Jewish Journal Exposé on North Korean Prison Camps

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So I was planning on making my next post about Shabbat, but then something happened. Following last Friday Night’s Shabbat dinner, I picked up the Jewish Journal and read an article that was much more pressing than my overview of Shabbat practices. The Jewish Journal printed an exposé on the North Korean Prison Camps comparing them to the Holocaust. What? You mean people are being tortured and no one gives a flying f#%K. 

The article centers around the story of Shin Dong-hyuk, who was born into a North Korean Prison Camp, but managed to escape at the age of 23. He is now in his early 30s and has been trying to raise awareness ever since his escape.

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Humanitarian issues often get swept under the rug, particularly when there is no economic gain. Why stir sh*t up? But this isn’t a story of poverty or hunger, it’s a story of human torture. Approx 80,000 to 120,000 North Korean political prisoners are detained in one of four camps. By political, people who at one time may have tried to leave North Korea. It’s like if I decided to go move to Canada and that act became labeled as an act of treason. Geez, I’m sorry. They have free health care there. Help! 

So in these camps, rape is standard, torture sometimes leads to death and a lot of what’s going on is reminiscent of the  Nazi and Soviet slave camps. I’m not going to go on and on because I didn’t write the article, but it’s definitely worth finding and reading (Holocaust in the Hermit Kingdom by Jared Sichel), but I’ll exit on this one extraction from the piece:

“Shin said he knows of no silver bullet for the North Korean crisis, but what he does know, and what disappoints him, is the world’s ignorance of and seeming indifference to the 21st century’s gulag – the same kind of indifference that allowed Hitler, Stalin, Mao and Pol Pot to carry out similar political persecutions and mass imprisonments.”

Way to Go Jewish Journal for covering such a serried and highly relevant topic!



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