising revenues.
[Update: this morning, the president of the IOC spoke about Tibet. Read the article yourself to decide if you think he's sincere, or using doublespeak. I could use pull-quotes and make you think what I think, but you already know where I stand, so read it for yourself.]
[Update 2: Thanks to Jawick for the link.]