Sunday, 6 April 2008

We owe it to them. (yeah, i've been ranting a lot)

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 1

Part 2

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.

Part 4
It's becoming impossible for Kim Jong-il to keep outside information out.

Part 5
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.]


melissa said...

Neither are the olympics about sport...they are about pharmacology. I've no longer any faith in the olympics as anything beyond a huge scam that attracts a shitload of cash!

Anonymous said...

Thanks for putting this out there. Too bad this doesn't play out on the major networks for more to see and question. I for one won't be watching these games.

tamie said...

I'm proud of you for speaking out. The thing is: how do we get it into the places where people are listening? But--if BBC and CNN are covering it, then there ARE people thinking and listening. Still, the feelings of powerlessness are tough. But we have to keep trusting that if we speak out, somewhere along the way maybe someone who can do something will listen and, well, do something.

Cindy said...

I'm glad you posted this. Why isn't it on every news media in this country? This goes beyond the Olympics to the heart of our government and big business. I also see this as the down side of closing our borders to all seeking political asylum. Let's stop shipping jobs to China and start keep them in this country... especially until these human rights atrocities stop.

Anonymous said...

I'd like to apologize for not asking to link to your blog on the Olympics first, but it inspired me to post this on mine.

Anonymous said...

Here's the link with all the comments.

It was chosen as TVGuide's feature posting of the day. Thanks again.

Anonymous said...

This is a truly great piece on North Korea from and can be found here:

The last twenty minutes are the most powerful and moving.

melissa said...

missing you.

Roboseyo said...

jawick: I saw that one (even posted it on my blog) a while ago. . . the best site I know for looking at North Korea related topics is -- it's from either a current or Ex American GI who served in Korea, and posts a lot of information and sound logic about the situation.

According to them, things are looking pretty dire indeed, and I recommend you take a look.

Also: do a search for "Vice Guide to North Korea" on Youtube -- it's a 14 part series where these guys go on a state-organized "tour" of North Korea, and by the end, they're just overwhelmed by a culture that comes across almost as a totally different planet.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the info. I will check them out.

In teaching youngsters here, it boggles my mind that they have no clue as to what is really happening (and has happened) in the other Korea. And the fact that both China and South Korea want it to remain status quo in the North is just plain sinful because it would play havoc with both of their economies. Seems Korean blood isn't as thick as some would like us to believe.